Tag Archives: courtney rust stylist

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.

Am I missing something?

4 Jun

For the past year I’ve fallen into a big dark work hole and haven’t had time to think about anything except for the current project that I was working on (which has been AMAZING!).  The past week is the first time in memory were I had a big project cancel and I was able to sit down without any distractions and ask myself, “Am I missing something?”

As a freelancer, the easiest part of the job is working on projects/being on set.  You have someone telling you where to be and what you need to do.  The toughest part is figuring out how to use your spare time as effectively as possible.  It seems like how hard you work during the ladder is just as important, if not more, than the former.  The second I stop working, I feel an overwhelming pressure to figure out my next step.  That’s the killer.  It creates a lot of sleepless nights.  The internet, which was your best friend becomes your enemy because you can’t help but drive yourself insane researching what else is going on out there.  Unlike a photographer, what I can’t do is go out on my own and build my portfolio.

For wardrobe and prop stylists and HMU artists, their portfolios are comprised a little differently.  To some extent, we’re only as good as the people who hire us.  What I mean by this, is that I can dress a set that I think my mom would be proud of, but if the photographer is an average shooter, the model falls flat, the hair & makeup is terrible, then the image is useless to me.  My work is only as good as the people I’m working with.  This is why it takes a hell of a long time to build a portfolio that you’d want to write home about.  Even at that, once you have images you like, there’s the next question, “Is this how I want to present myself?”  Which is followed by, “Does my work represent what I want to be doing?”  That’s where I’m at now and that’s where it has become pretty clear to  me that I need to revamp my website and this blog.  It’s a daunting task, one that may not be completely necessary seeing how most crew members beyond the photographer don’t put a ton of effort into their web presence because 80% of our work comes from referrals, but god damn it, it may help me sleep.  I want to look pretty on the inter web because I’m damn proud of what I’ve done since I’ve started this steam roller 10 years ago.  Here I come.

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.

Video

Unilock Spot

20 Mar

Backyard grilling action?  Now here’s something I know a lot about propping.  Here’s a Unilock commercial that we filmed last October that I art directed and propped.  I was so excited to see this because I never get to see any of the ads I work on.  You’d think I’d be better at digging stuff up to present on my blog, but honestly, blogs that only show your work are really just portfolios.

Some interesting outtakes from the filming of this would be the crew rolling into this suburban house at 5 am, trying to remove a tarp from the Unilock patio that had collected a pond full of rainwater the night before, and then proceeding to dump it all over ourselves.  I worked the first hour without any shoes and wet feet.  Thanks again Melanie (super duper producer who keeps extra socks on hand) for your festive socks.  Shockingly, the mostly Canadian crew showed no empathy for cold feet.

Other fun obstacles were creating a new patio cushion color by pinning loose fabric, making a yard that looked like late fall in Chicago look like June by filling it with out of season flowers, and propping a french door to look like we were still in the house, while in fact the door was rigged outside in the middle of the patio.  Oh art department and the challenges you present.  As usual, a crazy amount of work for a quick splice of advertising, but that’s how these things roll.

My 5 Year Goal

17 Feb

I’m always amazed at what people can get away with when they’re really good at something.  For instance, I had got a reservation for my husband as a Christmas gift to go to the impossible to get into restaurant, Schwa.  The reason why it is so hard to score a reservation is not only because of chef Michael Carlson’s legacy for being a mind blowing amazing cook, but also because he’s a terrible business man.  When you call, there is about a 95% chance you’re going to get a voice mail box telling you it can no longer take messages because it is full.  If for some crazy reason you’re able to get someone on the phone and make a reservation, there is about a 95% chance they’ll cancel on you and make you reschedule.  This not only happened to me once, but TWICE!  The thing was, I wasn’t mad, because I understood it was part of the experience.  As much as his cooking, his otherwise known to be shoddy behavior, is part of his claim to fame.  Chef Carlson will only open if everything is absolutely perfect and he can present his best work to his guests.  Dang, I wish I could get away with that… I’ve worked while having food poisoning.

Next case and point, I recently got to wardrobe style for probably the most well known photographer I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with thus far.  I went to look at his website prior to the shoot, as I always do even though I’m very familiar with his work, to find that there isn’t one single image on his website, just a bunch of contact numbers to his agents.  Now that’s when you know you have made it; a photographer that doesn’t need to show any pictures.  “You know what I do,” must be a pretty comfortable place to reside.  He doesn’t need a website because you can see his work everywhere.  Awesome.

Last example and one you’re all familiar with; the artist formerly known as Prince.  Shit, screw names.  I’ll have an ugly tattoo represent me.  I don’t need to explain why this is amazing.

Now for my goal, and feel free to contact me if you’d like to collaborate on this.  I want a portfolio exclusively consisting of “real” people, butt ass naked, posing with no props, on a white sweep.  Use your imagination people.  Let my legacy as a wardrobe and prop stylist paint the picture for you.*  If you want to book me, you’ll have to get my address off of my contact page because I now only accept letters.  My 3rd grade dream can now be fulfilled of having the most pen pals.

*I feel I need a disclaimer out of fear for those who may read this that don’t already know my sarcasm.

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….”

Kids sizing tip.

20 Oct

A couple of things I’ve learned about the never-ending battle of trying to find kids clothes that actually fit them properly:  First, always talk to a parent after you receive their comp card to double-check that their sizes are up to date.  My second tip, one that took a couple of sizing blows to finally understand why their clothes were too big; parents always tend to buy clothes that are a little big for their kids with the hopes that they’ll grow into them.  If they say they’re a size 3T, buy 3T’s, but also get a whole bunch of 2T’s because that’s what is most likely going to fit them like a glove.  Also, kids sizes are the next most inconsistent thing behind women’s jeans.  If I find something I really like, I bracket the sizes, meaning I buy one size up and one size down as well.  Boring, yet useful information.  Call me the Today show.

Luxury Garage Sale

3 Oct

If you’re all fancy and love designer goods, or you love a solid victory on Ebay, you’ll be a big fan of this website.  Luxury Garage Sale curates some of the best vintage finds on Ebay in an easy to view list, to save you the time of having to rummage through all the other crap you get when you search for “Chloe brown sandals” on Ebay.  Once you select the item you think you’ve been looking for, the bidding wars begin and you’re redirected over to Ebay to place your bets.  If you have the patience and determination, you can come out with some amazing goods at a fraction of the price.    On the flip side, if you need to sell some of your treasures, they’ll come to you and post your items on Ebay and do all of the work.  You can read more about this service here.

You can start spending your money by clicking on the image below.

Pretty stuff from NYC Fashion Week.

19 Sep

NY Times Magazine fashion blog does a really great job covering  NYC Spring 2012 Fashion Week.  There are tons and tons of great posts of behind the scenes action and interviews.  Here are some of my favorite moments I found while reading through it all.

L’ Wren Scott

Anna Sui

Reed Krakoff

Theyskens’ Theory

Ohne Titel

J. Crew’s first fashion week appearance.

Marc by Marc Jacobs

Thom Browne

Preen

Pamela Love

Jason Wu

Courtney Rust Wardrobe and Prop Stylist, Chicago IL.