Natalie Joos is much more than a little blonde woman of permanent smile that shares stylish outfits and photos on her blog, Tales of Endearment. The blog is just a reflection of the eclectic inner world and rich imaginary of this fashion stylist, photographer and casting agent that everybody wants. Multifaceted, isn’t it? We asked her to tell us her tales about the fashion industry and this is the result.
Why you decided to create your own casting agency in 2003?
When I left Craig McDean I wanted to stay in the fashion industry and use the contacts I had to create my own business. I didn’t want to work full-time so I started a Production company and Casting because Craig said I was good at it.
What is to be a casting agent like? Why are so important for the industry?
Casting agents have become more than a luxury. They are indispensible. Finding models for runway shows, ad campaigns and editorials is a job. It requires knowledge of all the models, close relationships with the agents, negotiation skills and thick skin because the politics are complicated and frustrating. You need patience and a sense of humour…
How has the fashion industry changed since you begun?
The biggest changes are the internet and digital photography. When I started working in New York, first as Glenn O’Brien’s Personal Assistant, then as Craig McDean’s Studio Manager, the internet barely existed. I sent faxes and made phone calls. And we had negatives, contact sheets, prints etc. When I left in 2003 Craig was just starting to shoot some digital. There are many more opportunities for ambitious people now. With access to databases like LinkdIn, Facebook and Instagram, people have access to the designers, PR companies, brands etc they look up to and want to work for. Anyone can have a shot at fame, success and the career they dreamed of.
When doing a casting, what are the things you have to take into account most?
Depends who you are casting for. For runway it starts with the collection. What type of girl do you see in the clothes, what is the esthetic you want to relay. For editorial it’s important to have a famous face. For advertising the budget will play a big role.
Fashion is connected to everything! You sleep, eat, drink, walk and talk wearing fashion. As soon as you put on underwear you’re making a statement
What do you look in models to choose them?
Depends what you are casting for. For runway it’s important the girl is tall enough and has a nice, powerful walk. For print the face and attitude are more important. In all instances though there has to be a connection. The right girl for the right project.
You are also stylist, how these two sides- casting and stylist- are combined together?
It’s very simple. A stylist has to dress the model(s). So it’s very important they are on the same page… I am always very involved in the casting of the models I have to style. In fact, I always cast myself…
Photography by Diggy Lloyd
When styling, you forget about your personal taste or this is always reflected in your work?
It’s hard not to think of yourself when you dress a model, but I have the advantage that I dress in characters. I can go from Alex Wang edgy girl to Valentino princess in one day, so it’s easy for me to submerge myself in the characters I create for my styling work. It’s also fun sometimes to do something outrageous and use a direction you would never dare to wear yourself.
How do you start to create a look? Is instinctive or more rational?
All instinct. I love improvising. The same way I am in front of my closet and have to come up with an outfit for myself, is how I like to be in front of my racks in the studio. It’s like a puzzle. You start with a favorite piece or a designer credit piece and build the look around it.
Any editorial or job you are especially proud of?
I love the shoot I did with Erik Madigan Heck for Harper’s Bazaar and the shoot for V Spain with model Aline Weber. I had free reign and went crazy w the clothes!
Photography by Meredith Jenks
As stylist, you should be aware of the last trends and new brands, could you tell us a trend for this summer and a new brand you have discovered?
This summer I am into a lot of white and those blousy off-the-shoulder shirts and dresses. Prada did some and Vika Gazinskaya and Rosie Assoulin. They are 70s inspired and very feminine. Recently I discovered Self-Portrait, a Hong Kong designer who operates from London. He makes the sexiest dresses! I also discovered Natalie Constantinidou. Her clothes are more whimsical and pretty I also love Awake by Natalia Alaverdian. She’s always inspired by an animal, each season, so it’s always fun to see how she comes up with new motifs and shapes.
There are many more opportunities for ambitious people now. Anyone can have a shot at fame, success and the career they dreamed of
Your blog, Tales of Endearment, was born from your passion for vintage, Why you like vintage so much? What is vintage for you?
I have a fascination for all things old first of all. I love history. But I love vintage mostly because it is unique, cheap and green. I love going to a vintage store, going thru the entire rack, piece by piece until I find the treasure. You never know what you will find. I love the surprise element and the anticipation of wearing something that will make people wonder…
How would you define your personal style?
Feminine, sexy, cute. I dress in characters so I change all the time. But I always try to look like a woman, or a girl at least. I dress for the boys.
You summarise the blog as “histories of love, friends, vintage, music and life”. You even include a dating section. Do you think fashion is connected to other fields in life?
Fashion is connected to everything! You sleep, eat, drink, walk and talk wearing fashion. As soon as you put on underwear you’re making a statement. It’s the first thing people see: what you wear and what you look like. That’s why I pay attention to what I put on my body. Dressing for a date is so different than dressing for a meeting for example.
You are a blogger, photographer, casting agent, stylist and fashion consultant. As a multifaceted professional, do you feel fashion now is a more eclectic industry than ever were different arts got crossed?
I have many interests and skills. If I could I would also be a singer and a psychiatrist. Within the fashion industry however, there are many pathways and if you have style, taste and skill you can basically take on any route, if not all. There are so many opportunities. With a little bit of ambition you can be whoever you want to be, and do whatever you want to.
What does a blog need to be successful today?
You need a tone of voice and an angle. In order to stand out you must deliver quality content, and have a unique voice. Whether it is beautiful imagery, or interesting writing, it has to be different or better than the rest. I also think you need to update regularly, a few times a week at least, if not daily… (I don’t do that but I hear most bloggers do…)
Your blog has a muse section, what do these women have to inspire you?
I find my Muses based on recommendations from close friends and research. I try to feature women who are aspiring. Are their lives, their homes, their wardrobes, and most of all their vintage collection enviable? Do we want to get closer to them? I want to introduce my readers to special girls.
To finish, make a prediction, how do you see the fashion industry in ten years time?
The world will be mobile, and so will the fashion industry. Shopping, fashion news, social media etc will come much faster and easier, and all on your phone. Actually that’s pretty much happening already. I do hope that all those crazy apps that people keep inventing will be reduced to a few great ones by then. It’s a bit chaotic at the moment and I am not ready or capable to try everything…
The world will be mobile, and so will the fashion industry