TIME Magazine is perhaps one of the most universally recognized magazines around the world. Steve Jobs, Princess Diana, Obama, Einstein, and JFK are just a few famous and world changing faces that have graced the covers of this prestigious publication. But with each every famous cover, there is a team behind it.
Canadian fashion director and wardrobe stylist Kirsten Readers knows this, as she styled TIME’s July 2013 cover “How Can Service Save Us” for the magazine’s annual national service issue.
“I don’t think anyone would turn down an opportunity to work with a publication like TIME magazine. They are iconic and recognized around the world,” said Reader. “For me it was such an honor and an accomplishment I will always be proud of.
The TIME article featured military veterans to talk about what happens to them post service.
“I had to source authentic United States Military fatigues that would have been worn during the current war in Afghanistan,” described Reader. “We had to ensure that we honored the veterans who were participating in the current crises, as that was the focus of the article.”
Although the TIME magazine editorial crew is located in New York City, the shoot took place at the Westside Studios in Toronto, and therefore Reader worked with a very small team.
“The photographer Andrew B Myers and I made sure we got the overall vision TIME had requested taken care of,” said Reader. “Working with Andrew and TIME was a dream come true. Everyone was an absolute pleasure and yet another job I felt lucky to be a part of.”
Reader had her work cut out for her. Having the shoot in Toronto created some unexpected challenges.
“Ensuring to source the correct military service fatigues here in Toronto was a bit of a challenge, but one I truly relished succeeding at,” she said.
And succeed she did. Reader’s styling caught the attention of many high profile people in the entertainment industry, and allowed her to increase her connections.
“She achieved a cover profiling models as veterans in a respectful light dressed in authentic current military wardrobe,” said filmmaker and television producer Jonas Bell Pasht. “This level of respect for real veterans while still working on achieving a dynamic cover is why Kristen is so often sought after for these central and critical projects. She is not only capable of delivering the message but also helping to ensure it is done in the most memorable and respectful way.”
“For any stylist to be selected to work on the cover of such a widely distributed and entrusted publication within the journalism world is a massive accomplishment as a stylist that cannot be undervalued or understated,” said Odessa Paloma Parker, the fashion editor of The Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s largest circulating newspapers.
Reader remembers the shoot as one of the quickest she ever participated on.
“The shoot itself was a half day with a day of preparation prior to ensure we had lots to work with to do the veterans justice,” described Reader.
The cover is something Reader can, and always will be, proud of.
“This was an amazing project to be a part of,” said Reader. “TIME is an iconic publication and never one I thought I would have the chance to style for, as it is a news publication so it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
For Australian director Luke Farquhar, it all started with a dream to become a pro surfer. He grew up on Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast, south of Brisbane, with inspiration to make his mark in the subtropical region that’s home to some of the most popular surf breaks and beaches in the world.
“I wanted to be a pro surfer,” he said. “I was super competitive and tried my hand at Air Shows, but I just could never perform when I needed to I guess. I got sponsored and was able to free-surf instead, which I enjoyed more because it allowed me to make videos with my friends and take pictures and be creative. The Gold Coast is the best place in the world to learn your surfing craft. There is so many good surfers there so it pushes you to surf good…or else you just get pushed to the side!”
Parlaying his wave riding experiences, Farquhar gained momentum and the sense of his foremost passion – filmmaking. At the age of 19, he began making surf films. “They began getting some traction and I was asked to make them properly,” Farquhar said. “I decided to focus on my love of film and have never done anything else since.”
The career decision resoundingly turned out to be the correct one.
Farquhar, known for his stylized, unparalleled and imaginative execution, has directed his way to a coveted position at the pinnacle of filmmaking. He’s directed commercials, spots, promos and outstanding branded videos for Fox Sports, Land Rover, Channel [V]’s hit music video show “The Riff,” Billabong, Schweppes, Insight51, and the Brit Music Awards, to name a few. Talent Farquhar has directed includes surfing icons Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning, Australian football star Callan Ward and MMA legend Ronda Rousey. (Check out Farquhar’s work here: http://www.vimeo.com/lukefarquhar)
Farquhar’s metamorphosis into a directorial auteur was a journey that saw him attend the Gold Coasts’ Bond University, a period during which he directed short films and TV commercials for a year and a half.
Leaving academia behind prior to graduation, Farquhar went on to direct for Oyster Magazine, a leading quarterly Australian publication that covers pop culture, music, fashion and beauty. His freelance appointment with Oyster was fruitful as Farquhar was nominated for the Harpers Bizarre/Peroni Creative of the Year Award for his 8mm short fashion film.
