XXXIII. RAUL GUERRERO
Senior Fashion Editor ___ Fiasco Magazine.
" I wore my first kilt (+J women’s skirt) over trousers and I felt secure more than outlandish or flamboyant. "
*'Just Kids' in FIASCO _ Photography: Casey Brooks _ Models: Marcelina Sowa & Miles McMillan _
2011 was a big year for FIASCO but 2012 is already shaping up to be that little bit bigger. Beginning the new year by launching a new Digital platform, building a menswear publication - from which we've interviewed their Fashion Editor Benjamin Brouillet - and refreshing their logo. FIASCO fashion is to take a more directional view, with Raul at the helm of an accomplished creative team
We dissect the general public's impression of what it is he actually endures to realize his work, which is not quite as straightforward as frequenting fashion shows, though naturally we cover his recent seasonal highlights. In addition Raul acknowledges the dwindling levels of fantasy in the fashion arena, covers what it is he hopes to communicate in the future and mentions his penchant for peanut butter
ElysiumEditorial: Regardless of our trade of choice, we must always master how we handle and manipulate our tools. The tools in your case being the garments, we assume you developed your feel for the role through some form of fashion teaching?
RaulGuerrero: Yes, but it started with illustration and architecture. Drawing was the only form of self-expression I had as a kid. I lived a lot of my childhood at the doctors and in bed. Around the age of 12, my parents enrolled me in a private school in Mexico (where they are originally from) and there I started studying architecture and became fascinated with perception drawing. Then somewhere amongst this came advertising, then photography. That’s where I learned the creative business in the fashion industry
EE: Were you always so vividly creative and set on a career in the industry, or is your involvement in the this arena somewhat unrehearsed?
RG: Like I mentioned, I trained myself to have a visual understanding of the world around me. I learned through other modes of expression, instead of straightforward reading and writing like they would normally teach kids in the majority of American education. Let’s just say I was not the fastest learner in this ‘conventional’ way. Once I found myself working in fashion I found my voice and the background of studying architecture, drawing and photography was a worthwhile rehearsal. When I create it comes from these places. I wouldn’t say I knew from the beginning that fashion would be the industry I’d find my career in. Instead of unrehearsed it’s more organic and comes from a culmination of many interests
EE: For the slightly uninformed amongst us, how would you dissect your role as a fashion stylist?
RG: This may only make sense to other individuals involved on set, but here goes. You are the stylist and for some reason everyone that works around you sees you as a babysitter, best friend (during the shoot) and general information booth. It’s funny if they think you are slightly dumb but still capable of doing many things. I get questions like ‘where is the model? Why isn’t the food on time?’ and my least favourite ‘how did you get all these clothes?’ Here I would typically think to myself ‘after a lot of damn work.’ A stylist’s true role is to provide inspiration to the set in fashion form. Offering garments where the fashion is the main focus or simply an aid in the realization of someone else’s idea
*'New Suits' in FIASCO _ Photography: Justin Wu _ Model: Francisco Lachowski _
EE: In a world where things are judged on their visual value, how do you tackle your personal style in relation to your daily wardrobe and the way in which you present yourself?
RG: I dislike chaos in my life (not that I don’t look to it to add interest from time to time) and that has reflected in my personal style. I only wear solids and blacks. I studied colour and have a strong inclination for bold graphics but I choose to exclude all that from my lifestyle to find work liberating. Since black rules my closet (I have a few neon’s, punk tees and sporty but severe footwear somewhere in there) I play with cuts and fabrics within my philosophy to continue being relevant to the parts of the business I have great admiration for
EE: Are you ever conscious that your own wardrobe should never eclipse the artistry of your editorial work?
RG: Any sort of creative expression has to be personal or else it means nothing to that person or the viewer. My editorial work is infused with multiple ideas and so is my personal wardrobe, but the two should not be compared and I don’t feel that one will ever eclipse the other
EE: Your ‘Manifesto’ reads as sublimely as your visuals _ though doesn’t a penchant for simplicity result in a stunted set of components that make up an image, thus reducing certain qualities that a viewer may relate too?
RG: If a viewer can’t relate to my work then that’s that. Like in any creative field there are multiple subcultures within one medium, so different artists may be aligned with a specialty or niche. If someone finds my work ‘stunted’ because of its simplicity, then my way of communicating is not part of their language and I’m fine with that
EE: Photographer _ Christian Rio _ is frequently mentioned throughout your previous works as a creative colleague. Is this a coincidence or are such strong artistic partnerships a necessity in the industry?
RG: Everyone needs to find people they work well with. Christian Rios and I developed our initiation into menswear together, that imagery we collaborated toward will always follow our careers
EE: We spotted the Bug Print Shirt by Duckie Brown in your menswear story _New Suits. Is it difficult to fuse such a bold garment into a seamless set of photographs?
RG: Not in this story. I had to showcase suits in different variations, cuts, colours and silhouettes. Adding something as bold as the Duckie shirt to the mix was to create interest to the story as a whole
EE: For that matter, is attempting to fuse the work of designers famed for their notably differing aesthetics ever a feasible pursuit?
