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CategoryAll posts under‘Fashion Week‘

My Life as a Fashion Maven

I am a fashion maven. Not a stylist, not a consultant, but a maven. 

The definition of maven reads as follows: One who is experienced or knowledgable in a specific subject; an expert or a connoisseur. After years of being a fashion stylist, I realized that what I now did was much more than that. The goal of my current business is not just to dress people, but to teach them how to do it on their own through my expertise. I have gathered a ridiculous amount of information in my almost 15 years of running this business and nothing gives me more joy then sharing my absurd knowledge with the masses.

 amycloset

 

My career has seen many twists and turns. At this point I literally think I have seen and done it all. People always ask me how I got into this business, how I maintain my client list, so on and so forth. I decided it was time to tell the story, to answer all of the questions about this crazy career that I essentially decided to get into with no formal training or experience. When you are 23 and you decide you want to do something, you do it. You have no fear of failing and the unknown is everything, so how can it be scary? You have no stability in life yet so instability is your norm. That is the best way to start a business my friends, with no back-up plan so you have no choice but to succeed.

Firstly I had to decide who and what I was about. I thought I was going to be a photo shoot stylist. I had moved to Chicago after college in Boston with NO connections, but isn’t that what Google is for? I literally sat at my computer and looked up fashion stylists and asked for advice or opportunities. Chi-town peeps are good people so they actually responded to me. I was introduced to an agent who would go on to represent me for commercial work. This proved to be a great introduction, but let me be clear, in all my years of photo shoot styling it barely added up to paying my rent. It is grueling work that always seems to be “for your portfolio”. Unfortunately that does not feed me (my stomach or my shopping habit).

 

 

sketches

 

Although I literally made no money, the beauty of that connection is that my lovely agent went over to Harpo (that’s Oprah’s production company for those that live in a hole). Remember, I was in Chicago at the time where she was filming her show. I got an amazing call from my former agent one day asking if I wanted to come to Oprah’s studios and meet a senior producer about doing “behind the scenes makeovers”. Um, yes please. When I arrived, the producer asked if I worked with individuals and I said yes. I figured it was a little white lie since that didn’t seem too far out of my wheelhouse even though I had never officially done it before. And voila, my first personal client was born.

This was a whole new world to me. Now I didn’t have to rely on an agent to call me with a job, I could build my own business with personal clients. First up, branding. I had to create a logo for my business so I began to question who I wanted to target. I had to build a website (Ok, I hired someone to do it) and start marketing the hell out of myself. My original logo included the girl to the right who obviously was an image created in my likeness. I grew to hate this bitch. Why is she so damn perky?? Eventually I re-did my branding years later and switched to a more sophisticated fashion sketch. I am SO sophisticated yo.

My Life As a Stylist collage

 

Photo shoots were mostly a thing of the past, but I did enjoy doing them every now and then while I was building my business. They looked great on my site and showed off my more creative side since you can really get crazy when you are telling a “fashion story”. That gal on the top left is from one of my early shoots. WTF. Why did I wrap tulle around her waist and put a dirty white trench coat on her? Was this story about ugly dressing? Ah, live and learn. But hey, I got to style Kate Moss. Yup, that is definitely the one and only supermodel Kate Moss in the top right shot. Ok, I was actually the assistant on that shoot, but it was one of the most surreal moments of my life. She was nice as hell and running around naked because she doesn’t give a shit. She was super friendly and I still have a girl crush on her. The rest of the images are from one of many magazine spreads I did much later in my career. When you are in NYC you have access to everything fabulous so you can really go all out with the styling. As much as I love doing shoots, they really pay jack shit and the amount of work is cray. I am too old and too materialistic to work for donuts.

 

by sign

One of my favorite thing to do is host fashion events. This one was at a Bloomingdales in Short Hills, NJ. As you can see, my face is on that poster. I am sure you can imagine this was highly entertaining for me. For this particular event I was literally just walking around assisting customers with styling possible purchases. Seriously, it was great! You get paid very well for them to basically use your name and image to promote an event. I have also hosted fashion shows at Macy’s before which is WAY more work. Showing up and smiling is one thing, putting together 20 looks for a runway show is an entirely different beast.