Riding the success, Farquhar assimilated into directing for FashionTV, a fashion and lifestyle broadcasting channel that airs to global audiences spanning North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Farquhar engaged his talents for the network for two years and directed a bevy of content including televised and esteemed fashion week events.
His services were then sought after and acquired by Channel [V], an Australian MTV equivalent for music enthusiasts with a nationwide cable audience. Farquhar directed the rebrand for Channel [V], which spearheaded the repositioning and marketing strategy for the channel. His animated spot – “For the Love of Music” –artistically shows a story that begins in the depths of hell and scrolls up vertically to the heavens, intermixed with live action placement of music figures such as Marilyn Manson, Daft Punk, 2pac, Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, and others, finally ending with the Channel [V] logo.
“This was one of the most stressful jobs I have ever been a part of,” Farquhar said. “Overseeing an army of talented designers can be incredibly tough, but in the end, we did a lot of great things in capturing the spirit of Channel [V].”
It was during Farquhar’s four and a half-year tenure with Channel [V] that he met his girlfriend, Carissa Walford, who hosted for Channel [V]’s “The Riff.” The pair would collaborate on promo spots for the show with Farquhar directing and Walford lead acting. Farquhar exercised his profound creativity and demonstrated an uninhibited, sublime directing approach within his spots for “The Riff.” The director dispatched in the spots an array of sensory components including narration, bold imagery, grainy cinematography, dark undertones and striking messages that resonate with viewers.
“Luke’s directing is characterized with a grandiose, epic sensibility,” Walford said. “It’s a bold style that pushes the boundary, while also being representative and effective. His messages are original and memorable, and drove viewers to our tune into our show.”
Farquhar thereafter directed for a period for Television New Zealand, a 36-year government-owned national broadcaster, and later advanced to directing for Fox Sports Australia, including the network’s expansive “I AM” rebranding. Fox Sports is the foremost sports broadcaster in Australia featuring six sports channels and a dedicated news network.
Keeping true to his surfing roots, Farquhar directed the Fox Sports “I AM Surfing” promo, along with other inspiring personal narrative tales from Fanning, Ward, Rousey and boxer Jeff Hornet, as well as “I AM UFC” and “I AM a Fanatic” spots. The “I AM” campaign was recently selected into the Promax Awards in June in New York City.
“The ‘I AM’ spots were a tremendous opportunity to champion the Fox Sports rebrand,” Farquhar said. “My goal for directing and working with our featured talent subjects was to present their personal stories of triumph, in their own words. The campaign collected multiple awards and we achieved our goal for the extreme sports banner.”
Most recently, Farquhar has directed spots for Necro Surf and is currently working with DD8, a creative international company that designs, produces, directs and shoots incredible branded content. Farquhar and DD8 co-founder Jean-Christophe Danoy are planning forthcoming expansion of the firm with a Los Angeles based branch.
The idea behind the hilariously uninhibited YouTube series, “Zero Button,” is actually a hidden message conceptualized by actors David Mihalka and Stephan Bosch.
“On the TV remote, when you enter the zero button, there is nothing. The message is: the best program is the imagination,” Mihalka said. “That’s what we do! We take our wildest imagination – inspired through real situations – and the result is “Zero Button.”
The sketch comedy series is a riot. Mihalka and Bosch, who co-created the series, star as an assortment of larger than life characters who encounter zany scenarios and predicaments. “It’s like a contract from a lawyer,” Mihalka said. “There are the obvious jokes, but also the fine print, where you have to pay attention to the words and subtle things happening.”
Mihalka often plays gangsters and fools in “Zero Button.” “The challenge lies in not playing a clown,” Mihalka said, “but rather to be serious in the scenes and still funny. That’s the art.”
Bosch described the characters as, “real and imaginary characters under real and imaginary situations. We have no rules at all, and we are not planning on having them.”
The parody series is directed, written and produced by Mihalka and Bosch. It features a load of improv and overall comedic genius.
As to developing ideas for sketches, Mihalka said, “We don’t come up with anything. They come to us! There are so many situations in daily life that are funny. You just exaggerate and let your imagination flow, and you have scene!”
The latest episode – “The Typical Driver” – released Sunday and features Mihalka playing a driver with road rage who gets the favor returned by an angry pedestrian at the end.
Saturday saw the release of “LangWhich,” an episode where Mihalka converses with a passerby at a park who asks Mihalka if he speaks English. “No, I don’t speak English,” Mihalka says in perfect English. “I used to, but no, I don’t like it.” The paradox continues in Spanish, French, German and Sign Language – all of which Mihalka’s character can speak – and ends when the passerby suggests in sign that they have sex, prompting Mihalka to give the guy the middle finger.
