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Lucinda Chambers' Top 5 Tips for Success

As the renowned stylist begins a new chapter with the release of Coleville, an eclectic luxury womenswear label she co-designs, BoF shares her tips for starting out, starting over and staying true to yourself — learnt over a four-decade career at Vogue, Elle and Marni.
  • BoF Team

Fashion Styling and Image Making is Lucinda Chambers' online course for aspiring stylists, teaching you how to develop concepts and research; organise shoots; work between editorial and commercial clients; and develop a dynamic portfolio that will help getting that elusive foot in the door. To view the full online Fashion Styling and Image Making course, click here.

LONDON, United Kingdom — Having cut her teeth at British Vogue under legendary editor Beatrix Miller, before becoming Grace Coddington's assistant — then fashion director at Elle — and returning to British Vogue as creative director, Lucinda Chambers is one of fashion's most respected stylists.

Over her 37 years in fashion, she has worked with some of the industry's most esteemed photographers including Patrick Demarchelier, Nick Knight and Paolo Roversi, as well as leading fashion houses like Marni, Prada, Jil Sander and Chanel, defining and honing the skills it takes to become a great stylist. In 2018, she launched a new project, an eclectic luxury womenswear label Coleville, created with veteran Marni design directors Molly Molloy and Kristin Forss.

Lucinda Chambers is an ideal guide for aspiring stylists, and her self-directed course is available to anyone around the world on BoF. "I hope people take away a feeling and a sense that it's completely doable, that styling isn't something that's remote and beyond your reach. It's something that is a craft that can be learnt and if you have passion, it's completely achievable," she says.

Here, she shares her five tips for success.

Take your time

“When you’re thinking about the sort of stylist you want to be — creating your own identity, what your vision is, what your worldview is — I don’t think you have to decide that too quickly. A stylist’s job, I would say, is to really ignite and inspire. But originally what you’re doing is you are selling. It can be the craziest, slimmest, tiniest magical little germ of an idea, or it can be a great big huge whopping idea that you want to convey. But it’s an idea that comes out of something, whether it’s out of your head or out of the catwalk.”

Collaboration is key

“Our job is to collate that information, to interpret that information, and then to inspire the people that will make that information come alive in terms of a picture. Collaboration is absolutely key because what you’re doing right from the beginning. When you forge those collaborations that always inevitably turn, thank goodness, into friendships, then they’re the people that you keep by your side. And no, of course you don’t know how talented they’re going to turn out to be, but you kind of get a sense, a nose for people, when you’re exchanging ideas, when you’re telling each other stories, about their vision. And even if it’s very, very different from yours, that’s a good thing. It’s always good to have different opinions. But you have to have the ability to listen.”

To find out more, click the image above.

Understand the DNA of your clients to inspire them

"Often a job of a stylist, particularly if you go into a fashion house, or you’re doing a fashion show, is to really feel that you can get into the DNA of the soul of the company you’re working for and really empower the people there to make them feel more ambitious, more creative, more inspired and more confident than when you first walked in. And I think that’s a wonderful thing that you can give to people and I think that’s a great responsibility of a stylist and it’s a highly, highly enjoyable one."

Communication, communication, communication

"You have to be a good communicator. The first thing you do when you go on a shoot is lay out your stall, but way before that you pick up the phone or you do an email. Usually I would pick up the phone, and you talk to the photographer that you want to execute your idea, that you may have had two months ago that you’ve been working on, in order to get to that point where you’re saying, “Come with me. Buy into this idea, come on this journey.”

Be decisive, but don’t dismiss anything

"With so much choice out there, how on earth do you decide on the trend, or the set of pictures, or the girl or the photographer — how do you make those decisions? That all, I have to say, does come in time. However, you must never dismiss anything. And don’t think that if you are really good at one thing you can’t do another. When opportunities come your way, you can take them on. You can enjoy it, or not enjoy the experience, and either develop that experience into a different skillset or not."

"It’s a whole new world out there. So, there are lots and lots of different types of jobs that stylists can do. And they’re all very different and they all feed into a very different skillset. But you can decide to do whichever really suits your personality and your talent."

To view the full online Fashion Styling and Image Making course, click here

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