I met up with stylist Celine Albert at a fashion shoot in Copenhagen with photographer Fran Dominguez, models Mads Lynge and Rebecka from Diva Models and MUA Hanna Michelle Francisco Ramirez.
While we took a pause from the shoot, I sat down with Celine Albert for an interview about her career as a fashion stylist. All photos are shot by me unless otherwise noted.
Andreas Climent: Tell us a bit about yourself and your career so far, what path did you take to become a fashion stylist?
Celine Albert: I’m from Norway and when I lived in Norway I studied to be a hairdresser and then I moved to Copenhagen to become a stylist. I started to work as a stylist when I was 16 years old, to just the local magazines and stuff like that. And then just, it got me, so that’s what I wanted to do, so then I moved to Copenhagen because I’m from a small city so if you want to work with fashion you don’t go anywhere there so Copenhagen it was.
I studied to become a makeup artist and stylist here for a year and after that I just worked a little bit as a freelance stylist. Then I worked for Group 88 with marketing. They have brands like Burberry, Mulberry, Bottega Veneta, D&G and Gucci. After that I got a job at Costume and was a fashion and beauty assistant there, so that just kicked my career even more. Then I was at another PR agency called Polhem, so when I was at all those places they just helped me to become a stylist.
Now I work for my blog and it’s a lot of testing I’m doing because I’m not a professional yet. Sometimes it’s just for sites on the Internet and then I had a long pause from my styling and I started actually styling again in march.
I was wondering, you said that when you just started out you started styling for local magazines when you were 16, how did that start?
I started as a model when I was 14, and then I got to know the people in the magazine because I was a model for them. And they just asked if I wanted to do an editorial because they knew my interest was styling, and I said “yes, of course”, so I was their stylist for a while that made their editorials.
This stylist school here in Copenhagen, how did you end up there?
I didn’t know what to do after the summer, so I was just bored one day and looked at the Internet and I saw this school and I just called it at once and asked how do I get in, or what should I do, and they were like “there’s one place left”, so four weeks later I jumped on a plane and here I was! So it went kinda quickly!
So what made you want to become a stylist?
My mom has a fashion store in Norway so since I was a little kid I always loved fashion. I think it’s because of my mom, because she loves it too. And then, yeah, it just grew on me.
At first I wanted to be a designer because I didn’t know what a stylist was. I figured it out later so since I was like 10 years old, my dream was to become a stylist, but it’s really hard and you just have to work so hard to get anywhere in this business. But yeah, I think it was from my mom, and I’ve always loved clothes.
How do you prepare for a new fashion shoot?
First of all I figure out what the theme is going to be and then maybe I will make a moodboard just to the photographer so he can see what I’m thinking and also to the makeup artist, and send some inspiration pictures so we all agree. And of couse I will go around to all the PR agencies to borrow clothes. I will put it together at home and then take it with me to the shoot.
Is the job as glamourous as people imagine?
No, not at all!
I mean, it can be glamourous at the day, if you’re in a studio. If I have a location outside and it’s raining, it’s not glamourous at all. Not everybody thinks that the stylist is also going to pick up the things at the PR agencies but you have to carry a lot as a stylist and it’s quite hard.
That’s the hardest part, I think, when you have to pick out the clothes and take it with you and then return it.
Do you have any special tricks you’ve learned during your time as a stylist?
Hmm.. just the one with hairspray. If the shirt or the dress is like sticking to your body, then you just take a hairspray and spray it under and it will come loose. That’s my best tip! (laughing)
What are you inspired by?
Oh, a lot of things. But I think mostly, street style. I love street style because it’s so many weird people like combining different things you would never even imagine yourself. And also blogs. There are a lot of good blogs out there now these days. So I would say mostly blogs and normal people.
Do you have any favorite blogs?
If you didn’t have any experience of contacts, but wanted to start working as a stylist on fashion shoots, what would you do?
