Via GLOBE NEWSWIRE:
Just in time to coincide with our spring issue (have you snagged your copy yet?), Tanger Outlets has launched TangerSTYLE Studio featuring celebrity stylist Vanessa Lachey who is of Filipino, Irish, and Italian descent. The model, actress, TV personality and host, and former Miss Teen USA will share exclusive trends and style tips throughout the year. Tanger will introduce its version of Fashion Week at many Tanger Outlet Centers from April 9-14, including a fashion panel and the chance to win gift cards and a shopping spree.
TangerSTYLE Q&A with Vanessa Lachey
TangerStyle: What are your favorite trends this spring?
Vanessa Lachey: Wow, there are so many great ones, but I have to say that I’m most excited about Color Blocking! I love how the blocks of color pop and can help showcase your best assets!
TS: Must have accessory?
VL: With all the bold handbags and fabulous jewelry, how can you choose just one? But I can’t live without a great pair of shoes!
TS: What are you most looking forward to this spring?
VL: From clothes to moods, everything is lighter and brighter. I’m loving yellow! Just picturing a pop of this sunny color makes me smile. From
bold Color Blocking to splashes of yellow and the little Pink Dress, TangerSTYLE takes you inside
“I think all of us have an inner fashion diva that wants to come out.” — Soyon An
ISSUE: Winter 2010
STORY: Anna M. Park
She’s won Emmys in 2009 and 2010 for costume design for the Fox reality show, So You Think You Can Dance. (She uses them as bookends in her library.) She custom designed wardrobe for Carrie Underwood’s “Play On” tour this past summer. She styles Jay Leno’s band on The Tonight Show, and edits fashion for the art publication Jimon Magazine. And now with the 10th season of American Idol kicking off this January, Soyon An will be back on that hit show, styling contestants like she has for the past two seasons.
Miss Congeniality: Jeannie Mai of E! Style network’s How Do I Look? is making a name for herself, one look at a time.
ISSUE: Summer 2010
STORY: Anne H. Kim
Jeannie Mai is probably the only person who gets paid to rummage through people’s closets and toss out anything that doesn’t meet the rules of good dressing. It can get ugly (and we don’t mean just the clothes). The dressing-impaired who appear on E! Style network’s How Do I Look? have been known to break down in tears, plead their case in a desperate attempt to get just a bit more mileage out of a tired college sweatshirt, and just plain get defensive. It’s a delicate operation to say the least. But as the show’s newest host (Mai took over for Finola Hughes), Mai deals out her fashion judgment with such a sunny and bubbly disposition that those who (grudgingly) appear on the show are won over soon enough. Mai’s happy-go-lucky attitude doesn’t seem to know boundaries either. Besides boosting up the self-esteem of her Look guests, she also reports on fashion and entertainment on Extra with Mario Lopez and chums it up with Natalie Morales as the resident fashion expert on Today. Mai is quickly building a brand as a congenial host with plenty of personality. She’s even adding a fresh dose of high energy into Avon as the iconic beauty company’s resident fashion expert.
We featured two-time Emmy Award winning celebrity stylist and costume designer Soyon An in Audrey’s Winter 2010-11 issue. Here’s more of our conversation with her.
Audrey Magazine: How is styling or fashion consulting for American Idol different than your other gigs you do?
Soyon An: Styling for American Idol is different because these are talents that come from all over the United States, and they come from a place where they have no idea what it is to be an American idol. And you know, they come from style points where some of them are not able to shop, but only at Goodwill or at Ross — just some lower markets. Or they’ve never been to L.A. ever, so they’re like “Oh my god, what are these stores and boutiques here? What is this L.A./Hollywood look?” So it’s different because you’re educating them as artists who you’re creating an image for. And how important that image is for an artist. So it’s very, very different.
AM: Can you talk about molding these contestants and whether not they’re open to change or stuck in the ways and how you can accommodate for that?
SA: To each is own, I guess. Some of them are very open to change and some of them are not. And some come very wide-eyed and willing to learn every aspect of what it is to be a singer/artist. The way I like to take the process of helping them understand their style and image is to, first of all, understand their body because a lot of them come up and say that they’re overweight or that they’re not perfect or they can’t wear that because of XYZ. From there I teach them how to dress themselves based on their body types, and then from there what their body types will allow like in terms of silhouettes like fabrics, colors. Do you do the high waist belts, the capri-length pants? Do you wear the longer shawl? Should you cover your arms?
AM: Do you style the judges as well?
SA: I don’t style the judges, but there were a few times when I would go and help with whatever that they might need or second opinion.
AM: At what point do you actually start working with the contestants?
SA: I start working with the contestants when they are at top 24, and at that point I only consult them. So it’s whatever that they bring in their suitcase. Or I suggest that they might go shopping somewhere. And so if you’re reading this magazine and be really nice to me, I’ll suggest that they go to your store. I’m just kidding! But so I don’t want to steer them away from who they originally are, and then I start to really get hands on with them at top 10 or top 12.
AM: So do you physically go shopping with them at top 10?