 

How I became a stylist 7

 

Over the years I have gone on television a bunch of times. Sometimes I am just commentating on trends or awards show style and other times I am pushing products that someone has paid me to do. I’ve got to be honest, there is good money in product pushing, but talking about bad fashion on a red carpet gives me a certain kind of high. I have also been on not one, but two reality shows. Seriously, I couldn’t make that up. The picture above is from a segment on Arise 360 I did with a fellow cast member from a show called Million Dollar Shoppers on Lifetime. It was crazy. Filming that show took years off my life. People think being on a television show is the most glamorous thing in the world, but I have never worked harder on anything in my life. You never stop working in production, the hours are insane. The glamour of it after the fact is definitely fun, but the journey to red carpet arrival is like climbing a mountain. A really big mountain.

 SassNStyleworkshop

 

In addition to hosting events, I also do Sass N Style workshops. This is the biggest one I ever did with 250 people in attendance. I had 2 models, a man and a woman, that I styled to showcase the concepts I was highlighting. I LOVE talking about style to large audiences, both men and women, of all different shapes, sizes, lifestyles and socio-economic backgrounds. Everyone gains something different from attending and leaves with a better sense of understanding their body and how to dress it. It truly is the best feeling when attendees reach out to me after the workshop to tell me how it has affected their confidence. It is the reason I do what I do, it is why I now call myself a maven!

 

Styling:reality show

As I mentioned, I do love the glamorous part of my job. I am mostly running around in the trenches, but on occasion, I do get to be in front of the camera or walk a red carpet. The picture on the left is from the first reality show I did with Tommy Hilfiger on CBS called “The Cut”. How funny do I look? That picture never looked like me, I am not a pouty kind of gal. It was my press shot that didn’t get much airtime since I was kicked off first. Oh yea, I lasted 5 days before I was sent to no-where New Jersey to rot away in a hotel. Note to readers: If you are on a competition reality show you are not allowed to go home when you get kicked off. You are sent to a far off place until filming is done. That is where all the crazy happens because you start to lose your mind and every 3 days another reality show loser shows up. That is a whole other very insane blog post…. The image to the right is a truly happy moment. I was all dolled up and on a very real red carpet for Million Dollar Shoppers in a fancy dress (that I returned the next day). No one ever actually owns the dresses they wear on the red carpet!

Fashion styling is hard work for the most part, you are lugging things, up long hours, killing yourself physically and smiling for your clients at the same time. With that said, imagining myself in a cubicle or doing a “regular job” seems insane. I realized early on in my career based life that I was going to live a life outside of the box, that my creativity was going to be the driving force behind my life. Don’t ever let society tell you what you can do, be the master of your own journey.

NYC Fashion’s Night Out

Fashion’s Night Out in New York City was amazing, per usual. The entire city turns into a runway with an open bar. Every retail store is trying to out-do the next, so the parties are bigger and better with flowing, free alcohol (and sometimes food!).

 

 

 

 

The best part is the fashion. It is a great excuse (not like NY’ers need one) to put on your most fabulous outfit. I decided to do a pin-up girl ghetto fab look. I always need a theme. I wore an All Saints dress (purchased for $40 at my favorite consignment store) and a DVF belt. My layering piece was a royal blue jacket by Plastic Island ( bought on sale of course) and my Vince Camuto bag. I loaded on gold jewelry, all thrift except for my real gold hoops. The topper was my vintage leopard scarf and crocodile purse from Rome with my Pour La Victoire black pumps.

WIN Fashion Week Tickets

Enter SassnStyle FASHION WEEK Twitter Contest, and you’ll have the chance to win 2 tickets to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week FW11!!

Hosted by fashion photographer Meagan Cignoli and fashion stylist Amy Salinger.
 

