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Best Soft Good Styling EVER!

15 Feb

And I had no part in it, but I did style the cute girl sitting on the top of this pile of fabric goodness.

If you’re wondering who did this colossal masterpiece of squishy fabric, you’ll have to thank the prop crew for the Land of Nod Spring catalog.  The prop team consists of Dane Holweger from LA, and Chicago locals, Melissa Elias and Justin Vandenberg.  You’d be surprised how to tough it is to stack that many unmade beds and make it look that inviting.

As for the doll sitting at the top, her outfit came from a scary expensive to destroy Anthropologie nightgown, which I cut the sleeves off.  I then sliced my personal polka dot scarf that I got at Walgreens 8 years ago into strips to adorn the sleeves.

Here’s a couple of other highlights of the wardrobe I did for the Land of Nod Spring catalog.

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Propping Innuendos

17 Nov

I had a request from my friend to be more of my snarky self on my blog.  This one’s for you, Bob.

One downfall of being a wardrobe and prop stylist is that you get a lot, I mean a lot of catalogs in the mail.  The specialized catalogs out there are definitely onto me because of the random crap I frequently have to buy for jobs.  The thing is, I actually look at a majority of them, A) because it’s my job, and B) because there is a lot of hilarious stuff being sold out there portrayed in an equally hilarious manner.  Those of you who back me on Sky Mall as being the best runway entertainment, I highly recommend dumpster diving my recycling bin.  There are a pile of gems tossed out there every couple of days.

I get a lot of manly, hunting catalogs for whatever reason, but I especially liked this one and wanted to share it.  I like it’s subtle, manly innuendos of the life you could have if you started to incorporate more forest green utility shirts into your wardrobe.  I mean beer, cigars, guns, COYOTE???  If we’re going manly, then let’s show some chest hair AND nail hair.  The only thing I’m not sure about is if they hit their wives.  I can’t wait until Spring 2012.

One cigar is never enough.

You can balance wearing a less manly rugby shirt by drinking a draft beer.  I mean, look at that neck stubble.

Rest your head with some manly ease on a coyote, of course.

The forest green half zip pullover sweater gets to have much more fun.

All that work propping up my denim shirt made me want a beer.

I imagine this is how you get some genuine coyote pillows.

Here’s are some more serious prop innuendos for the ladies.  I would have loved to have been on the conference call discussing art direction on this one.  “Let’s make lingerie fun…. Blah, blah, blah….”

Horse quandary…

11 Oct

Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of horses.  They’ve always kind of freaked me out.  BUT, for whatever reason, I seem to incorporate them in every other part of my life.  This horse bust plaque came off of my kitchen wall (minus the sunglasses), I own a number of horse themed shirts, and have horses plastered all over my refrigerator.

I never claimed I was normal.

Regardless, I love this image I did with Brian Kuhlmann.  It has everything I like about styling with telling a story, having a sense of humor, and a little bit of sass-mastery.

Courtney Rust – Chicago Wardrobe and Prop Stylist

Your room, your space

15 Aug

As a kid, your room was the only space that was “yours” and you took great pride in making it your sanctuary of everything that was important to you at the time.  Your room defined you, with thumbtacks holding all that was important (magazine tears, friendship bracelets, passed letters from homeroom (that may be telling my age too much)), for everyone to see when they entered.  Then you grow up, shop the home section at Marshalls, and buy a bunch of filler, generic framed pictures of plants you never heard of.  Maybe it’s because you now own more than 4 walls, or maybe it’s just simply no longer a priority, or maybe it’s that we’ve all seen Hoarders on A&E, and fear that we’ll become obsessed and start decorating the inside walls of our stoves.   Here’s some inspiration of adults who are still big kids and choose to wear their hearts on their eggshell covered walls.  A little inspiration for your Monday afternoon.

Chloe Seveigny’s room many moons ago.

Misha Hollenbach’s home taken from The Selby.

Style Rookie, Tavi Gevinson’s wall of crowns (not an adult, but she’s awesome.)

Photos taken by Backyard Bill of Hickey Freeman’s room.

India Salvor Menuez, by Backyard Bill.

LA Designer Catherin Hammertine.

Inspiration – Small Magazine

27 Jul

In doing research for kids’ fashion for an upcoming shoot, I came across this amazing source for inspiration.  Small Magazine, is an online kids’ magazine that caters to, well, I’m not sure.  I think I’d be  more into it than a nine year old, regardless, it’s awesome.  It’s stock full of beautiful photography, clever wardrobe & prop styling, and lots of great illustration.  If you have kids, check it out.  If you don’t, and you’ve got a creative bone in you, you too should give it a long hard look.

