For my second blog interview of the year I spoke to Art Director and Stylist Romaine Lillie about her career. She started out at Elle in the early 90s, and has since then her work has appeared in top publications such as Italian Vogue, Marie Claire, Russian Vogue, Nylon and the Sunday Times. Her illustrious client list includes Nike, Toyshop, Harvey Nichols, Warehouse and Hermes. She has made the transition from Stylist to Art Director over the past five years and recent projects include Next and Miss Selfridge.
At what point did you decide to become a stylist/get interested in fashion? Were you given encouragement at school etc?
There was never a time that I wasn’t interested in clothes. I kept scrap books of cuttings from magazines from being a small child.
Did you do any specific stylist qualifications? Have things changed much I’m terms of getting into the industry since you did it?
When I went to art college there were very few specific courses so I studied fashion design and later fashion journalism both giving me a good knowledge and background to become a stylist. When I started working as a fashion assistant it was like an apprenticeship to rise through the ranks. Nowadays a blogger can bypass that and become well know and respected very quickly.
What was your most memorable job? Most challenging job? The shoot that gave your the most satisfaction? Best/worst parts of the job?
My most memorable job would be shooting John Galliano’s debut couture collection for Givenchy. The most challenging was shooting McQueen’s first couture collection for the same house several seasons later. My job is very satisfying and with each job there are different challenges to be met. There a so many best bits – the people, the locations, the creative process, the fun! The worst bit is definitely being away from my family and boyfriend.
How do you stay up to date with current trends? If you love fashion you should always be looking and that keeps you current but you should be well versed in historical references too.
How do you typically prepare for a shoot?
What are your plans for 2016 and beyond?
To continue doing what I love to do.
How do you make the transition from stylist to Art Director?
Do you work at/attend Fashion Weeks?
Not since I had my son and now it’s way to follow everything online.
What advice would you give to up and coming stylists?
Be prepared to work hard
Who are your favourite designers?
John Galliano and Lee McQueen for their creative genius. To wear I love Saint Laurent, Isabel Marant, Chloe and Stella McCartney.
Where do you like to shop?
When you’re a stylist you shop everywhere.
What do you have in your stylist kit?
Pins, double-sided tape, a sewing kit, scissors, lint remover, crocodile clips, underwear, headache tablets…..
What has been your career highlight?
There have so many wonderful experiences but I’ll never forget the moment the curtain went back at Galliano’s first couture show to reveal a girl atop a dozen mattresses with a crinoline sweeping over them and the strains of Whitney Houston singing, “I Will Always Love You” mixed by Jeremy Healey. Beautiful.
Thanks Romaine for the insights!