In Vs. Magazine’s ongoing collaboration with Elie Saab, The Girl of Now, we profile girls that exude the style and talent of the moment, through their own personal lens. This week we draw the attention to stylist, art director, and wild-at-heart Dane, Alexandra Carl. Filmed at sunset on a London rooftop by her fiancé, director Jacob Jon Harmer, this vignette reflects quite well Alex’s emotional take on fashion & style. Dancing freely around in an Elie Saab fringe dream, the message is pretty clear: Let yourself go!
What is your biggest contradiction?
I have to be so organized in my job and constantly planning ahead, being prepared to turn things around rapidly. On the other hand I’m very easily distracted.. I have quite a wondrous mind.
Describe your personal style in 3 words:
Layers, contrasts and… lots of denim!!
What inspires your personal style?
Confidence and ease .. sometimes I like to be quite minimal, true to my Scandinavian roots .. the next moment I get obsessed with colors and the 70s and I dress up.
How did you start your career in fashion?
I was studying film and sociology in Copenhagen whilst working as a stylist assistant at DANSK magazine and modeling on the side. I was 17 when I got approached by Adidas to collaborate on a range of projects from campaigns to a fashion show, traveling to different places to work with them. I think it was probably at this point that it went from being a hobby to a career. I moved to London afterwards at the age of 19 and started assisting at LOVE magazine and… well, the rest is history I guess you can say 😉 My career is still my hobby by the way, ha ha… not really a job, more like a creative playground! Constantly evolving and changing.
Many people know you from the numerous street style photos of you. How has the street styling affected your career?
I’m not sure exactly HOW / IF it has affected my career as such but I think you’re always the best representation of your own work when you’re a stylist. But I am very conscious that people know my styling work, and not just see street style pictures of me and think that this is what I “do,” if you know what I mean. I want my work to stand out, not necessarily just my looks on a street style picture to be representative of what I am about.
What is it about fashion & style you are so passionate about?
I love to tell stories, to narrate, to create characters… other worlds for people to be inspired by and dream about. I am fascinated with the way we can change a character’s story or someone’s personality by dressing them differently. I always like to look at the woman I’m styling / the narrative of my editorial and think “does this feel like her.. would she wear these shoes like this.. “. It’s fascinating how you can change someone’s attitude so quickly by putting them in men’s shoes or trainers in stead of heels and vice versa.
How is your approach to styling different from others in the field?
My styling always have a sense of ease but it never gets boring. I hate when people just call it minimalism to do an oversize men’s shirt and some clean cut trousers. What makes minimalism interesting is a play with silhouettes. I always try to think of my character, the woman and her journey. What feels true to the story. Never dominate the photo and let the styling take over the photography, but rather let everything collaborate in the picture. That is very important I think.
You styled yourself for this portrait and did the creative direction in collaboration with your partner in crime, photographer and director Jacob John Harmer. Can you let us know what your idea was for the pictures and styling?
We decided to collaborate on a small film, based around the concept of “woolgathering.” I thought a film would be the best way to capture the beautiful movement and textures of the clothes. We wanted the film to express a sense of freedom and day dreaming. The state of mind where you let your thoughts wonder and you have no control where they’re going. It’s an ecstatic sense of freedom we rarely allow ourselves to enjoy because we are being entertained and occupied by screens most of the time. I think we are going to see an increasing demand in transparency of fashion production. I hope it will happen from the consumers, but I’m afraid that for it to be significant enough and efficient (we need to move quickly!) it will have to be a governmental implication. We need to regulate the brands that pollute the most which are ultimately high street brands as that’s where people go and buy without having to consider their budgets much. And I think we as opinion makers in style and fashion should educate people to invest in longevity of a garment when they can. Invest in quality over quantity when possible.
What do you think of the new direction of the Elie Saab brand?
I think it feels contemporary! She’s a cool girl with a strong character you really want to hang out with. She’s intellectual, but not afraid of expressing her femininity.
How do you feel the role of the stylist has changed from when you started working in the fashion industry until now?
I think the role of the stylist has developed extremely since I started. Today a stylist is also an opinion maker, creative director, consultant, designer and a social influencer on many levels. You can kind of craft your own path and it’s very exciting to merge the above and constantly develop your creativity throughout. You learn something new all the time when you collaborate with different people in different sections of the industry.
Do you have an advice for young women looking to break into the styling industry?
Just do it! Everyone’s got their way of entering a field. Yours is as good as anyone else’s. There are no rules in fashion, that’s the beauty of it.
Which designers do you feel we are going to see more of in the near future? And why?
Anything related with sustainability I think is very interesting. We need to seriously rethink ways of production when it comes to clothes, specially high street fashion where brands are often the biggest polluters – dying of cotton and denim is so bad for the environment, so I think the consumers need to be aware and challenge the ways fashion is produced.
London, New York, or Copenhagen?
London ! Any day! Even in the rain… but Copenhagen will always be deep in my heart.
Director Jacob John Harmer — Talent & Styling Alexandra Carl — Grade Luke Morrison / The Mill Chicago — Production OBR Studios — Music Curses — Fashion by Elie Saab