Wardrobe stylist

Brandy Kraft

Lyric Opera Diamond Gala

  I had a great time styling Broadway singer, Jenn Gambatese, for the Chicago Lyric Opera's 60th Anniversary Diamond Gala. Jenn was a special surprise guest singer and serenaded patrons with her rendition of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend". For this styling project I worked with local Chicago designer, Mark Roscoe. We had a fitting for her at Graff Diamonds where we decided on the perfect dress and then the dazzling diamonds to go with it. I decided to give her long black gloves to really set off the diamond jewelry. The night was absolutely incredible and Jenn looked and sounded fantastic! 

Chocolate Turkeys!

Little turkey shaped chocolates were the highlight of my day last week when I did a shoot for the Park Hyatt Chicago. Chef Megan Galus of NoMI restaurant made so many yummy goodies, she had the whole crew drooling (my inner fat kid was very hard to control). The shoot was for the new boutique goods they will be selling this fall- perfect for all those holiday parties coming up! Here's a few delicious shots I took of the treats...

Carolina Herrera SS15

The harsh geometric contours of pattern and fabric juxtaposed against the organic shapes and soft palette of flowers is refreshing and quite simply, gorgeous. Now I just need one of these dresses and a field to frolic in... ;-)

Diamonds Are a Girls' Best Friend

A good friend of mine, Mike Pechonis, had an idea to make a ring that would trump all rings. His vision was a giant diamond on top of brass knuckles. After a few years of tossing the idea around, he finally teamed up with unconventional jeweler, Michael Raymond to make it happen. The result is a show-stopping 180 carat crystal set in 14 brass raccoon penis bones, mounted on a full set of brass knuckles. 

Being the lucky lady I am, Mike kindly let me borrow the ring and I put together a fun photo shoot to highlight the unique piece.

Together with a great team, we took the ring on a little tour around downtown Chicago. The story is about a girl just hanging out with her best friend, AKA giant diamond ring... Enjoy!

Video by Michael Raymond on his creation

On the Verge with Refinery 29

     Good times and great vibes at last night's Refinery 29 event at Neiman Marcus in downtown Chicago. The event was hosted by Liz Schneider of Sequins & Stripes with music from DJ Lani Love. Guests shopped the new collections, sipped summer inspired cocktails, and smiled for the pop-up photo booth. In short, awesome time, yummy goodie bags and a significant amount of damage to the Amex...

Photos: Heather Talbert

Chicago Magazine Green Awards

Recently I had the opportunity to style a few portraits for Chicago magazine and their annual Green Awards. Among the recipients was zoologist, Mary Hennen. Mary is a scientist at the Field Museum and is responsible for setting up a conservation program here in Chicago that helps to raise awareness and protect the city's rare Peregrine falcon population. Per's (as she calls them) have adapted to city life by making their home the ledges of the tall sky scrappers around Chicago. Unlike most other birds, they don't build nests, but make impressions in the stones found on the ledges.

If interested, you can track Peregrine nests in the city and see if there is "Per" in your neighborhood:

http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/illinois-peregrines

Obsessed!!!... Zana Bayne FW14

Magical leather master, Zana Bayne wow-ed crowds with her latest collection which debuted this past week at NYFW.  Basically this woman makes bondage look elegant. (Yes, this is where you bow down). The show was held at the Empire Hotel in the upper west side and styled by William Graper. 

The collection was filled with her signature harnesses and corsets, but being lingerie inspired and appropriately styled, it made a very soft impression. The closing look even stepped into bridal territory... I imagine appealing to a whole new type of Bridezilla! ;-)

Photos: Char Alfonzo

3-D Printed Jewelry

Last week I had a great time shooting the March/April cover for Design Bureau. For the shoot, I borrowed some 3-D printed jewelry from the shop at the MCA. This type of material creation is the very newest technology and it's being used to create everything from handbags and jewelry to full scale houses! Here's a look at a couple of pieces I got to play with.

