Q&A with Jess
Our Stylist Jess has been part of the team for a little while now so we decided to put her under the microscope; see what makes her tick creatively and get to know the woman behind the mystique.
Can you tell us how you came to be a stylist?
Many moons ago, I was fresh from my Art Foundation course and waiting to go to University to study History of Art and needed a job for 9 months. My uncle (who was an art director) took me to see what went on at a photographer Julian Bajzert’s studio . I was very lucky that I got on really well with him and his lovely PA / Stylist Baz was going to Australia for a year – so he asked me if I wanted to cover for her. I leapt at the chance….and never looked back really. I was very fortunate when Baz returned, I continued as her assistant..it was a real case of right place, right time.
For those who aren’t familiar what does a stylist do? Can you tell us about a normal work day for you?
Depending on the job in hand, usually I would be either styling or propping or writing. So, for example, next week we are shooting images of our fabulous new range of occasional chairs. So, last Friday I went to do recce’s of potential locations, but we’ve decided to shoot them in the Danetti studio so this week we are designing the ‘set’ and calling in wallpaper from the fabulous Mineheart and then I will be choosing props to go with each set. So, tomorrow I will probably go and buy the props (this is called propping) and then on Friday I will be making sure the set is all ready to go for Monday morning. On Monday morning we will start shooting the chairs with our photographer Ashleigh. This involves us finding a pleasing angle, Ashleigh will set up her camera and lights and and then I will ‘dress’ the set accordingly..we will spend the day creating gorgeous images of our fabulous new products!
What is the difference between an interior designer and a stylist?
An interior designer is usually employed to design a residential or commercial property and can be involved almost from the blueprint stage. An interior stylist designs and styles an interior set for photography, film or perhaps an exhibition or show…it’s not usually a permanent fixture.
What formal training do you have or if self taught, how did you learn?
I didn’t have any formal training at all – I started off ‘styling’ Julian Bajzert’s lunches and hampers to Lords cricket(!), sweeping the floor and making clients coffee (wine after 12pm?!…it WAS the late 80’s!). When he became a bit more confident about my ability, I started doing small jobs and then it kind of snowballed – I was basically thrown in at the deep end and learnt on the job. However, I have heard that now you can do Interior Stylist courses!
Where do you find your inspiration for design?
Well like most people I love browsing through magazines, I love to look through Elle Deco and Living Etc magazine and interior design books, and wait with baited breath for all the press Look Books to come out! But I also love going online and looking at sites like Houzz and Apartment Therapy , blogs like Kate’s Creative Space (which I love) and Decor8….and I am still a fan of Martha Stewart (sorry!)…
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
There are two things that I always bear in mind…one is something my Dad said to me once..he heard it and held on to it and passed it on to me..‘the person who does what they love, never does a day’s work in their lives’ ….and the other phrase that I always repeat in my mind was my best friend at school who was an eternal perfectionist and she said ‘Always remember, OK…is NEVER good enough’.
What is your favourite style?
This may be a bit disappointing but I like lots of different styles, I love vintage retro, I am a big fan of mid century design – I am not averse to a bit of shabby chic and I find minimalism pretty stunning in the right space…and I love modern contemporary too (which is hard as I work for Danetti and end up wanting to take so much of it home!). So to be fair I sort of mix all that up and use elements of each…which may not be very consistent but the results are often pleasing and certainly quite unique…I hate the word but I suppose ‘eclectic’ best describes it!
How would you describe your home?
Eek! Eclectic (messy), cosy (cramped) lived in (worn out) vintage (crumbling!)….I love my home but it’s quite a busy place and there are lots of us in there – mostly boys (grrr!)…but it’s a real family home and I have been very happy there…(and I do get my say mostly with the interior styling….although sometimes its hard to see all my hard work through the piles of trainers, footie boots, school bags etc that seem to litter the house)…the keyword is Home and I think you can make that wherever you live, with the right mix..
If money was no object where would you live and how would you decorate it?
I would live in a rambling Arts & Crafts house in Cornwall and I would want it look almost untouched as though time had stood still with all the original period features and perhaps some 1930/40’s smoky pastel colour schemes (I would break this rule and have some mod cons in essential rooms like the kitchen and bathrooms). I am a sucker for period detail and history so I would want it to look authentic. Failing that, I would want a state of the art contemporary house in the hills of Cape Town decorated in Danish mid century style with a swimming pool and a huge sun deck!
I know that everyone I work with will think this is utterly predictable but I am a great lover of mid century retro and I do absolutely love our Eames style chairs! But…if I am not allowed to say that! I think I would say the Fern Grey Gloss Table OR the Curva chairs…I love the grey gloss table – its a gorgeous colour and very tactile…..the Curva chairs are very feminine, all curvy with long legs like steel stilettos – gorgeous design with a touch of Art Deco about them.
What is your favourite shop?
I think it would have to be Rockett St George …..I have a longstanding passion for everything they do and sell – I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything on their site that I haven’t coveted….right behind them are Graham & Green, Oliver Bonas and Mineheart.
Who is your favourite designer – dead or alive..
I am a big fan of Le Corbusier and I have always loved Ray & Charles Eames, but if I was to pick someone who I thought had contributed outstandingly to design in my own lifetime – it would probably be Sir Terence Conran….( I would also do a quick hats off to the original English Eccentric, Nicky Haslam…I love his opulence – he is the ultimate Renaissance man!)
The Quick Fire Round:
What is your favourite colour? Pink
What is your favourite book – Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Where is your favourite holiday spot – My parents place in Ibiza or Agni Bay in Corfu.
What’s in your bag? – 3D glasses from the cinema, a Lego man, a pair of sunglasses, a notebook, old keys to our front door, make up bag, purse, a mini speaker, my phone and charger, Antonis’ (my 8 year old) socks(why?), my eldest son’s Santander card (not mine….oops..wasn’t wearing glasses this morning..this could be interesting)….
Favourite paint colour? Top Hat from Fired Earth is a favourite closely followed by Mrs Booth!
Favourite film? Wuthering Heights (the old one with Lawerence Olivier and Merle Oberon)
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