Q&A: LORI GOLDSTEIN TALKS LIFE AS A STYLIST
July 25, 2013
Lori Goldstein has styled countless groundbreaking images that remain etched in our cultural consciousness for their beauty and iconic qualities. Versace campaigns, Madonna’s “Take a Bow” video, Demi Moore’s nude, pregnant Vanity Fair cover, and myriad other celebrity photo shoots dot her illustrious portfolio. (Did we mention she’s great on Twitter?) Her forthcoming book, Lori Goldstein: Style Is Instinct, which drops this October, packs 256 glossy pages of her most memorable styling projects, with photography by Mario Testino, Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel, and Bruce Weber, among others. Here, the stylish New Yorker talks career beginnings, designing for QVC, and the benefits of not fitting in.
How amazing that you’ve been a fashion stylist for 25 years. How was the perception of the term different then than it is today?
LORI GOLDSTEIN: Oh my goodness, when I started in this business, ‘stylist’ was a dirty word. If you weren’t an editor or a young girl who came to work at one of the magazines, it was, like, you did catalogs, and that was it, there was nothing in between. I knew I wanted to be on my own path, I knew I was on this journey of my own.
Sounds like you were groundbreaking not only in what you did, but in that you kind of made up a job that didn’t exist?
LG: You got it. I always felt like I was going to make up my own job, and we were lucky enough to do that. There were a lot of us back then; we were creative, but we weren’t artists per se. So it was like, ‘What are we going to do with our lives?’ And I always loved fashion, so I found that way for myself.
You also design a popular clothing line, LOGO, for QVC. What’s great about that experience?
LG: I’ve always wanted to share what I have learned in New York City, and that’s where QVC came in for me. My customer is from her twenties to her eighties, literally. They call in, I get to interact with them, and they all have this innate quality of style, desire to dress great, and explore, now that they’re given permission, and that’s the fabulous thing . . . [Fashion is] a very exciting way to express yourself, it’s joyful, it’s happy, it’s cool, it’s amazing. It’s a part of life we should really get into and celebrate, at all ages, all demographics.
What are some of the coolest stories you’ve heard from QVC callers?
LG: I’ve had everything from a woman calling in and saying she has this whole new wardrobe and the clothes allow her to wear them under her bulletproof vest to a woman saying she cleans homes for a living and loves to look stylish and this affords her to be able to do that. We all have the ability to take care of ourselves, look great, and enjoy life, and that’s what life is about for me.
People still talk about that 1991 nude Demi Moore cover. Do you still feel the urge to turn heads in a provocative way?
LG: Yes, I never feel the urge to do something intentionally, but that is definitely the place that I live in. I can’t live my life caring what other people think, and I definitely always want to push things as far as they can go, because mediocrity just bores the hell out of me.
Your philosophy seems to have worked. Your anthology, Style is Instinct, comes out this October on Harper Collins.
LG: I’ve been wanting to do a book for several years. It has been been this incredible, incredible process. It’s probably 25 years of work . . . it really brings everything to the surface, so it’s a time to reflect, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I forgot about that,’ and you just get so excited!
When it comes to not caring what people think, did you have to work at it, or were you born that way?
LG: I was born that way. I grew up in Ohio. You always want to conform and fit in, I think that’s a natural state, especially for kids. I was just a little rebel and I couldn’t, and I’m so grateful I couldn’t cause that’s what propelled me to New York, where it was like, ‘Oh, hello, I can be whoever I want to be.’