#M1 talks to / interviews
Stylist David Nolan is proof that you can turn your life around at any stage…all you need is the skill and commitment, of which he has limitless amounts of both. Starting out as a mechanic, David decided to retrain in fashion. He has since gone from strength to strength, with clients including Addidas, Firetrap, Harrods, Gieves & Hawkes,and most recently Lacoste. He also has a long list of musical clientele, including One Night Only, Noah and the Whale and Razorlight.
How did you get into fashion?
I used to work on cars as a mechanic for 7 years when I left school, for Ford and Volvo. I found it incredibly boring and knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do, so decided to enrol on a foundation course at LCF. It was a year long and covered all the basic areas of fashion like journalism, illustration and photography. While there I had Fridays off so interned at a Modelling agency in their men’s division. They helped me out a lot, letting me use models as well as their in-house studio and photographer.
I then got a work placement at Arena during my Easter holidays, and ended up staying on with them for two months around my course hours, also assisting Andrew Davis.
When the course finished I did a job with Arena contributor James Sleaford. He needed a full time assistant and we got on really well so I began to assist him. After working for him for about a year and a half he began to pass jobs onto me when he was very busy, including a lot of Music jobs like Razorlight. In the meantime I was doing lots of test shoots, and editorial work to build up my portfolio, such as 125 and Intersection.
|Centrefold Magazine, featuring Charlie France
Then one day I was assisting a stylist on a job and the art director, who also did Gieves & Hawkes offered me a job for a Gieves shoot. That got the ball rolling.
How would you describe your
Its similar to my personal style. I think style and fashion are two very different things. Style is about personal expression, the way you dress tells people who you are. When styling I love making people look good, understated, effortless and the clothes wearable. I think attention to detail is very important, ties should work well with shoes and cuff links, and so on.
Who inspires you?
I’m mainly inspired by people from the past, fictional
characters such as Sebastian Flyte from Brideshead Revisited. Serge Gainsbourg, a French musician in the 60s who was always very elegant. David Bowie is another big inspiration, I love 70’s glam rock. I used to dress like him, it definitely turned a few heads in Maidenhead. I worked on a shoot for L’Uomo Vogue with the artist Sebastian Horsley, and I found him fascinating, a really nice man. By complete coincidence I had been in a café about two weeks before, not knowing who he was, and he sat next to me. I told him of this and he remembered seeing me, it was very strange.
You have recently been styling for Lacoste. Tell me about the process involved in that?
|David with Mark Hunter in Paris
It was for the Lacoste Live collection. The first was a campaign with Mark Hunter, known as The Cobra Snake, and was set in a nightclub below the Moulin Rouge in Paris. There was a big night on, one of the biggest in Paris with DJ Steve Aoki Playing. We had 7 guys and 3 girls. It was almost impossible to work. Mark and his assistant would split up and take a small group each to a separate corner of the club and take party pictures. A couple of the models started stage diving. Basically they were just being caught having fun!
|A model crowd surfing while shooting for Lacoste
After coming home for a week, I had to go back out for a fitting for a website film. This involved 60 models, and we had two days to fit. As I was mixing a lot of vintage with Lacoste, I came back to London for a week to source pieces. They wanted it to look more natural and real. The shoot was amazing; it was in an old regency style house right by the Eiffel Tower, owned by an Algerian billionaire. There was a swimming pool we emptied in the basement, and a huge balcony looking out onto the tower. Filming lasted two days, and in the last scene we had a giant food fight. It was lots of fun.
Where has been the best place you have travelled on a shoot?
I’ll always remember my first time in New York. It was mid-December just before Christmas, and I had never been that far before. We were doing a Bob Dylan style shoot for 125 in the Chelsea Hotel. We stayed there too. It was incredible. I love America, especially Hollywood. I remember the first time I went was with a young model called Jess. She was only 16 so I was sort of looking after her, and she’d never been on a plane before. The trip was so much fun, shooting editorials for the Guardian. Venice is another place I loved, it’s so romantic and unique.
Who would you most like to work with?
I’d like to work with directors on films. It would be great to focus on a character, and a whole wardrobe for that character. It goes back to my main focus for style, creating a style and a character for someone.
How actively do you get involved in events such as fashion week?
I just attend the shows. I’d maybe like to style in the future, but haven’t really thought about it before. I enjoy the menswear shows, and love all the instillation’s at Somerset House.
Fashion has moved forward drastically in terms of technology. As a stylist, has this had an effect on your work?
Filming is becoming more relevant. As a stylist it’s great to be able to present promos, music videos, and short fashion films I’ve done. It’s also a potential route into costume for films. It is also a lot more convenient, I can use an iPad instead of a portfolio, which is lighter, and has a better print quality.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I’d like to be doing costume on small films, and perhaps be working as a contributor for a magazine. And just more of what I’ve been doing!
|David Gant, styled by David
Who would be your ultimate dinner date?
It would have to be a group. David Niven, Quentin Crisp, David Lynch. I Just think you’d be guaranteed a good laugh with any of them
To view more of David’s work go to http://www.ellisonlee.com/site/Home.aspx