XXVIII. DENNIS BLYS
Stylist ___ TENDENCIAS. INDIE Magazine. TUSH.
“ I'm a Gemini, so my work is very much influenced by my own duality. ”
*Stylist _Dennis Blys_ discusses his roots in a graphic design environment, his development via an unexpected period of design assistance in Italy, to his current styling escapades that see his work featured amongst publications on an international level. We also stumble upon his future aims, plans that involve a dominant involvement of the furry four-legged variety...
ElysiumEditorial: Hey Dennis. So, Let’s begin with the basics, what were your beginnings in industry, were you always aware of your vivid creative imaginations?
DennisBlys: I remember that I was inherently very creative in my early childhood, busying myself for hours with paper and colours, painting and drawing. I guess, that was my first love. This was also the reason that I studied graphic design first
But I was always very interested in fashion. So I was very glad, when I was offered a job as a fashion design assistant in Italy. That was where everything changed for me...
EE: On the subject of vision, we believe a sterling sense of style to be a typically innate quality.
Is styling a trade only viable to these naturally fashionable beings?
DB: I am sure you could learn all the techniques of styling, but taste and vision is something else. To succeed I believe you have to possess some kind of natural inclination for style. Though I wouldn’t want to generalise this, it’s different for everyone. I can only speak for myself. I had the ideas before I got the skills
EE: How would you dissect your personal look on a daily basis & do you feel the way in which you dress yourself ever affects the aesthetic you create in an editorial?
DB: It is very funny that you should ask this question. For a long time, I had no fun dressing up my daily look. I was really unmotivated when it came to dressing myself, with my Jeans & T-shirts becoming a daily thing
A few years ago I began to enjoy fashion again in terms of dressing myself. But I must confess that I am a very unemotional dresser. I wear whatever is clean that day and it seems to work for me
*Photography: Vincenzo Laera _ Model: Dan Felton@Elite London
EE: Your work has seen occasional highlights of an overplayed sense of costume, is it important for your work to be achievable or is it occasionally important to be playful in this theatrical sense?
DB: Both! I’m a Gemini, so my work is very much influenced by my own duality
The way I work is based on two things. First I do some research, that’s always the starting point for me. This could be on a person, a character, a time or period, a style that interests or inspires me. Most of the time it comes from art, movies and the youth culture of the 50‘s, 70‘s & 90‘s
The second force I use is my spontaneous impulse at the shooting. I listen very much to my feelings and emotions. The whole energy of the day is important to me and of course the fun with the team
So my concepts are never really fully influenced by the fashion itself. I just use it more as a canvas for my own projections, to tell my story
EE: The staging of your visuals always appears considered in the sense that the garments belong to the surroundings. Would a stylist be involved in the overall consideration of an image – do you style the backdrop as well as the model?
DB: Again, it’s all a mixture of a solid concept and a live spontaneity at the shoot, sometimes it is just complete luck
EE: Your editorials seem to tick all the boxes, with a considered colour palette, an intricate webbing of layers and most importantly a definite nod to proportion & position. Do you have an editorial equation that allows for this repeat success?
DB: Thanks! I am very happy that you noticed that, it is a big compliment for me. But there is really no secret formula...
I just decided some time ago, to realize only the stories I am burning to create. I believe that gives the results an extra strength and clarity, the rest is possibly just my own style
EE: There’s a strong sense of silhouette & considered form throughout your portfolio, a key approach drilled within the mind of most fashion designers. Have you ever considered evolving your work into the realms of design?
DB: During my time in Italy, I was working in the field of fashion design. So fitting and proportion is very important to me, sometimes I feel too important (I think it‘s a German thing)
But back to your question, I don‘t believe that I will ever work in fashion design again
I enjoy very much what I am doing now. If I was to change my work situation, I would probably choose something completely new as my next passion. I like to look forward and I feel there are still many options that interest me in the future besides fashion
EE: What might an example be? It’s an interesting thought, developing away from the industry. I'm intrigued
DB: I sometimes miss the social aspect in this business. I would love to open a Centre or Home for stray cats & dogs on the Greek islands when I’ve matured a little
*Photography: Roman Goebel
EE: Naturally we get the opportunity to discuss current views in the industry with the creative’s within it, amongst other things we’ve recognised a seismic shift in opinion when it comes to fashion film. Moving image has been tipped as the natural progression of editorial - do you feel it’s inevitable that in this technical age film will soon completely eclipse photographic editorial?
DB: No, not really. I still feel very much for pictures. Of course nowadays we have more technical options, but personally I feel that they are more of a gimmick
I have so much respect for all the movies I love, works by Luis Bunuel, David Lynch, Almodovar and Wes Anderson. I'm sure I could never do something that could come even close to that, so I don‘t even try to
I must say, that all these fashion clips are very nice to look at. Though I’m sorry to say that often I completely miss the contents within them
EE: Equally we’ve stumbled upon many disgruntled stylists whom worry about the sourcing battle for the very best designs in the industry. We considered the old proverb of a bad workman blaming his tools and wondered whether the proof of a sterling stylist is an impressive outcome regardless of the tools at their disposal?
DB: It is always nice to work with big named designer brands. Most of the time the looks are breathtaking and it’s an honour to work with them. Though It‘s easy to fall into the trap of a total look when you have so much respect for the name of the house. This can result in a stunted approach to garment manipulation
I always say, that a good stylist can make magic from nothing!
EE: Mr. Jacobs once ranked the artistic world in order of craft and importance to the masses, with artists at the top of the charts and fashion designers at the bottom. Would you agree with this hierarchical way of thinking and if so where would you place a stylist?
DB: First I have to say, that I don‘t believe in hierarchical positions in the world of creation. I am also completely against describing myself as an artist. An artist is dealing with his thoughts and the whole world order. I only try to give superficial appeal to the content of an image
We as stylists are just creative craftsman. When it comes to titles I am very realistic and honest with myself _ in everything else I’m a complete dreamer...
I think the main difference is also that an artist creates for eternity, the stylist just for a moment! What I do is illustrate the zeitgeist, working within the realms of a transient popular culture. I am only a child of my time, regardless of whether I want to be or not
*Photography: Stefan Heinrichs
EE: As someone who constantly reviews collections, we assume you have an educated opinion on what we might be wearing in the coming season?
DB: The eight thousand dollar question! What's comes up next?
I have the feeling, that there are really no big trends any more. It seems that each designer or brand creates their own thing at the moment. I personally find that very stimulating
So I think that 'individualism' is a strong fashion tendency at the minute
The streets are also getting very influential again. A trend that seems to be growing very naturally on an international scale right now is a kind of ‘traveller’ look. A ‘souvenir chic’ almost, a look created from all different destinations. A ‘backpacker’ feeling, mixed with influences from Africa, India or Mexico, with a very young and bohemian feel. This has nothing to do with ‘hippie,’ this style is much more contemporary and easy to wear. I personally think it's very interesting and refreshing to the eye
EE: Elysium(E): A place or state of perfect happiness - when are you at your happiest?
DB: Sunday afternoons, watching a DVD in my bed with my cat sleeping on my lap
EE: Finally, what one question had you hoped might be included in this interview, furthermore how would you answer said question?
DB: Q: What is the most important to you in the whole wide world?
A: Love and Cola Light
*Photography: Stefan Heinrichs