XXIII. BENJAMIN BROUILLET
Stylist ___ Essential Homme. CLIENT. IDOL
Editor/Fashion Editor ___ F/Homme Magazine
“ My work is an amalgamation of a dark approach to fashion with an urban edge. ”
IN HIS WORDS:
'It all started back in 2008, I was in New York City interning in Public Relations at Yeohlee when I discovered styling. I have always loved fashion but I was never sure what route I wanted to follow. I tested my styling skills by working as a visual merchandiser and from that I decided to go further. I began doing test shoots, styling music videos, dancers, presentations and lookbooks. Jump forward a few years and here I am now, freelancing in Paris and working as Editor/Fashion Editor for F/Homme magazine.'
ElysiumEditorial: So the basics, to the uneducated amongst us, how would you dissect your role as a stylist, in relation to what you contribute to a shoot?
BenjaminBrouillet: My role during a shoot is to make the clothes look beautiful and create a perfect harmony between the model and the garments. Adjusting things when they are too big or too small, transforming a shirt into a skirt or creating a turban from a pair of shorts. The creative in terms of fashion is in my hands entirely, then the photographer also plays a very important role in terms of the overall story, and the outcome of it. I want people who see my work and be impressed by it and ultimately become curious enough to want to know who designed the clothes and accessories featured in a story
EE: A sterling sense of personal style is typically an innate quality, is styling a trade only viable to this naturally fashionable crowd?
BB: I suppose, styling certainly differs from design, where you need to study to understand the basics of construction. With styling there are so many different ways to achieve a vision, I never want to stick to one approach. Speaking of, I do have plans on creating my own brand, doing consulting and more... details will follow closer to the time
EE: Speaking of your personal style, what do you find yourself wearing on a daily basis and on reflection do you feel your own appearance consciously or subconsciously affects the aesthetic you create?
BB: My personal style is pretty basic and minimal. I am often wearing black jeans, with a black or white tee, blazer or sweater, comfortable sneakers or boots. I enjoy mixing the minimalism with a bit of edgy street-wear. I like wearing my black fitted hat, with an entire black ensemble and a nice pair of Raf Simons or Givenchy sneakers. I do feel that my own appearance sometimes influences the aesthetic of what I create but not always. I have pulled clothes in the past that I would never wear, but most of the time I select things I can see myself wearing. How I style on a shoot can be pushed to an extreme, especially in terms of accessories, I like one big accent jewel that stands out. Its always so simple and clean, just enough to catch the eye
EE: Paris is currently the city in which you reside, on an artistic level do you feel this is the best place for you to be?
BB: For now it is yes, but I am the kind of person who cannot stay steal, so I might consider a move soon. On an artistic level, Paris is a great city to be working in the fashion indusrty, lots of fashion & art exhibitions, pop up shops, new openings, shows, but I couldn't say it is the best as I only have NYC to compare it too. Right now, the Hussein Chalayan exhibition at Musee des Arts Decoratifs: MUST SEE
EE: Where would an editorial concept typically germinate – would it perhaps be a piece of clothing, a model or a location?
BB: The concept of an editorial can start off with a model, a location, a specific collection, a designer, a style of photography. Having a great location to start with is a good beginning to get the creative ideas flowing. Depending on where you are planning to shoot, you can already imagine which kind of models you want, in what type of clothes. If the shoot is based in a studio, then the styling is #1 and the concept is the clothing alone. If I have a specific model in mind whom I'm desperate to shoot, they HAVE to be the main focus. In these cases the beauty of the model comes first and the styling is merely 'decor' and not the first priority
EE: We see your work as a slightly dark, minimalist approach to drama. It seems you have a trained eye at merging familiar garments with almost otherworldly fashion accents, thus allowing the more avant garde pieces to become virtually wearable. Do you feel you have a signature style that seems to underpin all your work to date?
BB: My work is an amalgamation of a dark approach to fashion with an urban edge. I like dark clothes but I also occasionally like colourful garments. My signature style so far is minimal and clean. The less the better. I am a huge perfectionist. Although I am weary of being classified in any particular category, I try to avoid such things
EE: How would a stylist maintain said signature style when the industries seasonal trends alter so often?
BB: Fashion never really changes. When you look back at say the 50ies or 60ies, every modern idea comes from the past. Fashion is something that is renewable season after season, year after year. Of course, you discover new trends here and there, but I think if you have a personal style, you will always find it and maybe grow with it
EE: Out of interest, are you ever involved in the construction of the slightly zany accessories found within the photographs? If not, would you be so kind as to name a few of the creative’s behind the pieces?
BB: Not yet but I am planning on it. I like to use pieces from Christophe Coppens, Mouton Collet, Erik Halley, Kokon To Zai & Phylea
EE: Your menswear imagery certainly pushes the playful boundary, with the editorials becoming equally as fashion forward as the female photographs we are accustomed too. Do you see this gap closing further in the future?
BB: Definately, my aim is to push the boundaries. I've been focusing on menswear because I feel that it is expanding a lot and I find it more interesting than womenswear. Although at the minute I am working on expanding my womenswear portfolio, I have lots of stories planned for several fashion magazines
EE: Which shoot from your portfolio, do you feel best represents your styling aesthetic? Where did the concept for the shoot germinate and how did it progress to the visuals?
BB: To name one in particular I would say the Sportif story shot by Anthony Meyer for Client magazine, we were completely on the same page
EE: You currently hold a position as Fashion Editor/Editor at F/HOMME, what do you hope to achieve with this fledgling publication?
BB: Since the magazines launch in May 2011 I've been pushing to achieve a lot with this publication. I want to make it bigger and bigger, gaining more and more readers and ultimately achieving a big repuation as a Menswear Fashion magazine. The issue #2 will be released this weekend, featuring Fall/Winter 2011, introducing amazing menswear upcoming fashion designers, and great fashion editorials from photographers all over the world. You need to check it out!
EE: Personal Picks: Fashion Designer (specifically when it comes to incorporating their garments into your work) / Photographer?
BB: Fashion Designers - Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, Raf Simons, Riccardo Tisci. Photographers - Steven Meisel, Nick Knight, Steven Klein
EE: Do you have a fashion faux pas you wish to purge?
BB: Stop wearing too much black
EE: Best advice you have ever been given?
BB: To Never give up!
EE: After your work, what is your best talent?
BB: Maybe cook, mmmmm maybe not
EE: If someone wrote your biography, what would you think the title should be?
BB: 'Unpredictable Lifetime'
EE: Elysium (E): A place or state of perfect happiness – When are you at your happiest?
BB: When I achieve my goals. When I make people I love happy