Styling secret weapons straight from major players in the industry. Aspiring stylists, take notes!
Fashion stylists are in the biz because they not only know how to make people look great but know how to keep merchandise in tiptop condition (the latter is part of the unglamorous behind-the-scenes grind that isn’t talked about as much as the former).
Debunking the notion that the job is about merely mixing and matching clothes, fashion stylists today have proven to be creatives and businesspeople in equal measure. They flex serious brain muscle in order to bring a client’s vision to life. The challenge lies in being able to offer something fresh and exciting at the same time. They, of course, know their fashion ABCs and make it their business to stay on top of trends. They have to get to know their talent, too. What suits their body type? What colors are flattering? Which looks will mesh well with their personality? Above all—and this is what separates the pros from the rest—effective stylists have their own efficient system in place that covers all the bases. They make sure the looks they put together are polished, from the clothes to makeup and hair. They go above and beyond the call of duty as creatives and make sure brands get their items back in the same condition they were borrowed (the same rule applies if the stylist has his or her own closet of clothes for clients to use).
While the basic styling kit essentials are easy to look up (thank you, Google), we’re more curious to know about the unexpected items the country’s top fashion stylists rely on in real life. These people are, if you will, the boy and girl scouts of the fashion industry, ready with a Plan B, C, D through Z for any styling emergency. Anyone could learn a hack or two from them.
Danae Vernisse Dipon, @danaevernisse
Affiliated with: Stylized Studio and Preview Magazine
For me, the one weird or random item in my styling kit would probably be Leukoplast (the surgical tape you can buy in drugstores). It was always just in my styling kit for things like taping lapel mics on an artist’s or model’s skin or clothing when needed. But then there came a time when the model I was styling for an editorial needed to wear a suit with a really low neckline and without an inner shirt. That’s kind of hard to pull off when you have big boobs. LOL. Since that specific model was super blessed, we had to tape those boobies in place using Leukoplast!
Ryuji Shiomitsu, @ryujishiomitsu
Clientele: Maris Racal, Leila Alcasid, Ryza Cenon, Jane Oineza, L'Officiel Manila, MEGA Magazine, SM Shoes and Bags, SM Ladies World and BENCH/
The most random item from my styling kit is actually a beauty product and it’s micellar cleansing water. Surprisingly, it can remove stubborn stains from clothes. One time, at an awards night, I was dressing up one of my celebrity clients and the illusion tulle of the bodice of her gown got stained. Luckily, my Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water was there to save the day.
Florian Trinidad, @floriantrinidad
Major collaborations: Oxygen Clothing, Jess Connelly for MTV Fuel, New Era, Scout Magazine, NBA Store Philippines, Converse, 0917 and the Standard Magazine
A lot of people—especially male talents—laugh when they see this in my toolbox (styling kit) but it's a total lifesaver so IDGAF. [laughs] It helps keep the clothes look fresh and dry on the outside. There was this commercial shoot I did recently where the talent had to do a lot of physical work like climbing trees and running away from a trained dog and he had to wear a sky blue cotton shirt. I ended up using a whole pack of panty liners because of the number of takes per scene, plus, it was an outdoor shoot. The talent got weirded out at first but believed in its magical powers after seeing the shirt with no sweat stains afterwards.
Aldrin Ramos, @aldrin.ramos
You’ve seen him style: Lovi Poe, Katarina Rodriguez, Nathalie Hart, fashion editorials for MEGA Magazine and Asian Dragon Magazine, Star Style cover stories featuring Kim Chiu and Solenn Heussaff
I always have a set of Velcro pads in my styling kit; I’m very particular with hair especially when it comes to sleek looks. Velcro pads come in handy during shoots where a hairstylist is not on board. I also use them when the hairstylist isn't with us at the shoot location but the hair has to be fixed on the spot. Better to be ready because, you know, styling has to be perfect from head to toe.
Joanna Garcia, @joannagee
Celebrity clients include: Nadine Lustre, Kylie Versoza, Chienna Filomeno, Yassi Pressman, Coleen Garcia and Billy Crawford
The one weird or odd item I have in my styling kit would be—believe it or not—feminine liners or pads. They can be a great tool to protect the soles of borrowed or loaned shoes far better than masking tape. I was once tasked to style a fashion shoot with some pretty expensive shoes and these came in handy. We usually pullout shoes for magazine editorials or fashion shoots. Better safe than sorry!
Myrrh Lao To, @myrrhlaoto
Trusted stylist of: Ylona Garcia, Sarah Geronimo, Julia Montes, Nadine Lustre, Angelica Panganiban, KZ Tandingan, JM de Guzman and Elmo Magalona
My answer is: a glue gun! I was able to make Nadine’s ethnic-inspired top from scratch. Offhand: we had to be careful not to use prints that may be offensive to others. I got the top to look even more extra with the help of my team, my trusty glue gun, some dismantled accessories and a lot of creative resourcefulness.
Cath Sobrevega, @cathsobrevega
Client roll call: Anne Curtis-Smith, Julia Barretto, Sarah Geronimo, Jasmine Curtis-Smith and Toni Gonzaga
One random item that is vital to our styling kit would be the extension cord! It’s really helpful especially if there are no plugs available and we’re shooting outdoors. Or if the plug of our steamer doesn’t match the sockets for the studio, and we don’t have the extension cord with us, we’re dead. This also serves as a charging station for all of our phones because what I have is the one that comes with USB ports.
JL Crespo, @xjlcrespo
You can find his work in: Scout Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Garage Magazine, Star Style, Metro Magazine and Candy Magazine
One odd product that I constantly use is sanitary pads! I use them under the arms, sticking it on the kili-kili part of the shirt. LOL. They really come in handy, especially during outdoor shoots. I also use sanitary pads when I pull out footwear. I put pads on the soles of the shoes instead of masking tape, which takes a while to cut and stick.
Our key takeaway: who knew feminine hygiene products could do that?
Art Alexandra Lara