We’ve spent 5 minutes with people in every area of the photographic industry, from model bookers to animal talent agents. For our first chat of 2013, we thought we’d stay a little closer to home and caught up with the inimitable Charlie Cave of LPA Style. With a wealth of experience in the fashion and retail industry, Charlie is one of the most creative stylists in the business. Here is what she had to say….
- Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am a stylist for both stills and TV commercials. My work involves researching, mood-boards, props, set builds and wardrobe. I am also a mother to two amazing little girls. Unfortuately both work and children have been most unkind to the bags under my eyes.
- How did you become a stylist?
Whilst at university, I did work experience for the jewellery designer Tom Binns in New York where I met several fashion stylists. I become really interested in the idea of styling, but found the fashion industry incredibly scary. So I decided to try and get experience in interior styling. After graduating, I worked at Habitat and Liberty department stores doing visual merchandising and window displays. During this time I also did lots of assisting, then after several years I started getting my own jobs. I was very lucky to work with two brilliant stylists/journalists who took me under their wing, Vinny Lee & Margaret Caselton. They taught me so much – I am very grateful to them.
- What are the main skills you need to be a commercial stylist?
You need to be extremely organised, with good knowledge of all the prop houses, stores etc. An ability to get on well with people and most importantly understand the brief is key.
- If you weren’t a stylist, what would you be doing?
Special effects make‐up artist, furniture designer or voice‐over artist.
- What are the best and worst things about your job?
Best things: the people, the challenge, every shoot is different in subject and location. Also the lunches, especially the desserts and you also get to be privy to some fabulous and unrepeatable stories.
Worst things, the stress of very last minute propping and doing the returns. I will also never get used to having to get up at 5am on a shoot day!
- Who/what are your biggest sources of creative inspiration?
There are so many, I find Ilse Crawford a huge inspiration. She is an amazingly talented individual.
- What essentials do you have to have on a shoot (I’m guessing safety pins and bull dog clips…)?
I love my extremely heavy tape roll pack, which I lug to every shoot. I am especially protective over my white and black tack.
- What’s your favourite blog?
- What advice would you give to budding stylists?
Get as much experience as you can. Be proactive with you time, if you are not assisting get to know all the prop houses etc. There is also nothing worse than a work experience person just sitting around on set, then asking to go home once it gets to 5pm.
- What’s the most exciting/challenging job you’ve worked on?
Probably the most exciting shoot I have ever worked on, was whilst I was still assisting. It was an FHM front cover shoot with Usher in LA, I worked with the production designer Robert Sumrell and photographers Gitte & Delaney. It was a real eye opener and the catering was utterly delicious.