CONTEST GUIDELINES:

1. Send a picture of your favorite personal look to Twitter account @MeaganCignoli (using TwitPic, YFrog, etc.) of you in your favorite outfit. Make sure to add #fashionphotographer to the Tweet.
2. We’ll upload the top 5 photos to visualcountry.tumblr.com and Amy Salinger’s blog www.sassnstyle.com.
3. Your entry must be submitted online between 9:01 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) on February 7th, 2011 and 11:59 p.m. PST on Feb 9 2011. Yes, you only have 3 days!
4. Winners will be chosen by a Meagan Cignoli and Amy Salinger and will be announced on Thursday Feb 10th at 9 am.
 
SassnStyle Twitter Contest Winner must provide own transportation to show.
 
Please, no images wearing fur.

Carmelita Couture: Funky Designer






I was truly lucky when I found this designer. Carmelita Couture has the funkiest, quirkiest, sexiest design aesthetic I have seen in a long time. The best part about her clothing? The fact that you can rock out a bit without leaving your comfort zone.

Fashion week was not only about the actual runway shows themselves, but about the people attending that were walking their own personal runways. Of course I had to not only be included in this “real person” fashion show, I had to be the best:) To be the best, you have to borrow clothing from the best. I utilized my stylist hat to pull every single outfit I wore. Everyone that I met thought it was hysterical that I was a one woman walking store. Everything I had on was for sale and my big mouth was going to let everyone know!

Carmelita was kind enough to ship a few fabulous frocks to me overnight because I was running out of options! I knew wearing one of her creations would definitely make me stand out (in a good way!). The last day of fashion week I decided to push the envelope (for my comfort zone) a little bit. Now, no one ever said that I wasn’t partial to a jumper, but wearing one in fuchsia and red was a bit of a leap for me. My roommate let me know when I tried it on at home that I looked like a very stylish character in Austin Powers. I said thank you and started making decisions about how to do my hair and makeup…. The greatest compliment I got was that I could have been in a fashion show circus. And guess what? I was already under the big tent and this is the biggest fashion show on earth so I felt I hit the nail on the head!!! Go me and go Carmelita. How perfectly did this jumper fit me? It was crazy because it could have been so wrong and yet it was SO right! Love it. Let’s not forget to give a quick shout out to my handsome friend, editor and owner of TheFashionWalk.com, Keeniun.

And here we have my “sexy secretary with a funky fashion week twist” look. I like to get very specific when I am creating fabulous ensembles! Working 12 hour days interviewing people was hard enough, but preparing for my head to toe overhaul might have been harder! It usually takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to get ready on a normal day. I was giving myself at least an hour and a half during fashion week. I was my own fashion stylist, hair person and makeup person. For those of you not in the industry, it is VERY difficult to be camera ready for 12 hours when you are the one doing everything! When asked what was the most difficult part about fashion week, that was always my answer. It sounds crazy, but it is very tiring to constantly make sure your hair is in place, you are not shiny and your lipstick is properly applied. I am working on my entourage so I can stop complaining about this. Oh, the difficulties of my job:) Please see the ridiculousness of this statement…..

Check out www.CarmelitaCouture.com!!!

More NYC Fashion Week!

So it is the last day and I am very happy and very sad at the same time. I don’t think I could handle another day, but it is truly one of the most fabulous weeks I have ever had! I have seen and interviewed more amazing people than I ever have in my life. It really seems like everybody has some fabulous job that I stand next to. Yesterday I met the director of design from Spanx and I went crazy. The other day I sat next to the fashion editor for In Style Mexico. It is the most networking I have ever done in my life. I have a stack of cards to get through once all of this madness is over….

Just for fun, here is a list of celebrities I have either interviewed or seen: Brooke Shields, Tim Gunn, Kim Kardashian, Whitney, Erin, Olivia and Joe Z from “The City”, Katie Lee Joel, Christina Hendricks, Michael Douglas, Donald Trump and Melania, Kristen Bell, Sophia Bush, Michelle Trachtenberg, Rashida Jones, Mena Suvari, Robert Verdi, Rachel Zoe and Brad, Zoe Salanda, Kelly Osborne, Nicole Murphy, Kelly Bensimon, Bethany Fankel, Jill Zarin and Romona from “The Real Housewives of NYC”, Gail from “Top Chef”, Carmen Elektra and many more….. Ok, enough name dropping. Here are the newest pics: