Sunday, October 3, 2010

Our Interview with The NYC based Stylist Cannon | Exclusive

HC: Can you tell us more about yourself, who is Cannon as a stylist?
Cannon: I always do the best on every job that I work on, very demanding of my team and my expectations are very high, also very fair, and I encourage an open and honest line of communication with my team. I have a very strong rock sensibility and really do my research on each person that I am styling for.I have a great sense of humor (as I am told) and always try to see the positive side of things, really passionate about styling and fashion and I know it shows in my work.

HC: What influenced you, To start out as a Stylist?
Cannon: When I first started styling I didn’t understand the full scope of what it meant to be a stylist or, what a stylist did. I quickly learned and became fascinated with creating beautiful images.
I grew up in New York City, went to a private military all boys prep school where dress code was strictly enforced, and After seeing my first Ramones concert I began to push the uniform code to the limit and to buck against authority.
In addition to the Ramones some of my early influences included The Smiths, Blondie, Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. Some of the greatest icons of all time were also the best stylists. Debbie Harry created her look and image. In essence she was her own stylist. Marilyn Monroe worked closely with costume designers and was very specific about what she wore and how she appeared in every photo and movie.

Several of the photographers that influenced me include: Sarah Moon, Herb Ritz, Man Ray, Deborah Tuberville, Walter chin, Albert Watson and David LaChapelle. The difference between a photographer and an artist is how keen the eye is. Photographers have always been instrumental working with stylists and editors to create trends.

HC: Before becoming a stylist, did you have any background about the fashion industry? And how it all works out?
Cannon: I attended both the University of London and Canisius College. I graduated with a degree in communications with the idea of becoming a journalist. I quickly realized that it was not what I wanted to do. So when I began styling, which I knew nothing about, I was intrigued by everything it had to offer. I quickly immersed myself in learning as much as I could about this career. At the time it was not one of the most popular careers.
I worked briefly under two stylists. After just a few days with each one, I quickly branched out on my own. The first two years were the toughest because there was no one to teach me the tools I needed to succeed. Now I give lectures at colleges and Universities including F. I. T. about how dynamic the styling industry can be.

HC: How did you feel after getting barbara walters into her first pair of jeans for a photo shoot? Was it an accomplishment to you?
Cannon: Barbara Walters is one of the biggest icons of our time. I was extremely honored to work with her and I knew the task ahead of me to make sure I had the proper clothes for the shoot. Barbara called me the night before and left a lengthy message on my voicemail about what she wanted to see at the photo shoot. She was specific about what designers she wanted to wear and how she would be portrayed in the magazine. 

When Barbara arrived at the shoot, the first thing she said to me was, “Cannon you never called me back.” I quickly replied, “Barbara we can have this conversation if you do not like the wardrobe I have chosen for you.” She responded, “let’s see the wardrobe before we do anything else.” After the fitting Barbara said, “you did your homework, the wardrobe is exactly to my specifications”. And she thanked me several times when the shoot was over.

As a stylist and costume designer you have to be thoroughly prepared for every single shoot.  I was honored to style with one of the most enigmatic journalists of our time. Part of my job as a stylist is to bring out a side of people that the general public does not always see. On this shoot I helped Barbara feel relaxed enough to step out of her comfort zone without losing any of her credibility.

HC: When it comes to styling an actress is different from a singer?
Cannon: Every single person has a different body type and looks at their body differently. On top of that, designer sizes may vary. For example, a woman who is U.S. size 6 may be a European size 8 and European designers tend to cut smaller. I want every client to feel spectacular but as a stylist, friend and sometimes therapist I have to be aware of every person’s comfort level. For a live appearance, if a person is not comfortable it can sometimes show, For still photography you can always push the limits.

The most challenging but also exciting jobs are with celebrities or musicians that are style icons. Annie Lennox, for example, is one of my favorite musicians; so the chance to work with her was inspiring. I worked closely with her for several appearances and her approach to fashion and how she wanted to be portrayed was like no one else I had worked with before.

I worked with the cast of the Sopranos on several occasions and always had to work with actors and actresses who were all various sizes. One of the most important roles as a stylist is to ensure you have all the proper sizes for all the actors that you are working with so that the clothes fit properly and the actors are comfortable. The cast of LOST were demanding and challenging; and I am always up for a good challenge. Sometimes; you do not have access to an actor / actress for a long period of time while at a shoot and I have to make it work within that time frame.

 I just had the honor to work with Ron Wood of the ROLLING STONES and we only had 2 hours of his time.  We had to do the fitting and shoot 5 images. Ron Wood and his management loved all my options and was very happy and ended up requesting a lot of clothing from the shoot.

HC:Working with big names like, Jason Wu and Kathryn Neale Shaffer, How does it affect you positively?
Cannon: I was extremely honored to be involved and also participate on the fashion panel discussion for MEIFF, (the Middle Eastern International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi) alongside Jason Wu and Kathyrn Neale Shaffer.

Jason Wu is THE NEW American designer. The worldwide recognition he received for dressing Michelle Obama for the Inaugural Ball was reinforced by his keen fashion sensibility. Jason Wu’s collections are favorites of American Vogue and every fashion magazine.I have been privileged to work alongside Jason on several projects and I’m always fascinated by his fashion sensibilities. Jason Wu has been an influence on me as well as everyone in the industry with his fresh take on fashion.

Kathryn Neale Schaeffer I have known for many years, before her position Vogue. She has always been one of the best-dressed women in New York. Her sleek modern sense of fashion has led designers such as Calvin Klein and Jason Wu to ask her to consult on their lines. It has been an honor to work alongside Jason and Kathryn.

HC: You were featured in many publications big and small names. In your opinion what publication actually gave you the attention from the public eye?
Cannon: In the early stages of my career Sony records was a huge supporter of my work and me. I believe SONY catapulted my career. I was able to work with many artists in their repertoire. Once I worked with Annie Lennox and this solidified my career. I was no longer an emerging talent.

I had the amazing opportunity to work with Michael Jackson when he was hailed the King of Pop at MTV. I have been extremely blessed in my career. I have been able to work with some of the biggest names in entertainment including: Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, the Black Eyed Peas, Ron Wood, Jimmy Page, Glenn Close, and the casts of The Sopranos, The Office and Lost.

HC: Any tips for our fashionista's about styling?
Cannon: In regards to clothing if something feels tight and you start to second-guess yourself, try this: Stand in front of a full-length mirror and put the mirror behind yourself so you have a full 360 degree view of the outfit you are wearing.

Keep in mind that runway looks are worn by models who are 14 to 19 years old. What you need to do is translate those styles for your own life and for your own body type. I think the trendiest people are those who have their own distinctive style and create their own trends. And do not be afraid to ROCK a new style.

HC: Is there anything you want to say to Haute Couturista's readers?
Cannon: I always believed in myself and my sense of fashion. I really, truly love fashion and costume design. I think if you believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you, you can accomplish anything. I also know how important it is to be open and honest with your staff and every person you are working for.

Fashion and styling can be a lot like playing dress-up. I constantly ground myself by getting closely involved with charitable work. I believe everyone should be involved with charities. Some of the organizations I am involved with include: St. Judes, Canine Companions and The Red Cross. If you give back to others it can really help define who you are and help you to appreciate all the good things you have in your life.

And thank you for reading this Hautecoutoristas!

* We would like Cannon and Amna for giving us the opportunity to do this interview.


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