XI. ELLE PACKHAM
Stylist ___ The Ones2Watch. Chaos Magazine.
Hi Elle, How are you?
*Great, thank you
What is currently on your mind?
*A million and one things to do today
What would a standard day in your life entail, if there is such a thing as a typical day?
*Coffee, walk, shower then emails, phone calls, appointments, returns, taxis, meetings...
Where are you currently based? Do you feel this location is artistically the right place to be?
*Currently I am based in Sydney Australia. I haven’t ‘hit a wall’ artistically yet but I know that location plays a big part in my aesthetic. When I feel like I’m getting a bit rusty I’ll move to a different country. My boyfriend is from San Francisco so that will probably be the next place I live. It will be interesting to see exactly how influenced my work is by my surroundings
So let’s begin with the basics, how would you describe your role as a fashion stylist?
*The photographer and I work really closely together in terms of casting, concept, location, mood ect. I also think that a big part of being a good fashion stylist is to have a clear idea of what you want the shoot to turn out like, but also to trust the expertise of others involved. The hair stylist is an expert at hair; the makeup artist is an expert at makeup and so on, so I think a fashion stylist should also encourage everybody to have creative freedom
Put simply however, a fashion stylist role is to create a narrative with characters and a setting through the use of clothing
Was there a moment that made you decide to pursue styling as a career? When did you become aware of your styling prowess?
*I kind of fell into styling. I wanted to be an actress, then a journalist. I started interning at Russh Magazine assisting the awesome Stevie Dance while I was finishing off my journalism degree. When you have some like her mentoring you it’s hard not to be inspired and motivated
I knew I had something to offer in ‘the styling world’ when I started to look at fashion (and fashion styling) differently. Instead of seeing it as a superficial and vain career, I see it as a form of art. Each photo shoot that I do reflects from my performing arts background, I consider my role more like a costume designer
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?
*I’m probably subconsciously influenced by my personal style, but I try not to be. If I dressed the model in something that I could see myself wearing I think I’m at risk of killing the romance of the shoot- it could become too ordinary. We have so much creative freedom doing fashion editorials it would be a shame to not take full advantage of that and think outside the box. Having said that, it’s my pet hate when people ‘over-style’ and chuck on every bit of clothing and make up they can find
How do you unlock your creativity, what inspires your work?
*I’m a sucker for nostalgia. I love old films, music, movies, record covers. I also spend hour’s Google image searching style icons from the 60, 70 and 90s
Do you have a favourite designer, in relation to how often you incorporate their pieces into your work?
*I use a lot of Australian designs in my work like Saint Augustine Academy, Antoine+Stanely, Ellery, Ksubi, Ruby Smallbone, An Ode To No One. I love vintage clothing because it has so much character. I could never refuse an old, worn out pair of vintage Levi’s jeans
What do you most dislike about contemporary life?
*Everything is too easily accessible, this from the moment and the past, simplistic pleasures are being forgotten. Instead of going into a book store, pulling a book off the shelf and flicking through the pages we download it onto our I-pads. Instead of putting on a record and listening to it from start to finish, we have 10,000 downloaded songs on our computer mindlessly being ‘shuffled’ for us
What do you most enjoy about the age that we live in?
*Nothing is impossible. The only limit is your own imagination.
We adored your shoot ‘Stray Cats,’ could you explain the concept and sources from which you styled this shoot?
*I came across this awesome Stray Cats record and the album cover was so cool we had to recreate it. It had three awesome rockabilly guys leaning against old-school Cadillac’s in a mechanic shop, with greased up hair, rolled up sleeves and cigarettes hanging from their mouths. Luckily my boyfriend is a mechanic so getting the location was really easy
Your work seems to have a rebellious streak of attitude running through it. Do you feel this is a fair observation?
*For Stray Cats the photographer and I wanted the shoot to have attitude and be rebellious because it reflects the whole rockabilly attitude. However, if we had a softer concept I think we’d have toned the attitude down a little
Speaking of, would you say you have a signature style?
*I hope not, I’d like to stay as versatile as possible
Do you have any guilty Pleasures?
*Chocolate and too much TV
What is the theme tune of your life?
*Queen “Don’t Stop Me Now”
Speaking of, who’s on the top of your playlist?
*The Black Keys - 'Heavy Soul'
What is your life mantra?
*let the universe take you where it wants to
Finally, If someone was to write your biography, what would you think the title should be?
*Elle Packham: Like it’s going out of style