Saturday, December 5, 2009

L'Armoire du Styliste

Beagy2When I met Beagy Zielinski recently at the Paper Magazine/Adidas party and she told me about L'Armoire du Styliste, I was utterly intrigued and wanted to learn more about this haute couture rental studio and the woman behind
KATYA Did you start out as a stylist?
BEAGY I started out as a stylist and I’m still styling. First I was in design and merchandising and then a bunch of friends and I started a magazine called SLY and just out of…lack of funding in the beginning – we just had to do it ourselves and so I began doing all the shoots and found that I really enjoyed it. And it grew from there and other people started asking me to style for them and I was doing this for free as a hobby and then realized I could be charging for it!
KATYA So what is L’Armoire du Styliste?
BEAGY This is a clothing rental showroom. I rent clothing, shoes, and accessories to other stylists for photoshoots, celebrity appearances, concert tours etc.

KATYA Is this a common thing?
BEAGY There actually are a few of them in the industry. None of us alike, and what I specialize in there is none other in the United States. I specialize in couture and new designers. Most of the new designers that I carry do not have any other representation in the U.S. so I’m the only place you can get these samples.

KATYA Wow! How do you find them?
BEAGY It’s kind of a hobby of mine! A lot of them come from the Royal College (in Belgium), a lot of these are graduate collections, believe it or not! I feel like the collections abroad are pushed more to make art in school, while here we’re pushed more to make wearable garments. And that’s the difference. I don’t steer away from US designers, if there’s a designer who can, you know, hang with these designers I absolutely will represent them and I do have a few designers from the US. It just so happens that the designers abroad just have this wild imagination to them and, I don’t know I find them everywhere – I have friends acting as lookouts all over the world. I used to live in Europe so my friends from there will send me photos of collections or blogger friends will send me information and if I like it I’ll get the designer’s contact information immediately.

KATYA That sounds like fun, actually.
BEAGY It is! It’s like a scavenger hunt around the world for the best, coolest design!(going over to the clothing)This is one of my current favorite designers. Her name is Eva NyĆ­ri and she’s from Hungary and I don’t even begin to know how her brain works. She’s a young designer. This is her first collection. She’s not represented or sold anywhere else…and there are a few other pieces mixed in here...

KATYA So how did you find Eva?
BEAGY Eva, I found on Facebook!

KATYA Shut up.
BEAGY I find these people on Facebook. I have a ton of Facebook friends and this is partially why. I like to scavenge through my Facebook friends and Eva came to me by sending me a message “I heard about your showroom and think it’s really cool” and I looked at her photos and said “I think you’re really cool and I’d love to carry your stuff. And this just came in yesterday.

KATYA How does your showroom work?
BEAGY Well usually a stylist will call me up and tell me what they’re looking for and even send photos of inspiration. For example a stylist came in yesterday and said “I’m going for a futuristic look” and while I was unpacking Eva’s clothes I was thinking “You can’t get more futuristic than this!” The stylist thought it was perfect, asked me for the prices on each piece, I told her and she’s good to go. Because I’m rental it’s really really simple.

And the designer gets the publicity.
BEAGY Correct. I get the rental, the stylist and photographer get great pictures and the designer gets the publicity which means more money for them in the end. I see no reason for this not to benefit everyone in the process.

KATYA And you've been doing this for how long?
BEAGY I just opened in March, this year!
KATYA How has that worked out during a recession?
BEAGY Well, we’re affected like everyone else in the industry. No one gets their regular day rates but I do believe it’s kind of a good time to test out a new business…I can test different ways to do things in a way I couldn’t if it was too busy.

KATYA From your work are you seeing any big trends coming up?
BEAGY I don’t think these are designers that follow trends. These are really seasonless designers. The one big thing right now –which has been around for awhile now- is shoulder pads. Shoulder pads are really in demand. I even have extras lying around for girl’s to rent. But these designers don’t stay on trend because they are couture. They go with their vision. And of course, I don’t only carry new designers, I have well established high end designers as well such Givenchy or Ann Demuelemeester...but I really like to bring out the new designers so they get to shine…because that’s what’s fun!

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