Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ian Bradley: The Man Who Will Dress The World

The first time I met this young fashion stylist I was waiting in a line and trying to get in one the best (if not “The Best”) clubs of Gotham: Le Bain. Those who party hard in the Big Apple know the face, and most of the time the name, of this talented and brilliant character that is Ian Bradley.

Besides being “the face” of this NYC hot spot, Ian is also a fashion stylist whose notoriety is growing every day a little bit more to the extent that I could bet with you that he will very soon become a major figure of the fashion scene.

Ian has an innate sense of style.  When he was four, he once said to his teacher that she should change her shoes because the ones she was wearing did not match her outfit.  How cute? Now his style speaks for itself.

Ian has been styling since his childhood. First, for two of his biggest fans: his grandmother and his mother. Later, for mass-market brands amongst which the trendy Japanese brand Uniqlo, Levi’s and Adidas.

Small talk with Ian Bradley.

Alda Mori: Ian, 2011 is over and 2012 has just begun. So, what did you learn in 2011?

Ian Bradley: Although I have been working really hard over the past years both styling and doing the door, I truly realized in 2011 that hard work is paid off and pays off.

A. M.: And what do you expect to learn in 2012?

I. B.: I could enjoy some business classes and learn to be business savvy.

A.M.: Tell us a little bit more about you and your debut in the fashion world.

I.B.: I left Washington D.C. for New York City when I was 18 years old to study fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.). Soon after my arrival, I started attending a lot of downtown parties. At the age of 19, and while I was still studying, one of my friends once asked me to cover for him at the door of the Lit Bar. I needed money so I thought why not. Some time later, the doorman of the Misshapes gigs, who heard about my performance, asked me to cover for him while he was out of town. After that, the word spread and the next thing I knew I was doing the door for the 205, then the Webster Hall and eventually Le Bain.

A.M.: How did your door activity help your fashion styling aspirations?

I.B.: I got my first big styling gig with one of POP magazine’s stylist after Katy Grand’s former assistant found me at a party I worked at. It is this first eight-month experience that really got my feet into high fashion styling. Of course, styling and doing the door nest a lot. I met many up and coming designers like Alexander Wang but also many friends who ended up filing editor positions in magazines and calling me for styling.

A.M.: Who did you style for?

I.B.: I mainly work for Uniqlo and frequently contribute to Vice Magazine and Fader Magazine. In the past, not only did I style for random publications and cosmetics ads, but I also had the great opportunity to work with Levi’s.

A.M.: Where do you find your inspiration?

I.B.: My primary source of inspiration is my close circle of friends. Some of them don’t even think they are fashionable. I feel however truly inspired by certain things they do such as the way they tie their sweatshirt while dancing like they don’t care. Then, I leave in the greatest city. That helps a lot finding inspiration. For instance, a 70 year-old woman walking in the street with a crazy headscarf will inspire me. A 5 year-old who buttoned his jacket wrong will also inspire me because it looks really cool. I focus on originality, as I want to avoid the déjà vu. I therefore reference National Geographic and old magazines such as Life Magazine instead of anything current that would be redundant.

A.M.: Who would you love to style for in the future?

I.B.: I like mass fashion but I also like minimalism. So obviously, I would love to create, style and direct for a company such as GAP, which to me has the potential to be an A.P.C. for the mass, minimal and classy, selling good sweaters and good jeans. If you take a look at GAP commercials in the mid-90’s, the way they were casted, you will understand what I mean. It is just white button up jeans but still it is minimal and clean. Of course, I would not turn down an offer from Levi’s. These are two strong American brands I would really enjoy to work for.

A.M.: What was your best photo shoot?

I.B.: I had many good experiences since I started in this industry but the best one, which is very recent, was for an Adidas video. I have known the video director, Gordon Hull, forever and some of the models were my friends. The photographer assigned to this job was young. I had never met him before. In the end, it was simply a good creative team, full of energy, who did an amazing job while having lots of fun.

A.M.: And the worst?

I.B.: My worst photo shoot dates back to my first job as an assistant. We were shooting in a park, in the middle of summer. The location was about a mile and a half away from the stylist’s apartment. So I had to bike, back and forth, every time the stylist forgot something and obviously he kept forgetting things. That day, braving the summer heat, I made six trips on his bike with him calling me and telling me “I need this now!”. Since that was my first shoot I thought they were all going to be like that.  Fortunately, experience proved me wrong. Still, it was a blessing that my first photo shoot was that awful because it made everything look fine after that.

A.M.: What can one wish you for the years to come?

I.B.: Without any hesitation, to become a creative director for a mass apparel clothing company. I want to dress everybody, not just fashionistas. I want 8 year-old to see a commercial and whish to dress like that. But I also want a 50 year-old lady from Park Avenue to feel the irresistible urge to buy all those T-shirts. I want to conquer the world. I want to dress the world!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Eve Rapture

Blondie - Top of the Standard
2012 New Year's Eve Party

When I was a kid, I used to spend my summer holidays in the north of Portugal. Our house was located in a small village inhabited mainly by old people. You can easily guess how dreary my summers were, until one year I found an unsuspected treasure in my parent's room: a record player and a box full of 45 tours records.

I bargained with my parents (I cried and screamed until they agreed) and took my new toy to my room.  I spent that all day dancing and singing yogurt Modern Talking. The following day, after breaking my parents' ears screaming "Oh macumba, macumba, elle danse tous les soirs"*, I came across a gem: a Blondie disk!

I simply fell in love with Heart of Glass and the charismatic slutty version of Barbie on the cover and played the same song all over again until the end of the summer. I remember looking at the cover and stealing make-up in my mother's room to try to look like Debbie Harry.

Until last week, I always dreamt of seeing the woman whose image and voice had turn that tedious summer into a rock'n roll holiday, that icon whose style remains to me so inspiring.

Well, I eventually realized my dream on the new year's eve. Blondie performed a short concert at the Top of the Standard and I was there. And I saw her. 

She sang Rapture.

And I sang in her microphone, for a second when she sang New York, New York. And I felt like the little girl that I was, a little thing full of dreams and faith in the future, in my future.

Alda Mori

*Macumba by Jean-Pierre Madère