Marzia Fossati who styled and told us the story of the Soul Retrieval shoot, very kindly accepted to answer additional questions relating to her job. Marzia lives and works in Milano, Italy. You can see more of Marzia’s work on her portfolio; her agent is Bruna Caldi,
Marzia, you have been a free-lance stylist for seven years now. Explain what you do.
Simply put I conceive and put looks together for photo shoots; this can involve a wide range of things: clothes but also briefing hair stylist and make-up artists, model casting. Often when I say that I’m a stylist, people in Italy think that I design clothes but what I do is completely different.
Yes there is this confusion in Italy, I believe stilista in Italian also means designer. How did you come to do this job?
To succeed as a free-lance stylist you must consider every day is a new beginning. What you have achieved is always less important than what you still have to do.
But let’s start at the beginning. Most of my education took place in Milano, not far from where I grew up. I graduated in Communication Sciences from the Università degli Studi di Milano and then I did a Fashion Editor Master at IED – ISTITUTO EUROPEO DI DESIGN. My first corporate job was as an intern for Condè Nast.
During that time I also worked on my portfolio, realising personal projects and contributing to different magazines. As my portfolio was getting better, consistent and regularly updated, I introduced myself to editors at other magazines, photographers, agencies, labels & brands, basically making people aware of my work.
Do you have a typical working day?
There is no routine in my job – I find it difficult to call what I do a job! – This is one of the reasons I love it.
Every day is different. The shoots and the stories, the people you deal with and the dynamics on sets are never the same. You could differentiate between shooting days and research days. On shooting days you must be fully available to the shoot, either on location or in a studio. Research days are more solitary. There are research days when you work from home, putting ideas and concepts together but also sourcing things and more physical research days, when you have to deal with the actual physical clothes, accessories and props.
How do you look for inspiration and carry out your research?
I try to live with all my windows open and when I find someone I love I try to look throughout his/her windows too.
Do you use the web and how do you use it?
The web has completely changed the way we do research. I don’t have a precise way of carrying out research on the web. I have a random style. The web is useful but I’m still fascinated by printed paper and I need to feed my research with the real world, the virtual one is not enough.
When you work with people, who do you interact with?
A stylist has to be able to work with very different kind of people and personalities.
First of all there is the creative team, the people on the shoot: photographers, make-up artists, hair stylists and models. When you do a commercial shoot there are other people involved: art-directors and/or creatives from the advertising agency; if it is editorial work, there may be art directors and fashion editors from the magazine.
Away from the shoot set, a stylist has to be able to work with brands & labels PR, press-officers and designers. They are deeply involved with the material we produce and often they are the people who commission us.
You also have to deal with agents, Models Agencies’ Bookers and anyone involved with logistics: producers, cloakroom attendants etc…
What qualities are required for doing your job?
I could give you a long listing of skills and qualities that are necessary but in the end I think it’ a matter of Energy and Love, especially if you are free-lance.
What do you find most gratifying in what you do?
I love it every single time a new touching image is created.
I love being creative, playing with ideas and imagine things. For me it is the idea of luxury.
I love those days on sets when everything works to perfection, when the creative energies melt naturally together during the shoot.
I love it when you need wind and the wind is blowing, when you need sun and the sun is shining.
But I also love it when I have to change something I had planned because of a contingency and the end result is better for it.
I just love spending my days like that, with the feeling that I’m doing something some people may see as useless, but that is beautiful.
Anything you do not like in your job!
Having to carry the super-heavy luggage I end up living with.
What do you find most difficult in what you do?
The most difficult thing is being free-lance because it means you have to do a lot of other things not creative at all. I’m talking about administration and accounting but also the logistics, the production etc. The right assistant can change your life!
How do the fashion calendar and the fashion seasons affect your work?
Editorial shooting is very dependent on the fashion seasons. We use the latest collections and the garments available in fashion press-offices to build up editorial stories. Of course we can add vintage pieces but the base is taken from the latest season.
Which advice would you give to someone who would like to go into your line of work?
I would just say: try to live it all, the whole story in a personal way.
Whose work do you admire in your field?
I do admire talented people who go not take too much care of what is in and out at the moment but express themselves in an original way.
Check-out Marzia’s Soul Retreival Story