There’s episodes where Mihalka plays robbers, thieves, bad guys, a therapist, philosopher and other ambiguous, side-splitting roles.
There are How To episodes such as “How to Solve ALL your Problems” (by drinking a glass of alcohol) and “How to Stop Smoking” that shows Mihalka lighting up a mouthful of cigarettes, then taking a bucket of water to the face.
One episode features an intellectual conversation regarding two percent milk. Another parody is titled “Citizen Pain.” Another shows a Rubik’s cube conundrum called “YouCube?” and there are cultural parodies such as the amusing “Bank of Armenia” episode.
“Our most views and likes are the scenes together with Stephan,” Mihalka said. “We have the same frequency, a good connection. It just works. I can’t explain it.”
The dynamic duo shine on the sketches “Hairdresser,” “Monk,” “Bench,” “Change is Good,” “American Impress,” “How To Solve All Your Problems” and “Pool.”
“If I think about it, David plays a lot of bad guys, which is the opposite of what David really is,” said Bosch, whose other acting credits include “Juventud” and “7 Days” from directors George Blumetti and Maurice Kelly. “He knows what he is good at. His life, plus acting experience, can easily be seen through his performances.”
Mihalka enjoys both current and classic comedy styles including the work of legends such as Steve Martin, Roberto Benigni, Peter Sellers and Jacques Tati.
“What makes something funny is the perception of things,” he said. “For example, recently I have been to a fancy restaurant to make a reservation for a special day. While making a reservation, I noticed behind me many cops with a dog entering the restaurant. They told the dog: ‘Search, Search!’ When I left the restaurant, I told my mum, ‘I know what happened! A guest had a cake with icing sugar, which left traces of sugar under his nose and they thought it was cocaine and called the police!’ A new scene is born.”
No stranger to film and TV, Mihalka, from Germany, has shined on screen in his numerous roles including in the John A. Mati feature Swiss comedies, “Monsieur Brucco” and “Monsieur Brucco 2.” He acted in writer-director Stan Harrington’s “Lost Angels,” which won four awards at the Indie Fest USA International Film Festival, and in Harrington’s four-time-award-winning feature mystery, “Perception.”
Mihalka’s other film and TV roles include in Mickella Simone’s “The WorkPlace,” Alex Lewis’ “Driverless,” director Emilio Ferrari’s “All I Want for Christmas” and “Difficult People” from director Jonathan Moy de Vitry. Theatrically, Mihalka acted in the Stella Adler Los Angeles production of “Margaret,” an original play directed by actor-writer-producer Tim McNeil (“Contact,” “Forrest Gump”).
Mihalka also doubles as a photographer with a premier aesthetic and captivating imagery. Check out his behind the camera work here: www.davidbehindthecamera.com
Currently based out of Vancouver, Canada, Patricia Lagmay is a fashion stylist known for styling leading fashion editorials and esteemed lookbooks and campaigns. Her work with brands spans professional labels such as Priory, Samsung, Wings + Horns, and Aritzia, and her editorial spreads have been published by Hearst Media.
Lagmay spent time both abroad in Canada and locally in Los Angeles, where she was initially drawn to pursue a career in styling. Once just a place of work for Lagmay at the age of nineteen, the renowned stylist was represented by THEY Representation by the time she was twenty-one, and remained with the agency until 2012, when she began working exclusively with Aritzia.
While at Aritzia, she refined her talents and made a significant impact on the brand’s growth and development , with her role becoming more senior as time progressed. Lagmay contributed her innate skills to the retailer until 2015 as a lead stylist on their seasonal lookbooks, campaigns, and eCommerce catalogue. Most recently, for the past year and a half, she’s worked with the clothing line Priory, styling and art directing their Fall ’15, Spring ’16 and Fall ’16 collections.
Throughout her profession and on many occasions, she has established herself as an invaluable asset to the fashion industry. We recently had the chance to sit down with Lagmay and discuss a few of her crowning career highlights, which we’ve outlined in our exclusive, one-on-one interview below.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in the Philippines and lived there until I was 10. My family moved to LA and lived there for six years, and then relocated to Vancouver, where I’ve now lived for the past 11 years.
What inspired you to purse a career in styling?
This is going to sound like a cliché, but I don’t think I had a choice. I’ve been drawn to it since even before I realized it was a career.
What types of platforms does your work span?