Artipelag- A new gallery space in the Swedish archipelago

It all started when I got a Baby Björn for Christmas. We were gathered around the Christmas table, taking turns in opening gifts when someone mentioned an art museum in the Stockholm archipelago. Apparently, baby carrier designers, Lillemor and Björn Jakobson, gained so much success from their Baby Björn products that they decided to open a private art exhibition space in the middle of the forrest. And hey, why not? In June 2012, Artipelag was born and a few days ago I had the chance to go check it out. 

Artipelag is founded on 22 acres of land and houses a gallery called Artbox, which boasts 13,000 square­ feet of space and a 39­ foot high ceiling. It’s purpose simple­ to spark interest for and cultivate knowledge of art through programs based on interactive education. The site was designed by architect, Johan Nyrén, together with landscape designers, Bengt Isling and Daniel Ericsson. It’s gently integrated into the encompassing pine forest and as stated by Nyrén, “The building has an organic form, growing out of its conditions on site...” Light spills in through floor­to­ceiling waterfront windows and flows over floors of polished bedrock. It bounces up to high wooden roof beams and back down again into an open cafe full of traditional (and delicious) Swedish pastries. The resulting environment is airy, welcoming and serene. 

Outside, guests can also take a leisurely stroll through the forest along the 800 meter wooden walkway which stretches out to the bay (wheelchair and stroller friendly). Or head up to the “green roof” for some more outstanding views and a winding stone maze. Oh and mom, and if you forget your stroller, just ask and Artipelag will be happy to lend you one of their Baby Björn’s for free. Besides the magnificent views mouth­watering sweets, the artwork is the attraction most come to see. Exhibitions at Artipelag rotate every 3­-4 months and feature everything from photography and design furniture, to light installations and musical performances. 

Currently the exhibition, “Svarta Tavlan” (running through January19th 2014), showcases chalk art from various artists including Tacita Dean and Christian Marclay. The show delves into the concept of the blackboard and its pedagogical use which now seems nostalgic and outdated but displays the strong connection it has maintained with contemporary art. Next up is “The Visible” which will inquire into the last five years in Swedish photography. It will examine the change that has happened in the industry over the last twenty years as well as the steady rise and success of the female photographer. Artipelag is about 20 minutes by car from the city’s center and during the summer, they send out their own passenger boats to shuttle visitors to and from the city. An excellent opportunity to take in some of the surrounding scenery. If you’re in Stockholm or anywhere in the area, this is definitely a spot not to miss! http://www.artipelag.se/en

Break up Shoes...

When life gives you lemons- make lemonade... or in this case, when life gives you ex-girlfriends- make amazing shoes! Sebastien Errazruiz has created an entire shoe collection around 12 of his ex-girlfriends.  As dark a path as you'd think this concept could turn down, it's surprisingly very light-hearted.  The designs are fun, witty, and very well thought out.  Each shoe is based around an ex-lover's character traits, some good (Honey, shoe No.1) and some bad (Gold Digger, shoe No. 3, my fav).

Check out the wearable shoes this year at Art Basel Miami Beach.  The exhibit, "12 shoes for 12 lovers" is on view for from Dec 6- Jan 6 at the pop-up shop for Brazilian shoe brand, Melissa.

Deodorant Double-take!

Last week I had the pleasure of shooting Design Bureau s November/December cover.  In the midst of hunting down the newest and coolest design-y pieces to feature, I came across this: a necklace made out of recycled deodorant rollerballs!  The necklace is super lightweight and sits comfortably on the collarbones. Breaking away from its original function as a practical tool for everyday human hygiene, it's been reborn into a life of luxury with a surprisingly delicate and elegant appearance. And a great way ease your conscience by being good to the environment and recycling!

The necklaces are available for purchase at the MCA Chicago store or directly online on Jet Mous's webshop. 

Genius!

Masked Matriarch

Last year at Art Basel Miami I ran into talented artist, Lucien Shapiro Months later I convinced him to let me borrow a few of his amazing headpieces for a very special photo shoot. 

