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Chicago Magazine July Cover

20 Jun

The Trump Tower Terrace never looked so good thanks to the invite by Chicago Magazine to shoot their July cover.  That night I had one of those deep, overwhelming love patters for the city of Chicago.  It’s a really beautiful place when you’re not chattering your teeth to get out of the cold.  On top of that, apparently there’s more than 165 things to do?!!

Photographer: Jeff Sciortino

Hair and Make Up: Cindy Shute

Wardrobe: Me, Courtney Rust

Digital Tech: Nathaniel Smith

Assistants: Grant Hogdeon

Producer: Amanda Gray

A HUGE thank you to Bloomingdales for graciously allowing me to borrow wardrobe for our hero models (group around main table)!  Jewelry was provided by T0pshop.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Advertisement with Con Poulos

18 Jun

This simple advertisement is a good example of how much work goes into each and every image.  Most people would look at this and think that there were maybe 4 people in the room: the photographer, assistant, boy and dad.  In short, it took an army: 2 food stylists, prop stylist and prop stylist assistant, wardrobe stylist (yours truly), a whole bunch of photo assistants, and of course, New York based photographer Con Poulos.  There were also three little boys on deck in case one of them had a melt down, and sure enough, the #1 choice for the little boy did.  The lesson to be learned is that it often takes a small army to get it right the first time around.

Advil Campaign with Martin Schoeller

6 Jun

It’s not everyday you get the opportunity to work with a photographer as admired as Martin Schoeller.  When I got the initial phone call saying I was being considered to work with him, I jumped up and down.  Then, when I got the phone call saying that he wanted to work with me, I did a celebratory sprint in my apartment, which was more like a shuttle run do to its tiny size.  Martin Schoeller?!  Martin Schoeller!!! If you’re not familiar with his work, here’s a little sampling.

And the controversial Time cover:

Here’s the Advil advertisement I did the wardrobe styling on.  I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “But there’s no wardrobe?”  Not true my friends.  Behind that hint of a cardigan, blur of a necklace and hip mom glasses, there was a full rack of different tops for the mom, AND the kid’s hands, as well as a table of glasses and accessories. Here’s the thing, you never know where the crop is going to be and how much you will see, and I rather die than let Mr. Schoeller down.  It doesn’t look like much, but that doesn’t bring down my excitement.  A big THANK YOU to everyone who let me be in the same room as him.

Luol Deng – Nike, “How will you make it count?”

11 May

I realize my timing of this post may not be the best.  Therefore, I would like to start by saying that I wish the tables had turned in a more favorable direction for the Bulls in this post season, and I’m sorry for their loss due to the team’s injuries.  After turning off the game, it inspired me to find the Nike commercial I wardrobe styled of Luol Deng last December because I hadn’t seen it yet.  Um, yeah… it’s amazing.  I’m so excited to have been part of the massive crew that made this happen.

If my mom told me driving home from my fourth session of basketball camp in the summer of 1993 that I would someday dress a Bulls player for a Nike commercial, I would have never taken down my Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen posters I got from the book fair.  At the time, I was pretty sure that I would someday be surrounded by fellow players that could dunk, but it would be from my basketball merits, not from my ability to source an ungodly amount of Nike merchandise in less than 24 hours.  Either way, this commercial makes me smile ear to ear.  It fulfills a dream.  It’s a different dream that includes a lint roller, but still… I’m honored to be able to stand next to such an amazing athlete under any circumstance.  Go. Team. Wardrobe.

Wardrobe Stylist – Courtney Rust

Haggar Style Guide

17 Apr

This was without a doubt, one of my favorite projects I’ve ever done.  I knew it was going to be good when the producer told me the agency requested me because of my, “Quirky Wes Anderson style.”  Pinch me.  So off I went to Philadelphia Pennsylvania to create a 10 look style guide for Haggar’s new Life Khaki clothing line.

Being in a new city with only 2 days to pull for 10 looks and props without an assistant was a little bit daunting, but the job ended up being one of those wonders where it was 100% hiccup free.  I also had one of the best creative teams from the ad agency by my side to create the cardboard cutouts you see in each shot.  There was a lot of blood and sweat, but tears were replaced with cheese steak whiz, and we all ended up with something we could be proud of.

You can see more Like Khaki looks, HERE.

Haggar Life Khaki Style Guide: Styled by Courtney Rust.

Phot0grapher: John Romeo

The Returnist doesn’t return everything.

