Perth Fashion Stylist
We spoke about all things style with fledgling Perth based fashion stylist, Lilly Smeulders.
How did you find/discover your passion for fashion?
I’ve always had a strong interest in clothes, and putting pieces together to create new looks. My mum instilled a love of second-hand shopping in me, and that’s definitely something I still carry with me today – half my closet is thrifted!
My fashion stylist career kicked off when I did an internship with a local Perth fashion collective last year. When the internship ended I felt a bit lost as to where I could continue this line of work. I decided to branch out on my own by contacting local models, hair stylists, makeup artists and photographers. My styling has just grown from there! I now get booked by other creatives to style shoots, and organise my own shoots with local designers to showcase their pieces.
What is your process when styling new clients?
I don’t do a whole lot of personal styling where I style individual clients for everyday looks. However, I do have a pretty thorough process when planning a photo shoot. I start by coming up with a concept, where my inspiration often comes from magazines, Pinterest and content that other creatives have developed. Next, I try and look for a designer whose garments complement the concept as well as a model whose look works with the mood of the shoot. I have a team of hair stylists, makeup artists and photographers that I tend to work with so I’ll confirm availability with my team and then we go from there! It’s really important to me that I try and utilise local or up-and-coming designers when I can to give them the exposure they might need to bring audiences to their label.
What item of clothing do you wear most often?
I have this linen dress from Zara that I wore non-stop over the summer months. It was just so versatile – I could wear it slightly unbuttoned with sneakers for a casual everyday look, or fully buttoned up with heels for meetings or more formal events. Now that the weather has been getting cooler, I’m obsessed with this cashmere/silk blend turtleneck sweater I bought at a thrift store a month or so ago as well as a pair of cream corduroy wide leg pants!
Who are your favourite designers who never disappoint?
One of my favourite designers would have to be Copenhagen label Cecilie Bahnsen – her dresses are so girly and pretty. The sculptural silhouettes of her pieces – especially the puff sleeves, tiered skirts and lace-up details are so beautiful and it’s clear that there is so much attention to detail in the design process.
How would you describe your signature look?
I think that my signature look definitely depends on my mood and the weather. I’ve been wearing a lot of full neutral pieces recently, as I love how classic and minimalistic the look is. I do love little dresses and skirts too, which I will be wearing plenty of when I venture off to Europe in a few weeks!
In a nutshell, I would describe my signature look as minimalistic, feminine and classic.
What are some of your favourite trends this season?
My absolute favourite trend of this season would be the comeback of the 90s style underarm bags! I love a lot of trends that were popular in the 90s, however this would have to be one of my favourites. Clichéd, but I’m also a sucker for animal print as leopard print is basically a neutral at this point. However, I’m trying to go further than just classic leopard and snake print by adding more faux croc bags/shoes and pieces in zebra or cow print to my collection. As for shoes, I’m a huge fan of ‘floss’ sandals from the spring/summer season just gone – they’re so easy to wear and go with everything.
Describe your ‘I’ made it moment?
To be honest, I don’t think I’ve had my ‘I made it’ moment yet. I do get this incredible feeling of success and joy when I’m on set and in the middle of shooting – I think I tell my makeup artist “this is by far the best shoot I’ve ever done” at every shoot we do!! When I get contacted for interviews or for collaborations with other creatives I feel a huge burst of pride, so that’s definitely up there with one of the best parts of my job.
Who is your fashion icon?
I admire Audrey Hepburn so much – I think she’s so elegant, and her style is so timeless and feminine. Every look of hers appears so effortless, yet so well put together at the same time. Alexa Chung is also a major style icon of mine, as she tends to incorporate classic pieces into her looks, yet always manages to be on trend and fashion forward.
For everyday inspiration, I look to fashion bloggers like @sophiaroe and Lizzy Hadfield from @shotfromthestreet – both of these women have such classic, minimalistic style. Whenever I’m stuck and can’t pick an outfit, I quickly stalk both of their Instagram pages!
If you weren’t a fashion stylist, what would you be doing?
I’m currently in my second year of study at the University of Western Australia, with my first major being marketing and my second major being psychology. My goal is to graduate university and continue doing styling, however, if that falls through I’d love to work somewhere else in the fashion industry, maybe in event management, publicity or visual merchandising for retailers.
The fashion industry changes rapidly, what’s your best advice to someone wanting to pursue a career as a fashion stylist?
My best advice would be to get as much experience as possible. When I first started out I googled every fashion stylist that worked in Perth, found their contact details and emailed every single one of them asking to assist them on shoots. I found other up and coming creatives and asked them out for coffee so I could pick their brains about the industry. Once I established myself with other creatives, I started organising my first shoots which featured any piece I deemed stylish from my own, my mum’s and my sister’s wardrobe. I feel like I’ve grown so much since I first started out, but its all thanks to the hard work that I put in. Having as much experience as possible will definitely help when trying to pursue a career in styling.
Follow Lilly Smeulders’ styling journey and check out latest shoots on her Instagram.
# Lilly Smeulders
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