III. INGO NAHRWOLD
Stylist ___ Attitude Magazine. Tush Magazine. German Cosmopolitan.
Hi there Ingo, How are you?
Very good thanks
So let’s begin with the basics, how would you describe your role as a fashion stylist?
To me the role of a fashion stylist is like one of a good chef. Using the clothes to create a new look, a modern interpretation of a classic, like a chef creates new meals.
To me it’s always important to show a kind of sexiness and glamour, to make people look beautiful. Sometimes strange but always exquisite!
Of course you are gaining recognition as a stylist, but do you find you are also involved in other disciplines within the industry?
I am primarily the stylist, although I always work very closely in conjunction with the photographer the hair stylist and the makeup artists, clarifying my ideas and the story behind the concept. It’s all about the team.
Is styling a skill you have always possessed?
I always wanted to work in fashion, as a teenager I was obsessed with it.
The first time I was confronted by fashion was when I was 10 years old and I saw the Mugler designs at "Too Funky" and Madonna in the topless dress from Jean Paul Gaultier. Since then I always wanted to be part of the business.
Do you see your work as an extension of yourself, in the respect of your personal style consciously or subconsciously affecting the aesthetic you create?
Not at all, I just wear jeans, chinos, sneakers and cashmere sweaters. Quite simple, comfortable and casual I guess. I want to show my "creativity" in my work not in my clothes.
Would you say you have a signature style and if so how do you maintain this when the industry aesthetic changes so often?
I would describe my style as sexy and classic, an aesthetic that will never go out of fashion.
Can a stylist dictate the business of trends?
We can suggest things but in the end it’s the clients who dictate the trends.
You don’t seem to be afraid of colour and print. Do you feel this adds to the editorial effect of your imagery?
Well it depends, I actually have a love for black/grey/nude tones, but sometimes a picture needs more, an extra depth, it all depends which story you are doing and the concept you are working on at that time.
We spotted a theme of expressionless models in your work. Why is it when you think laughing model you instantly envision catalogue model, when and why did it become ‘vogue’ to be moody?
Laughing can be so beautiful, youthful, fun, light and humorous, laughing is so important! Although when the styling is kind of strange or very sexy it takes away the seriousness of a shoot.
Although a models stern face can be too serious at times, these days I think it’s important we have fun. Let’s face it we’re not performing brain surgery or saving the world. In a way we are entertaining people and I certainly think laughter should be a part of this!
There’s certainly no lack of nudity in your work, particularly in the bondage shoot you styled for the November issue of the German Cosmopolitan. What was the concept behind this shoot?
It was for the sex and art issue, 30 years of cosmopolitan, so naturally we thought about doing something hot and sexy. (For the record, it was only the photographs that were hot. It was freezing cold on location, we soon found out that rubber doesn't really keep you warm and neither does baby oil!) We felt that bondage summed up the marriage of art and sex perfectly.
It was amazing what Eva and Brian the models created, they really do get my deepest respect!
On the subject, will sex always sell?
Yes and people know this, illustrated by the recent eroticism of certain perfume campaigns. Even if imagery is deemed too provocative and people are complain something is too sexy their still talking about it, it will sell!
There’s almost a superhuman, highly polished, robotic quality to your work. It’s almost as if your models are the evolved state of mankind. Is this a fair comment?
Models are very important; after all I am not shooting a dress I am shooting a model in a dress. Again it always depends on the story of a shoot, if we have a grungy boy, an old lady, a teenager etc. The models have to be right for the story. I like my models to be strong, boys and girls.
To date have you had one stand out shoot that instantly springs to mind as your favourite/most successful?
The Thierry Mugler story with Iris Strubegger is still one of my favourites
Do you have a muse, fashion related or otherwise?
I’ve always loved Thierry Mugler.
Fashion wise I adore Carine Roitfeld, her personal style and her styling.
Also Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin are still my style icons and of course Catwoman, She-ra and Alexis Carrington Colby.
For anyone looking to become involved in the industry, what advice would you provide? We get the feeling in such a competitive industry it would be easy to become lost in the crowd.
ALWAYS be yourself!
If you were to trade places with one person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
I would love to be Cher in, ‘If I Could Turn Back Time.’ Being half naked on a ship with hundreds of horny sailors was always a dream of mine, not even for a week!
If we were to check your bedside table right now, what would we find?
The Bible and Tom of Finland...
What was the last book you read?
I would rather say ‘look’ at aha, The Claude Montana book.
Speaking of, if someone wrote your biography, what would you think the title should be?
The bigger the better!
Finally, what was the best thing before they invented sliced-bread?