Lucien makes masks (and weapons) out of urban and relatively unconventional materials like dime bags and bottle caps. The masks are inspired by ancient traditional tribal wear and the results are modern gear fit for the most hardened city dweller. 

Lucien is currently showing his masks ornamented armaments in San Francisco at Guerrero Gallery.

This shoot was a collaboration with a lot of talented creatives and designers. Take a look to see how it turned out! Dark Beauty Magazine featured our editorial in their September issue! Copies can be purchased here: 

http://www.darkbeautymag.com/downloads/issue-24-high-fashion-digital-download/

Masked MatriarchPhoto by Jan Klier

See more in Masked Matriarch

Silk Scarves by Bryony!

Alert! I have fallen completely head-over-heels in LOVE!!! The cause of this burning, raging lust inside me are the amazing silk scarves by LA photographer, Bryony Shearmur

Each scarf is truly, a work of fine art.  The delicate images original photographs Bryony has taken along her travels.  Her new collection is a celebration of nature and features photos taken around the US.  (Though my two favorites are the ones taken in England, River East Sussex and Sussex).

For me I know whether or not I am going to buy something in an instant.  This was no different.  The gorgeous photography and high quality silk charmeuse made this a piece way too good to pass up.  Space 519 at the Shops at Michigan 900 in Chicago have a few of these beauties in stock.

Silk scarves are very light to wear and larger ones like this are extremely versatile.  They can be worn over the shoulders, around the hips, or doubled up at the neck.  In the winter time, they are surprisingly warm and are great at keeping wind off of your ears and neck (my impulse buy was totally practical, you see!) ;-)

Take a look for yourselves and get that credit card ready.  I've already got one and I'm eyeing a second! 

Thanks Bryony for my new love!

Stina- Full Steam Ahead!

Last summer I had a great time working with a beautiful young model named Stina Rapp Wastenson. It was one of her very first shoots (her 3rd officially, I think ) and she was a bit shy. I styled her out in the Stockholm archipelago with photographer, Ingrid Sjödahl, and ended up putting together a gorgeous editorial for Z!NK magazine.  

Nowadays Stina is shooting for Elle Sweden, Vogue Turkey, Vogue Italia Beauty, and shot the Valentino Red spring 2013 campaign with Tim Walker.  She was also seen on the runways for fall 2013 walking for Thakoon, Valentino, Prada, Philip Lim, and Balenciaga. 

I just picked up the latest edition of W magazine and found a few photos of her in one of their feature editorials.  Apparently, a lot can happen in one year! Congrats, Stina!  I can't wait to see how far you get another year from now! ;-)

Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit in Stockholm

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier- From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibit at the Arkitektur Museet in Stockholm was the best show I've ever seen, hands down. Director, Nathalie Bondil, and curator, Thierry-Maxime Liriot, did a fantastic job.

The retrospective boasts over one hundred couture pieces are on display along with their accompanying accessories. The volume, detail and intensity of the show is just astounding. And it's quite easy to get lost in the maze of over the top extravagance that is couture. Iconic pieces on loan from Madonna from several of her 90's tours can be seen on display and next to them you will find the original sketches by JPG. 

Singing mannequins are a super thrill.  Many of the life-sized dolls have real faces projected onto their heads which make them seemingly come alive!  Speakers set up behind each model enable them to sing and engage with passers-by.  One mannequin made in JPG's likeness speaks to the audience in his native French and then again English.  He jokingly asks that we do not make fun of his thick accent.  Elsewhere in the room, a choir of women break into song a various intervals, each vying for your attention.  It's really very entertaining.

The exhibition is divided into six sections, each with its own theme. (The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier, The Boudouir, Skin Deep, Punk Cancan, Urban Jungle, and Metropolis).  As you make your way through the rooms and delve deeper into JPG territory, you really begin to grasp the genius of Gaultier's vision and understand his innovative development.  After over 35 years in the business, the niche he's carved out for himself is quite clear, and his influence is undeniable. 

