A Closer Look :
Audio Q&A with C's style director George Kotsiopoulos
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A Passion for Fashion
Part artist, part visionary,
stylists rule at booming specialty magazines.
By Shana Glick
ver wonder how a magazine gets that perfect cover shot? The one where everything looks too perfect, yet somehow, just right. Take a look at the rise of the styling profession and what it means to be the fashion director, editor and stylist for C Magazine, a glossy high end magazine for glossy high end readers.
Heidi Klum pulls up to Miahouse Studios on La Cienega Boulevard in a tan SUV for a cover photo shoot with C. The shoot is being styled by C’s resident style director and fashion maven, George Kotsiopoulos. It's exactly 9:30 a.m.
"We'll be lucky if we get the first shot by noon," said Margot Frankel, C’s creative director.
Klum is in the makeup room where the chatter reveals varying opinions about Botox. The airy studio with white 20-foot walls provides the ideal backdrop for a summer-themed photo shoot – light, breezy – as the Los Angeles winter settles in for the day. Rain hits the roof for a time, revealing the cold sun a little later, which disappears again shortly behind a blanket of fog. Against a black padded leather wall similar to an upright buttoned sofa cushion, a table dressed in hundreds of thousands dollars worth of jewels is guarded fulltime by a gun-toting guard.
C's insurance policy requires a guard to watch on-set jewelry when the pieces are valued at more than $250,000. An emerald green Boucheron necklace appears to be worth that amount alone. Translucent jewels and sparkling diamonds cut a stunning silhouette, even as the necklace lies nestled in its opened black case.
Klum saunters out of the dressing room wearing a stunning mustard colored, 1970's inspired dress. Frankel was right. It’s just after 1 o'clock p.m. Following her shoot in the dark-yellow dress, she sits down for a quick lunch.
The quest for the perfect photo is hardly perfect.
"I like unique style," Klum said. "I like it when people experiment and have fun with fashion, especially women. We have the freedom to experiment."
So, too, does C’s style director, George Kotsiopoulos. Style, he says, is "having a point of view and individual choice." His finished photos are polished, sometimes edgy, and always perfect. "The difference between fashion and style is that fashion is what's happening now, and style is more of an individual taste," he said. For these gems of wisdom, Kotsiopoulos gets to brush up against stars while earning a handsome wage in what is one of the magazine industry’s hottest professions.
An emerging profession
Sometime during the last two decades, a new creative and sometimes lucrative profession emerged. Fashion stylists moved to the forefront of the fastest-growing area of the magazine industry: women’s specialty fashion and lifestyle publications. The flawless images appearing in these magazines are not created without a stylist and a team of creative art experts, who only began receiving credit for their work in the last decade, said Brooke Taylor, C’s assistant fashion editor.
"The difference between fashion and style is that fashion is what's happening now, and style is more of an individual taste." For these gems of wisdom, Kotsiopoulos gets to brush up against stars while earning a handsome wage in what is one of the magazine industry’s hottest professions.
The power to foresee next season's "style" is an elusive, but highly coveted quality within fashion culture. A passion for fashion and an eye for color are the underpinnings of styling. But fashion stylists must also understand the latest trends, predicting what will dominate the fashion landscape three months down the line.
Aside from the common practice of digital retouching, the "look" of a fashion photograph is a thoroughly conceptualized idea, formed by a team of creative art professionals usually led by a fashion stylist who is the primary visual gatekeeper of style. Vital to niche magazines, fashion stylists shape the current fashion trends by handpicking the hottest items of the season, hoping to catch the eye of the industry’s fashion elite. Using clothing and accessories, stylists aim to turn a photo shoot into a statement.