First of all, go to parties and talk to strangers and just be happy and you have to get to know people, because it’s the only way to get inside. Specially in Copenhagen, everybody knows everybody, so if you like to have a job, they don’t just hire you if you don’t know who you are. They always ask if somebody knows you and then you’ll get the job. So just be nice to everybody and keep in touch with the people you get to know.
I read that you also work as a model scout. What do you look for in a potential model?
I work for a really high fashion model agency, so the models I’m looking for have to be over 1,76cm and they have to be a size 34, so it’s very difficult first of all to just find that type of girl, but of course she has to have a goodlooking face and you know people in Europe, like in Paris and Milan, they love scandinavian people so it’s just a plus if she looks scandinavian, so yeah, I think that’s mostly what I’m looking for.
And she has to be a nice person. You have to know that she wants this, because if she’s just a quiet girl, you don’t come far in this business.
When you approach somebody, do you spend a lot of time with them before recommending them?
Yes, sometimes it could be just a shoot and I get the feeling if she is something worth to recommend, so yeah, I don’t have to spend a lot of time with her, I can see it quite quickly I think.
I love when they have opinions, when they say “no, I don’t like that necklace” or they instruct the model to “do that, or do this!” and not just that they are there because they are a photographer and they have to take photos. I love when they are really involved in what’s happening. So yeah, they have to have an opinion, that helps me.
How do you cooperate with the makeup artists?
I’m sending them a collage of what my thoughts are about the project and she usually comes up with an idea of what she thinks and stuff like that, and we just agree, yeah, so, usually it’s quite quick! (laughing)
What trends in styling are you seeing right now?
It’s still a lot of 90′s grunge style but it’s also.. people have their own style now, and you can either be minimalistic or you can have a lot of jewelry, it’s mostly up to you. But the 50′s are coming back with the dresses and the skirts and the high waist there also. But again, you can also have low pants and it will be in fashion.
Does your styling for fashion shoots ever inspire your personal style?
Yeah, I think so, but I can style a lot of different things and it’s not my style all the time, but I’m trying to get a red thread in all the stylings that I do so people can see “oh, that’s Celine Albert’s styling”.
You recently styled a music video, tell me about that experience.
It was my second video, but the first big one. Super cool. It was for DJ Alligator actually, yeah, but I was very surprised because he has changed his style and it was a very sad video, but I’m really looking forward to seeing it, I think it’s going to be really good.
What goals and challenges do you have as a stylist, what do you want to achieve?
First of all, to do it for a living full time, that’s my goal, but it’s so hard. I think there’s maximum 10 stylists here in Denmark that are working with it full time. But of course that’s my goal.
I love it, I love that not every day is the same and not having the 9 to 5 job and yeah, just getting to know new people every day and shooting outside in new locations and yeah, it’s so nice, so that’s my goal.
If you could style anyone in the world, anywhere in the world, who would you choose, what place would you choose and why?
Oh no! That’s a very difficult question! I would love to shoot my friend Siri Tollerød, she is also from Kristiansand. She’s one of the most popular models at the time. So shooting her in France maybe.. (laughing). What style it should be? I’m not sure. It could be cool to shoot it like 50′s style, like a little retro but in a modern way on the riviera, maybe Saint Tropez or something, yeah, that could be cool! (laughing)
What has been the most memorable moment for you as a fashion stylist?
That’s also a difficult question. I think it was the music video, because it went over 4 days and it was so hard. We worked from 8 in the morning to 2 in the night, and it was so hard for the actor because she was going to stand under water. There were fire-guys that sprayed water on her and it was cold water and it was really cold in the air and she was standing there for five hours. Poor girl. I think that’s the most memorable one, and great crew, we had so much fun, so it was kinda sad when it was over.
If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you wake up?
California.. San Fransisco or LA. I’ve never been there so, some place warm. On the beach.. no, not on the beach.. like in a penthouse with a big pool and good food! (laughing)