Woo Lee - elysium.e Interview



XXXVI. WOO LEE


Stylist ___ W Korea.


" I truly believe in this theory. Creativity is the element that interlaces everything. "









So, we felt it the time to mildly mix things up on the Q&A front. As the source of questions for the site, its always rather testing to consider what query might coax out the most interesting response from our creatives.

Slightly perplexing then when somewhat out of the blue - with such a thing playing on my mind - the delightful Woo Lee sent over the following text ***with four complete hi-res editorials, might we add. The flow of the following text is uninterrupted and entirely personal to 'this' styling mind. You will find no trace of a suffocating 'questionnaire template' here, instead you can completely bask in the subjective mindful ramblings of a celebrated Fashion Editor. Including her personal view on the industry itself and an intriguing, insider dissection of her expanding portfolio and publication involvement (found below each complete editorial)...









*'Deadly Beautiful' _ Photography: Philip Riches _ Model: Nimue Smit _

The source for this editorial was the fashion collections of SS 2012. There were many white items with a uniform feel. I immediately thought of a nurse’s uniform.

In Europe's history, nuns usually covered the roll of being a nurse. Such outfits have often been appreciated by those with vast sexual imagination. It was an exciting source of inspiration for me, to merge these somewhat clashing pointers.

I then has to consider which epoch (era) she's in? Where and what happens? What original ideas can Woo Lee add to the scene?

I picked up the mood for the location and the epoch (era)from the film ‘The Fall - director Tarsem Singh’ and magnified the emotion, specifically: obsession

Rather than nudity, I used 'the collar around the neck’ as the key styling feature. I wanted to be ironic with the emotions _ obsession, violence, sexuality etc _ in a controversial way.

Then to force the styling I mixed a few synthetic pieces _ stockings and gloves in latex, plasticized dresses etc _ with authentic hospital equipment _ patients bathrobe, nurse cap: I found this cap from an old catholic nurse school that had closed 10 years ago, surgery gown etc





I believe that there is a big difference between ART and ARTISTIC work. A qualified stylist must be conscious of this difference. I think that BEAUTIFUL styling is SUITABLE styling.

A stylist should ask themselves these questions: Who are you sharing your story with? Will the concept work for the magazine or the client? What kind of woman or man are you creating the look for?








*'Alternative Suit' _ Photography: Philip Riches _ Model: Anna de Rijk _

When you create a story with only the fashion styling, you must give a clear message of the fashion concept!

1. Upon deciding to realize a ‘masculine look’ you must carefully consider what type e.g. formal or casual

2. Here I went for formal, brainstorming what truly constitutes as formal e.g. a tuxedo perhaps

3. No to the tuxedo, it’s far too ‘classical,’ I was craving something different and ‘alternative’

4. How alternative and to what level, considering silhouette, material and color in a concise story

5. Implementing humor with big silhouettes, playing with unique and modern materials

6. Hair & make up further magnified the masculine mood, with dark heavy eyebrows etc





When you are creating a fashion shoot the stylist/fashion editor must be perfectly in control, I don't mean you must control the staff with force! The stylist must understand the meaning of the scene in all its detail.

This process is called ‘structure’ and it is vital in ensuring a solid and convincing shoot. Another important process is ‘decoration,’ the creativeness, the originality, the tendency, eventually (if my job has been successful) will result in a fascinating and engaging photo-shoot







*'Extreme' _ Photography: Gianluca Fontana _ Model: Bianca Balti _

This editorial needed a strong solution! The coherence of items was very weak. There were beautiful looks, but it was too hard to find the connection between them. I had to put together and seriously consider the special key points of the styling.

I used a t-shirt (self-cut and formed) for all the pages. That was a good solution to merge these strong self-standing pieces.





To quote Ms. Annamaria Testa's book 'La Trama Lucente - The Shining Plots’: "Creativity is not only talent but also training, not only nature but also culture - a recipe: univocal, coherence, objectivity"

I truly believe in this theory. Creativity is the element that interlaces everything.

There are many limits and many difficulties in the processes of the work of a Stylist. To repeat, we are not creating art, we are creating a very artistic photo feature. A set of images that have a common element with the magazine and the client, however the result has to convince as many people as possible.









*'Eternal Instinct' _ Photography: Gianluca Fontana _ Model: Milou van Groesen _

For a long time, I have wanted to create an editorial story with tattoos. I waited for the right time to develop this story. When I saw a still cut of Rooney Mara, I understood it was the right moment!

I didn’t want to make it too logical and easy. With a studded biker jumper, old leather pants, t shirts, piercing, aggressive hair style. I had to create a luxurious feel for the mature woman that 'W Korea' is targeted at.

But I wanted to give at least some sense and credibility to the story.

I decide to show one leather piece on each page, keeping these minimal and shown in beautiful hues. I added chain accessories and strong jackets to create a connection between the location and character.

The difficulty with this shoot was the small and dark location. For this reason I choose a model with platinum blonde hair & I tried to stick with bright and colorful pieces, at the same time orange & blue is a very relevant and strong colour combination.



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