Friday, 20 December 2013
Spotlight - Mr David Bartlett
Following on from the success of Spotlight posts on the hair stylist Franco Vallelonga and photographer Jonathan Daniel Pryce, I am thrilled to present a new interview with stylist David Bartlett.
David is one of the most high profile stylists in the UK. He has worked with a host of publications, as well as on music videos with Take That and Cheryl Cole. Based in London and working freelance, David has worked with some of the greatest people in the fashion industry. The menswear images that have been created with his input are visually powerful and inspirational.
I have been fortunate enough to steal a few moments from David's busy schedule to ask him some questions on menswear, styling and his background. All of the images used in this post have kindly been reproduced with David's permission.
Interview with David Bartlett
RG: How did you get started as a stylist?
DB: After I left Central Saint Martins, I managed to get an internship at Jack Magazine which had just been launched by James Brown, the ex editor of GQ, and the founder of Loaded Magazine. I worked for around a year under the fashion director William Gilchrist and fashion editor Way Perry before going to assist Isabella Blow. Whilst working with Izzy, and with her help, I started to develop and build my own portfolio.
RG: How would you describe your personal style?
DB: I don't find that the way I dress myself, necessarily has a direct influence on my work. I'm usually found wearing black and at the moment I'm wearing lots of Givenchy. I try to dress smartly enough that the clothes that I wear are suitable for meetings and casual/ flexible enough that I can work in them through the day.
RG: What does a typical day for you involve?
DB: My days can be quite varied. Being freelance, I can be working on any number of things at any given time. I was recently preparing outfits for the Olympic diver Chris Mears to wear whilst attending the Sports Personality of the Year Awards. That involved liaising with various designers, press teams and going to showroom appointments to look at clothing options.
RG: Did you always want to be a stylist?
DB: I always knew I wanted to be in fashion. I went to the London College of Fashion and later Central Saint Martins, to study menswear design. Whilst there, I interned at a number of magazines and I realised that it was styling that I wanted to pursue.
RG: What stylists or individuals influence your work?
DB: Being freelance, and working for editorials on magazines and with celebrities and on music videos etc is great as I get to meet all kinds of creative individuals of influence my work. I love spotting people on the street who have great style and seeing how they put their looks together.
It is interesting to see what other stylists are doing but I try not to focus on any individual in particular. I'm a huge collector of magazines which are useful for referencing, but they are starting to become a problem as the collection is taking up so much space.
I enjoy working with directing duo AlexandLiane whose unique and fun perspective is always inspiring. I've been lucky enough to work with them on a number of occasions including promos for BBC Radio One, a TV advert for Nike/ Footlocker and various music videos.
RG: Who do you admire, style wise?
DB: I think menswear is really exciting at the moment, especially with the success of London Collections: Men. There are so many great designers doing amazing things that there are too many to list. Seeing a show live is always so much more inspiring than seeing a look book or the images online. When I start planning a shoot, I always think of the clothes I've seen at shows first. Although, I always check to see what Raf Simons and Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy are doing.
RG: How do you define great style?
DB: I think style is all about confidence, taking chances with your look but never appearing as though you have tried too hard.
RG: What advice would you give to those that are trying to break into the fashion industry?
DB: Be prepared for long hours, hard work but a great sense of achievement when it all comes together.
RG: You have built quite a portfolio in video, print and with celebrities. What can we expect from you in the future?
DB: I am hoping to continue working in all these different mediums as well as adding exciting new clients.
RG: Tell me about the team that you work with and their talent and experience.
DB: Depending on the job, the team can change. I always like working with new people as they bring new perspectives and ideas, and it is always great to meet new people in the industry.
Equally, when working with the same creative teams (photographer/ hair/ make up) it is always good as we know each other's styles.
RG: What is it about you that sets you apart from other stylists?
DB: I think each stylist has their own stylist. My background in menswear and love of fashion has influenced my own approach.
RG: What are your style tips for next season? Are there any brands in particular that we should look out for?
DB: I really loved the SS14 presentation that Hardy Amies put on at the top of the Gherkin during LC:M and in particular their use of colour, especially orange. It was a great example of Savile Row at the top of their game. I'm really excited by the new treatments and rubber soles that Grenson shoes are doing for Spring/ Summer.
RG: And finally, what makes a rakish gent?
DB: A unique and personal approach to life.
I would like to personally thank David for his time and for being so accommodating. I have found his answers to be incredibly honest, insightful and inspirational as a success story in the fashion industry, at the top of the menswear game.
Check out David's website at David Bartlett.