Tag Archives: courtney rust wardrobe stylist

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

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.

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.

Personal Shopper Confusion.

6 Feb

A weird thing happened the other day; I was parked outside of Target at the beginning of a hefty return day, pulling out a couple of Ikea bags and a woman stopped me and asked, “Are you a designer?”  I did a shady, “Um, uh… no,” without making any eye contact.  I then proceeded to do my routine return and the woman followed me in while accompanying me during my awkward moment at the customer service desk and said, “Have you ever thought about personal shopping?  I’m a really busy mom who’s also a massage therapist who would love to have someone shop for me.”  To be honest, there were a number of asshole responses that ran through my head.  First, and probably the least offensive, “I’m a busy wardrobe stylist that would also love to have someone do my ‘shopping.'”

I feel like I should first preface my explanation as to how my job is different, and why I would never be a personal shopper by saying, I have absolutely nothing against being a personal shopper nor do I think I’m better than someone who is a personal shopper/closet organizer type.  It’s a great career that I’m sure is challenging, and allows you to make people feel good about themselves and their surroundings.  Here’s how my job is different and why I wouldn’t take on personal shopping/closet organizer onto my roster.  I do what I do, not because I like to shop, not because I like to see the people surrounding me in clothes that they’ve worn within the last six months from their perfectly edited and sensible closet, and not because I feel like I need to fix the sometimes sensitive to the eye outfits I see on a daily basis.  I actually enjoy a hoarder, a wrinkle, an outdated capelet from Ann Taylor, and a pair of cargo pants that with a tug of a zipper becomes a breathable pair of shorts.  It’s telling of your personality, and it tells a little story, which brings me to the reason of why I spend a crazy amount of time filling my car with things from shopping establishments… I like to tell a story.

The reason why some stylists do both on set work and personal shopping is that styling is a mix of traits that lend itself to personal shopping; knowledge of everything current in every single stores, resourcefulness, ability to listen to your client to make a strong guess as to what they might like, knowing what is in style and works for someone’s body, and working within a budget.  Why being a set and wardrobe stylist is different is that you’re one single part of big team.   You’re shopping for the agency, the client, and the photographer, as well as all the variables you might run into on set, which will likely change  your original intentions.  What works in person, or what we thought worked during the pre-production conference call may not hold true once you’re on set, which in the end is the bottom line.  It all has to make sense and tell the intended agency and client’s story.  It’s a much different mind set when shopping; one that I personally think is tough to mix with a personal shopping client, or even my own shopping list.   Therefore, please e-mail me if you want to pick up my dog’s food.

Which wardrobe/and or prop stylist should I contact to assist?

20 Jan

Some people may disagree with me on this, but I personally don’t think you should be choosey on what wardrobe and/or prop stylists you want to assist.  You can learn from everyone, even if you think someone isn’t as talented or has a different personality.  Sometimes learning what not to do is just as valuable as learning the seemingly right way to do things.  It is best to team up with as many stylists as you can in order to pick up as many different techniques as possible.  We all do it a little differently.

Black Friday

25 Nov

I’m declaring this the official, unofficial national holiday for all wardrobe and prop stylists.  None of us should be in stores for any reason, unless it’s to buy alcohol.  We need this day to blur the burn of retail America from our minds while drinking a scotch in front of an open fire.  This holiday serves us to rest up before we get pummeled by frantic holiday shoppers for the entire month of December.  As of today, I can now comfortably say, “Thank goodness it’s Black Friday.”

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….”

The Land of Nod

3 Nov

I can’t tell you how elated I am to be part of the amazing crew who creates  The Land of Nod catalog.  To add icing to the cake, the main art direction I got for the wardrobe styling was to “think outside the box.”  This was exciting to me because with kids, you can be a little more weird.  You don’t want things to look perfect, instead it needs to be imaginative.  I approached this project in creating grown up personas for each of the kids and shopped for elements that would be telling of their future personalities.  Grant it, first and foremost, this is a kids home catalog.  We’re not marketing clothes, and we don’t want them to be too over-the-top so that we lose sight of what we’re selling.  The trick is to conquer this while still having the kids look aspirational.  Since I was shopping for a holiday catalog in July, it involved a lot of thrifting, a lot of rummaging through antique stores, and a lot of vintage perusing; mixed with your basics from Target, Nordstrom, etc.  I also aged a lot of clothes to make them look less off the shelf.

Some challenges I encountered were that some kids already had strong opinions on what they would and would not wear.  “What do you mean you don’t want to wear a top hat with a pipe cleaner brim?  But you’re my mini Johnny Deep, via Benny & Joon!”  Unlike a disciplinary mom who can lay down the law and tell her child to be quiet and buck up, I had to compromise with the talent.  They’re still kids, and they’re not going to give you what you want on camera if they feel uncomfortable.  In the end, we made a deal and I’m pretty excited with the outcome.  Here’s a couple of shots I scanned from the catalog.  You can now find the holiday catalog in stores or in your mailbox.

Future PGA golfer who listens to 90’s hip hop artist, Kris Kross.

Vintage shopping graphic designer.

The 70’s inspired poet.

The musician influence by 90’s grunge.

Urban planner.

City shop owner.

Courtney Rust, wardrobe stylist, The Land of Nod.

LIFESTYLE with Jacob Hand.

30 Aug

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This was a collaboration I did with photographer Jacob Hand a couple of months ago.  Testing is always interesting because sometimes the pieces come together easy, and other times it takes a little bit of muscle.  Thanks to Kate Levinson Locations, we landed this amazing home, I mean jaw dropping amazing, in Bucktown.  Thanks to Zsofia Otvos with her hair and make up skills, we were able to do the models up right and proud, and thanks to me, I was able to blast the hopes of any color out of the wardrobe.  That was my plan, man.  This test for me, was an attempt to create more “normal” images or LIFESTYLE (all CAPS because I can only yell that word in a mocking tone.)  Since I’m a self-proclaimed color junky, I decided to challenge myself while keeping the overall aesthetic cohesive in only selecting wardrobe void of any hues.  With a couple of models not showing up or being more than an hour late, Jacob Hand, the lighting sorcerer, was able to role with the never surprising testing punches, and create some photography magic.  Lastly, a BIG thanks to Jacob for making it all happen and giving the crew something they can be proud to walk away with.