29 Mar

For those who are scratching your heads at where I came up with the name, The Returnist, it is a hybrid from the famous fashion blog, The Sartorialist, and the famous back end of all styling assignments, having to do an insane amount of returns.  For those who don’t work in the industry find it really shocking that we return everything that we don’t use.  Here’s where the name, The Returnist is getting me in trouble, and getting all stylists in trouble; now with scrunched down budgets, everyone thinks that since we have tag guns we can return EVERYTHING.  Sure, we can.  You can also steal jewelry easily from Macy’s too if you wanted to, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.  Wardrobe budgets are getting silly small, UNREALISTICALLY small for the needs of the project.  If we kept everything that touched skin, meaning smelly crotches (pants) and boderific odor smelling shirts, we’d be limited to shopping at discount stores like KMart and Target.    The thing is, we all know that you can’t show up with only options from these stores when presenting to the client.  Of course, it all depends on what you’re doing, but with things like business attire, you can’t cheat a good looking suit or ladies button down shirt.  It’s true that things are probably OK if the model only wore it for a couple of minutes, but not all pores are the same when nervous and in front of the camera.

I’m writing this post to bring some awareness to the fact that putting stylist in a position to have to return soiled garments (ew), puts us in jeopardy of having bad relationships with the stores we rely on, or for having bad karma for the rest of our lives to ensure that we’ll catch bed bugs when we least expect it at Neiman Marcus.   My suggestion is that if you’re unsure what wardrobe and props will cost for a job, you should contact the stylist you’re thinking about using to give you an estimate.  Remember, if you can’t afford solid gold, you can’t wipe your armpits on solid gold.

Gold Motel – Chicago Magazine

22 Feb

Here’s a recent portrait I styled with photographer, Brian Kuhlmann of Chicago’s own Gold Motel.  I’m usually not a big fan of using black because it creates a hole in the frame, but when you’re working in an old bank vault with walls of gold safety boxes, black is your friend, especially some good ol’ black leather (singer’s dress, although you can’t really tell.  It looked AMAZING on her!  Dress is by Elizabeth and James.)

Hair and make up done by the great Carley Martin.

Check out Gold Motel’s summer time jams, HERE.

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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Caroline Mode’s Stockholm Street Fashion

9 Jan

Caroline Mode’s Stockholm Street Fashion is new addition to my daily blog hit list.  It’s updated multiple times a day and you’ll rarely see anything that’s lackluster.  I can’t say I’m surprised since the Swedes crank out some of the best music.  It’s also good for finding names for your newborns and/or dog…  “Come here Zuzanna, ZUuuuZannnnnAAA.”  Bookmark, done.

Click on this link to jump on it or click on the sampling of fine looks below to bring you to the site.

Dressing for a Party

5 Jan

I know I’m a little late on this one because many of you put away your sparkles until next NYE, but this is a funny read regardless, and brings up a lot of hilarious points.  It’s written by a teen for the online magazine, Rookie.  It’s funny that I relate to a teenager’s point of view more than the lady on your daily morning TV show who’s face could break at any given moment who’s closer to my age.  This young lad gets it.  Dress with a plan, man.

Every article about dressing for a party focuses on things that I don’t care about. I mean, thanks, lady/teen magazine, it’s really nice that you took the time to liken my body shape to a piece of fruit and then pick out some items that are flirty or edgy, but what I choose to wear to a party usually has nothing to do with how I am shaped or what my “style personality” is, and more to do with how I want the night to proceed. Parties are condensed pockets of potential where anything can happen if only I go into the evening with the proper outlook. Getting dressed is just one way to set the tone.

Thus, instead of an article about outfits, this is an article about strategy. I talked to a bunch of my friends about how they decide what to wear for a night out, and distilled their answers into a few tactical plans. All of these are viable party-outfit strategies, because you are a real human with a diverse range of moods, and not a pear-shaped hanger for statement necklaces under $25 that will catch your crush’s eye from across the room.

“I came to dance.”

This is probably the most honorable party-dressing motive. You aren’t at the party to network or hook up or cry in the corner—you’re just there to have a good time. Wear flat, closed-toe shoes and clothes that won’t make you overheat. Jeans are good for maximum coverage if you plan on dipping it extra low, but outside of that they don’t do too much to actually enhance your moves. I like combining leggings with a fringy or twirly dress that moves when you move (just like that). A dress with pockets is doubly convenient, because it lets you leave your purse at home. If you want to wear makeup, go with bright lipstick instead of heavy eye makeup, which will run when you sweat. Ignore that advice if you are going for a “Thriller” type of thing.

Spontaneous unplanned costume party.

Read more….