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Catalog Living

8 Jul

I had to bring this one back in case any of you missed it the first time around.  It kills me.  Now, when I work on a catalog, I like to think of the stories this fine lady will interpret from the pictures we’re creating.  She now has a huge following and rightfully so.  The opportunities to make fun of catalog photos is endless!  Here are some of my recent favorites.  Click on the images to visit Catalog Living.


23 Jun

Call me a softee.  I got a call from the amazing photographer, Brian Kuhlmann, totally last-minute, to find props and wardrobe at 5 pm for a 11 am shoot.  Once I calmed down from excitement, I ran out and found this freaking GINORMOUS magnify glass, (I think it’s used for a hot light), and came up with this hokey idea.  The thing is, this image makes my heart pump this big without the coolest prop hovering it.  I’m kicking myself for renting the glass and not buying it.  The possibilities for fun photographs are endless!

My online shopping cart is half empty.

5 Apr

I guess this is more of a warning than anything.  As you know, I’m a big fan of online shopping, especially since a lot of companies now have free shipping.  It’s really great for ordering men’s suits, with the option of getting specific pant lengths and finding hard to find jacket sizes.  It’s also amazing for shoes, which I hate buying in stores because you’re wasting too much of a sales clerk time when they could be getting commission from someone else.  The kicker is, and where I’m starting to see the online world as a half empty cart, is when you return the items.  Many companies now have smart labels, which provide free return shipping, which also provides intense anxiety over whether or not your package will ever arrive back to the retailer.  If the package was lost in the abyss of the USPS, I would have to eat the costs, which is about the same amount of money of what I purchased my first car.  This creates a bad day and in the end, not worth the emotional torment.

I recently did a job where I had a number of boxes that I needed to return and dropped them off at the USPS office near my apartment.  I realize 3 weeks later, the returns were still not processed on my credit card.  When I looked up the tracking numbers (ALWAYS KEEP YOUR TRACKING #) I saw that the packages hadn’t moved an inch.  After total panic of thinking the items were gone, the packages were sent to the retailers 4 WEEKS LATER!  Crazy, right?  This is when being a stylist becomes tough.  You don’t ever want a job lingering on your credit cards for a month.  Nowadays everyone wants to see the same amount of products on set, but they don’t want to pay expenses up front.  You need to have a lot of money to stay afloat when things like this happen, so that you’re not giving up half of your fee to credit card interest.  Bottom line, always ALWAYS keep your tracking numbers and purchase insurance, silently hate the USPS in your sleep, and keep a hefty savings for credit crunch situations.

New Image – Vintage Catering

31 Mar

Referring back to how people are influenced by television, I can’t tell you how often I’m asked to do a Mad Men inspired shoot.  In my mind, it’s kind of like someone trying to sing Whitney Houston at a karaoke bar.  Not that I love Whitney Houston, she’s on crack, but the lady has pipes and you don’t want to even attempt to bust out a fan favorite because it’s an easy way to butcher something people already know.  The same goes for a stylist trying to do a Mad Men set.  It’s a bit scary and is why I have turned down the opportunity until now.  I jumped on this time around because I was working with a large team of people to create shots for a catering company.  Other than the regular slew of crew members needed to produce a successful shoot, we had an interior designer, specialized pin up hair stylists, florist, and a caterer.  It basically turned into a vintage showcase of the Mad Men in us all.

Wardrobe was easy to find for this due to Mad Men’s influence on retailers.  Brooks Brothers even has a Mad Men line of suits.  In the end, I think we all got images we can be proud of due to having a great leader, Chicago photographer Scott Thompson.  Here’s a couple of images.

Taking photos on set.

15 Mar

This is something that came up at a recent panel discussion at Columbia College.  Is it ok for crew members to take photos on set?  The general consensus was, don’t do it.

It’s tempting, especially if you have blog and would like to share what you’re doing, but unfortunately it is a quick way to upset the photographer and even worse, the client.  First, you’re hired to be attentive, but this doesn’t include documenting.  Secondly, there’s all sorts of untold rules about posting these things before they are published to the public.  This is why you’ll never see me post about the advertising jobs I work on.  Half of the time you sign confidentiality agreements to not share your knowledge about the new product, the other half of the time you’re too busy to be thinking about it.  It’s fine to take photos of your friends, but never, ever take photos of the set and publish them before you get the go ahead.

There are a couple of exceptions; taking behind the scenes shots of a test you’re working on or even some editorial shoots, but it’s still always good to ask.  It’s usually a tricky call to make on your own and it’s better to be safe then apologetic.

Sorry for the boring post, but it’s a gray area that isn’t addressed enough.