SA: Yeah, at top 12. So at top 24, it’s me going to their hotel rooms and going through their suitcases and being like, “OK, so what did you have in mind,” and then they’ll show me and I’ll be like, “ooh” or “yay” or “can you go across the street to the Beverly Center and pick up a pair of shoes that would look cute with this,” or “maybe if you get this color” or “maybe a belt with this color or accessories like this.” So that’s what happens in the beginning, and then at top 12 they come in the studio and then we style them there.
AM: Is there a particular contestant that you’ve worked with that you’re really proud of where they are now from where you first saw them?
SA: Um, yes. It would have to be Lil Rounds. Scott MacIntyre — he wasn’t even able to fully see and he’s doing his thing. Allison Iraheta, Jordin Sparks. I think all of us have an inner fashion diva that wants to come out and during idol a lot of these artists are able to explore the image that they’ve always wanted to have if they ever became an American Idol.
AM: Can you talk a little about your relationship with Carrie Underwood and how that kind of started and developed? Because I know you just did her tour and probably met on Idol.
SA: Actually Carrie and I never worked together on Idol. I came on [Jordin Sparks' year] as a tour stylist for their tour and I started working on the American Idol show season 8. And So Carrie and I, we never worked together until this year. I designed and styled her summer tour for the play on, and just recently she hired me again to design three more new outfits. So I styled her and her band.
AM: And how did you meet Carrie Underwood?
SA: I was introduced to Carrie Underwood by the creative director, Raj Kapoor. He’s an amazing guy to work with and he felt like I was able to execute the vision that he had for her, and so everything that Carrie’s wearing on the tour is custom designed and custom built just for her. There’s no other outfit out there unless it’s on that stage.
AM: Can you talk a it about the scheduling because I know on that show you’re in like a tight schedule, like when you get songs in that week the themed week influenced the way they dress that week?
SA: Well, the scheduling from last year is they would pick their songs on Thursday after the elimination night on Wednesday. After they pick their songs, depending on their Itunes schedule or CAA meetings or rehearsal schedule — style, sadly enough, kind of gets the backburner — we get them whenever we can. The contestant coordinator has always been on point trying to make sure everyone gets their even, fair share of time, but we only get two hours for the week to go shopping for them for the performance night on Tuesday and the results night on Wednesday. So whatever doesn’t get done, we just have to somehow be able to work around their schedule, but I guess that’s the way it is in real life. If you’re styling a talent, you have to work around their busy schedule. So after that, we get them in, I shop with them for two hours, or we try to find look, and based on the theme, like for example, Beatles week or rock n’ roll week or whatever. I try not to steer too much away from the brand that I’m trying to create through their image, but we will put in a little bit of influence of that week’s theme. So it’ll still kind of be fun. It’s just kind of training them into thinking like, “OK, if I’m walking to red carpet, then I need to dress appropriately for the red carpet. If I’m doing the CMAs or VMAs, then I could dress appropriately for that kind of event.” You know, I think everything is a bit theme-based, so trying not to steer away from their original image.
AM: Do you have sample closet you can pull from or do you just buy the outfit for that week?
SA: I have my kit that they go through and see what they like and don’t like, and then I also get wardrobe or accessories sent over from various companies that they’re allowed to sort through, and we also shop. So what I like to do for my Idols is have things available for them, like at [the boutique] Live on Sunset. I would have them try on different things that they like and we’d have talks about what they like, they’d tell me their music, they might even sing it for me or play it for me on their iPod because I work really well when I hear the music. I would never put an outfit on an Idol that I feel is going to eat them alive. So it’s a little bit of everything, it’s the attitude, their personality, we take all those things into account.
AM: Do you work with hair and makeup as well?
SA: So what I do is take pictures of the fittings and from there we kind of go through the process of elimination to figure out what the outfit’s going to be. Then I send it via email to hair, makeup and lighting. Lighting is so important! So once they know the color scheme that we’re going to go, then they light it appropriately. It goes crazy. So it’s definitely a team effort.
AM: You also style and do costume design for So You Think You Can Dance, for which you won Emmys two years in a row. What’s the difference between styling someone and costume design?
SA: The difference between styling someone and costume designing is styling is an aspect where you bring in other designers’ ideas into your own clients’ closet, and so you create an image through designs that are preexisting and you kind of make it work so that that styling becomes your client’s own style. Whereas as a costume designer you design on paper, first, then you build from scratch.
I feel blessed when I get to do styling and costume design. Like Carrie Underwood is a perfect example. I’ll build and design my own creation, my own outfit. Then I’ll get some awesome jewelry designers like Gwyneth Jewelry and awesome shoes — even shoes on a budget like Steve Madden — and then I’ll add all of my own crystals underneath the shoe and just totally bling it up and add studs on it and custom make anything for that individual client.
The difference in styling, too, is that you would collaborate with that designer. For example, the VMAS last year where Louboutin made those stud shoes for Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson — the stylist collaborated with the designer. With me, you’re kind of collaborating with the designer and a stylist, but it’s all in one, dealing with one person.
AM: Your parents must be so proud. Were they always supportive and did they influence you at all?