My work spans print and digital. I work on editorial stories for varying publications, alongside styling campaigns, lookbooks, and eCommerce for established and emerging brands.
Does your approach to styling differ from one platform to the next?
Print has a longer lead-time whereas digital is more or less immediate. This dictates what season the clothes I choose have to come from so that when the story hits, the clothes are available.
Who are some of the top clients you’ve worked with?
I worked with Aritzia extensively for the last three years. I’ve also worked with Priory, Wings + Horns, Sitka, and Samsung, among others.
In your opinion, what are some of the most important characteristics a stylist can possess?
You really have to love it. The decisions you make as you style won’t make any sense otherwise, since a lot of it is instinctual. You also have to be extremely organized. There are a lot of moving parts to a shoot and it takes a healthy dose of OCD to get everything done.
How do you try to incorporate those qualities into your own styling?
I make sure to listen to my instincts. There can be a lot of cooks in the kitchen at times, and paired with the number of trends that arise every season, it’s easy to get caught up in styling to please the whole team. But as the stylist on set, you’ve been hired for your taste and opinion, so it’s important to know when to stick to your guns. As for being organized, I’m definitely a bit OCD so that part comes naturally!
Your journey with THEY Representation is a fascinating one. What was your first role with them?
I started out as an intern when I was 19 and eventually became the Head Booker and Marketing Manager, handling all bookings for the artists, dealing with production, and managing the agency’s brand. After a couple of years I was ready to move on from my role. Since I’d already been styling my own shoots, THEY’s owner and agent suggested that I jump over to the artist side instead and become a represented stylist on their roster.
What about your time working with Aritzia? You were a stylist there for over three years. What were your main roles? Did your roles change as time went on?
The areas of the business that I worked on more or less remained the same, but my involvement with each of them progressed as the years went on. I worked on the brand’s seasonal lookbooks and campaigns, alongside styling (and often art directing) their extensive eCommerce catalogue.
With Priory, how do your roles as a stylist and as an art director differ from one another? Similarly, how do they complement one another?
Technically speaking, a stylist is someone who deals primarily with the clothing—choosing which pieces to use, putting the looks together, and ensuring they look good on the model. An art director is someone who deals with all the creative facets of a shoot—from the photography, to the styling, to the hair and makeup, to the casting, all the way down to the posing. I find it difficult to not have an opinion on all of those different areas since each of them greatly impacts the final images. I can bring the best clothes in, but if what I have doesn’t work with what the hair stylist has chosen, or vice versa, it really doesn’t matter. In that sense, styling and art directing are very intertwined.
Tell us a little bit about the Samsung commercial you worked on. Who did you collaborate with? What brands were incorporated into the shoot?
Samsung was looking to change their creative tonality and this commercial was their first step in that direction. We had an amazing international crew—the director and producers had flown in from Copenhagen, the clients from Seoul, the talent from the U.S. and Europe. My goal, along with everyone else’s, was to bring a sense of authenticity to the characters. To do this, I pulled from a variety of sources—from vintage stores to more contemporary brands such as Reigning Champ.
What has been your most challenging project thus far, and how did successfully completing it help you grow as a stylist?
Each project’s been challenging in it’s own way so it’s hard to choose. Some have been a challenge from a creative perspective, some from a budget perspective. They’ve all worked out regardless, so I try to keep that in mind whenever I’m faced with another hiccup.
What is one thing that people on the outside of the fashion industry would never suspect about being a stylist?
There are just as many unglamorous parts to the job as there are glamorous ones, if not more. From taping shoes, to dealing with customs, to trying anything to get a stain off of a garment – the list goes on.
Why is having a stylist so important?
When it comes to shooting a brand’s lookbook or campaign, a stylist brings an important level of objectivity to the set. That outsider’s perspective combined with the designer’s vision is what brings the collection to life. A stylist also knows how to make the clothes look their best for the camera—which requires more trickery than you’d think.
Can you elaborate on a favorite project or two that you’ve worked on?
My favorite part is the mix of it all so I definitely can’t choose just one. Working on varying projects is what keeps the next one as interesting as the last.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
It can come from anywhere—runway, the old lady walking down the street, a recent film, old editorials.
What are your personal hobbies and interests outside of styling?
Eating. Good meals with good friends and I am a happy camper.
How would you describe your own sense of style and fashion when it comes to your own wardrobe?
I definitely have a uniform. Lots of nude, black, and navy, and not a whole lot of anything else.
What brands do you aspire to one day work with?
The Row, Celine, and Protagonist.
What brand or client is up next on your agenda that you’ll be styling?
I don’t like to count my eggs before they hatch, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
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