I wonder if such an important topic is included in the various and numerous styling courses that exist today? If you read my blog regularly, you will see that I have often commended fashion courses, but I’ve always been quick to point out that there are some styling jobs that really can’t be taught. In my opinion, Music Styling comes very high on that list.
Like many things in life, Music Styling comes with its pleasures and it can sure bring on the pain! I have worked with some artists that have made my job beyond enjoyable, and nothing can describe the feeling of working with a musician whose music and professionalism you respect, and who has the same Styling Vision as you.
But what if the winds gustily blow the other way- what if the Editor of the magazine you work for tells you to put a band in ‘Circus-themed’ ensembles, only for the band to snap at you with these chilling words, ‘ we only wear black!!!’, what if you have your heart set on a singer wearing a dress and they adamantly refuse to even try it on, what if they are hours late, what if…
From my experience, here are my tips on how to get through it all-
1) Ensure you are on good terms with the bands’ manager– from my experience, with the band manager on your side, you can get additional support on persuading the band to see ‘your side’. For example, they can help to persuade the ‘all black’ wearing band to enter a ‘life of colour’ momentarily for publicity reasons.
2) Adopt ‘Rhino skin’ darling– From my experience, this really comes with age and after about 6 years of styling musicians, and watching some of them fade into oblivion- it has made me not take certain parts of the job personally or so seriously. For example, with the music styling jobs I have done where the musicians have made rude comments about the clothes I have picked and so on; I don’t take it personally, because I have come to the conclusion that, I can only do my best and, if that’s not good enough for this
( effing) musician, it will be for the next. And as of yet, I have not been wrong with this reasoning.
3) Be Kind– I was dealing with an incredibly ‘difficult’ musician once who wanted to wear a pair of Thigh highs, the problem was though she loved the Thigh highs, the hosiery did not return the sentiment, if you know what I mean. Situations like that are so tricky for us, stylists; you have to be very careful with your words, as it can be like treading in a land mine- one wrong step and your whole shoot can be blasted into smithereens. Luckily, with a few, carefully chosen words, I was able to steer her away from the thigh highs and into a pair of dark tights.
4) Pick your battles wisely– Sometimes when styling a musician, you really have to ‘Let Go, Let Flow’. Meaning, if you are styling a brother and sister, or a couple whose ‘beyond tight’ relationship means that after every item you put them in; they go out of their way to avoid your comments, feedback and instead prefer to discuss amongst themselves- as long as they come to a conclusion that works for your PR contacts and portfolio- let them be.
5) ‘On To The Next One’– always have that next styling job lined up. It makes the pill easier to swallow when for instance, the artist is super late after you have traipsed to Calcutta and beyond searching for ensembles to put him/her in.