SA: My parents definitely wanted me to go down that aisle of being a doctor or lawyer and trying to fulfill a career goal. I’ve always really been into drawing and art. I used to be an athlete, and I think that may be why I know dancers in terms of their needs [in designing for SYTYCD]. I went to school for fashion design. I initially went into Otis for design and to build my foundation, but after a couple years, because I wanted a faster route, so I went to FIDM. After I did some corporate work in design, I went into TV/film because it felt like more like my scene.
I think for me, personally, with my designs, there is a particular element that makes it my creation, you can tell my hand has touched that design. I don’t know if that has anything to do with being Asian American or the influences that I had with growing up. But I think you can tell when a performer has my costume on versus someone else’s creation. And if anything, the way my parents raised me, they’ve helped me be a multitasker. The reason I can be a multitasker is because they put me through so much as a kid.
AM: Of the things you’ve worked on so far, what would you say your favorite thing is?
SA: That’s a tough question because I feel lucky to work on so many various projects, so it’s hard, it’s a hard question. But I’d have to say — I don’t know what my favorite is. Carrie Underwood was awesome!
AM: You’re styling Carrie Underwood, you’re doing Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, and you’re hosting the O’Neil Generation X event tomorrow. So how do you balance all that stuff? What do you do to kind of relax when you have down time?
SA: I balance all the stuff that I do with a really great team. I think they keep me in a good balance with my assistance. I think it’s also just being able to have that drive and kind of keep a tight schedule and making sure you wake up in time.
– Anthony Tran, with reporting by Han Cho.
We’re sad that So You Think You Can Dance contestant Alex Wong got injured and therefore disqualified from the competition. But the show must go on for Soyon An, the two-time Emmy Award winning stylist and costume designer for the show. (She just won her second Emmy in a row!) Not only does she style all the myriad looks for the dancers on the popular reality competition, now in its seventh season, she also just finished designing for Carrie Underwood’s “Play On” tour, styles for Jay Leno’s band on The Tonight Show, and just accepted a position as a fashion editor for Jimon Magazine, an art and fashion magazine published twice yearly.
Audrey Magazine: What do you do as the stylist and costume designer for So You Think You Can Dance?
Soyon An: Every day is a specific day. So for example, yesterday was fittings for Thursday, and also it’s also the day we find out who the dancers are dancing with. And at that point we’re calling choreographers trying to figure out what their concepts are, so that I can start conceptualizing with them what their wardrobes are going to be. So then we go shopping for fabric, and wardrobe and makeup. I have to do full costume designs, and I have 40 costume designs to make by Wednesday.
AM: Do you make all your costumes individually?
SA: About 80 percent of the costumes are made and 20 percent are bought. Most of the time, like the hip-hop routines, we’ll go and buy jeans, but we try not to make them look store bought, so we customize all of them. We tailor the individual pieces.
AM: What was it like to style Alex Wong?
SA: Alex is an incredible dancer, and working with him has been a lot of fun. He has a really great personality and is really easy to work with. I am glad he is as confident as he is on the show, and I think he really killed it in [his hip-hop routine]. And coming on the show as a ballerina, he can move his body and legs in ways that the average person can’t. Working with him and wardrobing him, I’ve had to really create and customize for him. All of his pants have to be constructed and have extra stretch in them, and the way the back is, because with the choreography, he gets big and bulks up.
AM: What elements inspire you and your designs?
SA: Everything, from everyday life, to people that I meet, places that I go, maybe when I’m driving around different neighborhoods. I have a photographic memory, so little bits and pieces of things that I remember will go into my design. I definitely have an edgier look to everything I create. I like to put an element of high fashion into anything that I do. It’s like a combination of high fashion and costume.
AM: Did you get any formal training for design or was this a hobby-turned-passion-turned-job?
SA: I’ve always really been into drawing and art. I used to be an athlete, and I think that may be why I know dancers in terms of their needs. I went to school for fashion design. I initially went into Otis for design and to build my foundation, but after a couple years, because I wanted a faster route, so I went to FIDM. After I did some corporate work in design, I went into TV/film because it felt like more like my scene.
AM: I think it’s amazing that you’re a stylist and doing something very creative. It defies the typical stereotype of an Asian American as a doctor or a lawyer. Do you think your ethnicity gives you an edge over the other stylists?
SA: My parents definitely wanted me to go down that aisle of being a doctor or lawyer and trying to fulfill a career goal. I think for me, personally, with my designs, there is a particular element that makes it my creation; you can tell my hand has touched that design. I don’t know if that has anything to do with being Asian American or the influences that I had growing up. But I think you can tell when a performer has my costume on versus someone else’s creation. And if anything, the way my parents raised me, they’ve helped me be a multitasker. The reason I can be a multitasker is because they put me through so much as a kid.
AM: Any thoughts for anyone pursuing a creative career like yourself?
SA: As Asian Americans, I don’t think we should follow our parents’ definition of success and happiness.
Watch the top 5 dancers compete tonight on So You Think You Can Dance at 8 pm on Fox. The season finale airs August 12.