RG: That could be a challenge, being a stylist is about understanding obstacles and using available resources. Personally I prefer to keep a lot of the designers’ personal character in the look
*'Cold War Fame' in FIASCO _ Photography: Christian Rios _ Models: Janis Vilumovs, Jules Hamilton & Petey Wright _
EE: Interesting plays with proportion, inclined waist belts and juxtaposed fabric clashing results in an alluring illustration of modern menswear. Are the strict boundaries of what is regarded ‘acceptable’ in the menswear arena gradually eroding?
RG: Of course and you see that in brands like Givenchy with their skirts, Lanvin’s extra high-waisted trousers, Rad Hourani's unisex collections and Raf Simons slight femme angst - to name the more noted of the pack. I wore my first kilt (+J women’s skirt) over trousers and I felt secure more than outlandish or flamboyant. In menswear there are rules, not boundaries I think
EE: Fashion has always been notorious for its sense of intimidation, a place where status prevails. Refreshing then that we can bask in the joy emitted from your video with Francisco Lachowski for FIASCO’s B&W Issue. Such a sense of relaxed cheer would not have been possible in an awkward, hierarchical environment. Would it be fair to assume the industry has softened and thus ultimately become more accessible?
RG: On all my sets I try to bring in the casual vibe, this is fun for me and I let the rest of the creative team including the model (key component to the vision) know that. Also Justin Wu who shot this story and produced the video had a sense of ease in that setting that I think reflected in Lachowski’s deliverance. Whether this means that fashion is becoming less intimidating, I’m not sure. I think the general public is able to see a bit more of what’s behind the curtain so to speak and that’s dangerous. I don’t know that I would call it softening, but the accessibility could result in less fantasy, which is a shame because fantasy is what we always want to create
EE: Speaking of fashion film _ Moving image has been tipped as the natural progression of editorial. As a stylist who has been involved in such projects, do you feel it’s inevitable that in this technical age film will soon completely eclipse photographic editorial?
RG: Film and photography are obviously related but very different. The trend photographer turned director is not always successful. Recently I worked on a video for Models.com titled 'Committed' directed by Casey Brooks. Partnering up with her gave me an understanding about the difference between the mediums. She also came from a dancing background that made movement equally as important as the story itself
EE: You seem to work closely with Menswear label _ Native Son. Celebrated Fashion Editor Melanie Ward is widely recognized as muse to Mr. Helmut Lang, we wondered whether you were perhaps a similar aid to designer Kyle Fitzgibbons? We’re quite possibly reading too much into this, what do you hope to contribute to the fledgling label?
RG: I think so. Or at least Kyle and I inspire each other. Native Son has become a personal part of my creative progression
EE: We assume runway styling and Look-book assistance requires a slightly altered approach to the typical editorial shoot?
RG: They all have different formulas yet all hold one thing that links them together, this is the nature of the business
*'Committed' for Models.com _ Director: Casey Brooks _ Models incl. Alexander Beck, Sebastian Sauvé & Yuri Pleskun _
EE: How would one begin the daunting task of filling approximately 217 blank pages with credible fashion content?
RG: If I try to respond to this question, anyone reading will surely close the window and probably watch a video on YouTube. Let’s just say it’s more work than just sitting at a Lanvin fashion show, which for the record was my favourite show this past menswear week in Paris. Lanvin equalled theatrics, cappuccinos, seamless casting, the right amount of technology, and the new/true way of wearing the iconic suit. People reading this are also asking themselves why I am not replying to their emails
EE: FIASCO’s wheel of recognition appears to be gaining serious pace – as someone at the helm of the publications creative team, how do you see your output developing in this New Year?
RG: My goal this year is to gain more recognition within the industry, establish a more defined fashion direction, and most importantly to continue the ever visually heavy publication I’m part of, whilst implementing just the right amount of words. I think our readers are mainly visual nerds
EE: There is always an element of risk upon altering something that has already seen success, do you worry that playing with a fruitful formula may in turn disgruntle the readers already fulfilled by your publications approach?
RG: As a continuously changing business the magazine has to continue riding the wave while never forgetting or masking the initial spark that developed FIASCO. I don’t think our readers are going to complain if they start to see more front of book content
*Native Son Fall/Winter 2012 _ Designer: Kyle Fitzgibbons _ Casting Director: Christian Rios _
EE: What one question had you hoped might be included in this interview, furthermore how would you answer said question?
RG: Q _ What are you listening too?
A _ Then I would have told you that right now I’m listening to Grimes new upcoming album Visions (I’m not getting paid to say this)
Elysium(E): A place or state of perfect happiness - When are you at your happiest?
RG: When my bedroom is tidy, during coffee time when I indulge in some great peanut butter, and surrounding myself with the people I love
*'Raun LaRose' in FIASCO _ Photography: Casey Brooks _ Models: Paris Nicholson & Tommy Kristiansen _