If you are in Stockholm any time in the near future I would advise a stop at the Arkitektur Museet to see the show which runs through September  2013.  But if not nearby, do not lose heart!  This wonderful spectacle is a traveling show and New York and London are next on the list. 

Design Bureau cover shoot

Last week I had a great time shooting a cover for Design Bureau magazine with photographer, Billy Rood. The theme of the issue is the future of architecture so I had to style the model in a way that looked futuristic and use garments that had strong structural elements.

The issue will be out in October and you will have to wait until then to see the final shot. In the mean time, here's one outfit that didn't make the final cut but still looks great!

Special thanks to Nansen loaning us the Google Glass, it was the perfect touch!

Gold Teeth & Gallery Aesthete!

Last week I had great fun shooting with photographer Billy Rood We shot Guo from Ignite Models at Billy's studio in Chicago. All wardrobe was provided by Gallery Aesthete which is the only boutique in Chicago to exclusively carry a wide range of designer menswear including Raf Simons, Commes Des Garcons and Rick Owens.

My shoots generally revolve around one "piece de resistance" and this time it was a (fake) gold tooth that I picked up in NYC. ;) The model got into character and may have possibly started channeling a Chinese gangster because he looked super sleek and a bit sinister! I can't wait to share the photos with you when they're out.

Special thanks to Gallery Aesthete!

Miami - rainy weather shooting!

Today I had the opportunity to shoot with photographer, Allen Henson, two beautiful models from MC2 and hair and makeup by Casey and Casey from Artists by Timothy Priano. The editorial will run in the July issue of South American womens fashion magazine, Revista Trendy.

It rained the ENTIRE time we were shooting but the crew were troopers and we pushed through it!

We shot at a few different locations around Miami, including the beach, on a dock, in a pool and hotel courtyard. On location shooting is a challenge for me as a stylist because clothing likes to wrinkle when you stuff it into bags and then into the trunk of a car. Studio shooting is definitely a more preferable option since it's easier to control. But every once in a while it's fun to get caught in the rain, loosen the controls and laugh at yourself.

In the end we created some compelling imagery, and built a little character! ;)

Versus Versace Party

Last night I had the honor of attending the Versus Versace party at the Lexington Armory in New York City. The runway show/concert/A-list party was well, if one word were to sum it up- impressive. The show was a kick off for the launch of the Versus collection, a collaborative effort between the Versace line and Irish designer, J.W. Anderson.

New York’s finest fashionistas crowded around and were wooed by musical performances by Angel Haze, Dead Sara, and the adorable nymph, Grimes.

The clothing was a mix of bold graphics and textures with lots of black and white. I noted huge safety pins on the bags and one male model in a little black dress. Punk is definitely back.

But clothing aside, this was a whole body experience. The huge dark room was literally pulsating, as if entering into a different reality. One that vibrates on a different frequency where everyone is really, really ridiculously good looking. There was not only fantastic music, but visuals too. Huge screens projected massive psychedelic graphics. There was a ton of model eye candy, and even a male model riding around on a bike with a twirling rack of handbags attached giving rides to people on the back. There was an open bar with exclusively male model bar tenders, and doughnuts handed out at the end of the night. I have no clue what doughnuts had to do with anything but it did leave the guest with the feeling of full sensory entertainment. Celebrity guests included Heidi Klum, Mena Suvari, Lady Gaga, and I think a couple of Jonas brothers.

DJ Maxwell spun music center stage after the shows were over and the inner raver came out in everyone that was left (me and Chloe Noregaard included). We all danced like crazy peopleon drugs.Did I mention the rave scene is back too?

Below are a few of the highlights. A Versus model modeling new garb, the twirly handbag bike thingy, and me with two adorable Versace models.

Thanks Versus Versace and New York city’s fashion scene for a memorable night.

http://www.versusversace.com/

http://j-w-anderson.co.uk/index.php

Special thanks to Harry Driggs.

Thrift shop

You never know what you are going to find when thrifting, and I suppose that’s part of the allure. This gem doesn’t suit me but it’s perfect for a hair stylist friend of mine in Nyc. I hope she likes it!