In these last days before the frantic circus of fashion week begins around the world, between a set and the other, we had a virtual chat with Rubina Vita Marchiori, stylist and creative director living and creating in London.
Young, passionate and talented enough to have publications such as Vogue Italia and Vogue Portugal in her portfolio, Rubina and I had the chance to talk about some memorable moments in the history of fashion (that McQueen’s catwalk!), research and inspiration (and how sometimes not having a process is the best process) and why styling your house and styling models is basically the same thing.
image shot by Angelo Formato
How did you become a stylist? And what led you to this job opposed to others in fashion, such as design etc.?
It happened quite unexpectedly. I was studying to become a lawyer but I always felt I didn’t fit in the ‘strict’ mindset, it just wasn’t for me. I knew my heart was in fashion even though I didn’t have the courage to go for it when nobody in my family considered the fashion industry as a potential career path for me.
I took my first steps in fashion when I enrolled in a short course in styling at Moodart Fashion School and I absolutely had no idea what to expect, thinking it might have even been more design related. Once I started the course, I immediately knew I was in the right place and that styling was exactly what I wanted to do.
Your style is quirky, extravagant and yet always elegant and timeless. What do you think made your style the way it is?
I think that it’s a mix between tradition from my Italian roots and the forward-thinking mindset that London has given me. Combining these mismatched lifestyles, I take elements from each to create my own unique characters.
Accessories are an obsession of mine and for years I have been a serial collector, building an archive that reflects my distinct styling vision. I’m am continually working to identify the elements that define my vision and hone in on them, though I also like to keep an open mind and tend to approach each job with a level of flexibility and spontaneity. I like to be lucid with my concepts and go with what feels right on set.
images shot by Angelo Formato
As a stylist myself, I have a few references in my head of things I saw during the years that stuck with me and that pop up very often when I am doing styling. Can you think about a couple of fashion moments (catwalks, icons, garments, images, videos) that had unparalleled importance in forming your aesthetics?
Alexander McQueen ‘No.13’ SS 1999 remarkable performance show helped me understand that anything is possible in fashion through self expression, which is seen as art itself becoming timeless and therefore exceeding the limit of garments being seen simply as an ephemeral good.
I could never forget Jean Paul Gautier ‘How to do that’ electro-pop video and Cher is my forever muse. Vivienne Westwood is a living inspiration. She’s always the best dressed and constantly uses her work to integrate it into her social commitments by expressing what she believes in.
You left Italy to move to London. How does London nurture your creativity? What are your favorite spots in the city?
London is such a culturally diverse and thriving environment. It is so full of opportunities in every aspect of creativity and it opened my eyes to a new way of life. Each different area of the city is so versatile and there is something new to see every day.
My ideas are born here and my creativity thrives from this ever-changing environment. I live in East London and I love it, my neighborhood is a huge source of inspiration for me. It’s a fashion hub and the streets are full of stimulation.
What are your favorite movies about fashion?
“The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” is arguably one of the best vintage fashion movies. It portrays an extremely realistic and relevant plot that’s accompanied by melodrama and amazing costumes.
In this type of interview there’s always a lot of talk about where inspiration comes from, but in this job we know that it can come from literally anywhere. Once you’ve got that creative flow going, though, how do you prefer doing your research? What are your steps?
It’s hard for me to define what my steps are because it tends to change every time. My first source of inspiration always comes from intuition and this is truly the driving force behind all my work. Preparing for shoots is usually a collaborative approach and depends on the brief. But as I mentioned, I like to try to maintain a lucid approach when preparing for shoots to allow room to change and adapt depending on what feels right at the time.
As you said, the main concept can start from anywhere and I like to keep an open mind. I tend to be inspired by different artistic concepts such as exhibitions, architecture, music, and street culture. I like to diversify my research a lot but it depends what my eyes and feelings are caught by.
What are your favorite websites or Instagram profiles for inspiration?
Instagram has undeniably become a great research hub and a major source of inspiration in fashion when it’s used for the right purpose, rather than just a tool for mindless people watching. Some good ones are @britishculturearchive @aquapricot @vintagefashion.
What do you think determines when a stylist’s work is well executed?
In my opinion, it is when you can recognize the stylist’s work across projects with completely different themes and teams. I love when the concept of the shoot is clearly represented, without being too obvious.
What are your favorite brands and designers? Which brand would you love to do the styling for?
Forever in love with Prada, Mugler, Schiaparelli. I am always interested in the newest generation of designers and labels who are incredibly talented such as Martine Rose, Charlotte Knowles, Dilara Findikoglu, Ottolinger , Area , Peter Do, Sunnei. I hope to style for Martine Rose next.
images shot by Fabio and Cristian
Styling is by definition what allows you to play around with the same garment in tons of different ways. What are your thoughts on fashion and sustainability?
I’ve done several shoots linking fashion and sustainability and I view it as a crucial factor in the industry, which is never focused on enough. It’s very important as an artist to be able to express your belief in your work and the ways in which it can contribute to important social and environmental matters.
Fashion and styling are a way of using fabric on the body as a creative medium and I believe there is no limit to what you can express through this. It is also a great way to show how to play with garments in totally different ways and brings to light the new ways you can recycle old pieces to bring them back to life through a new vision.
In an interview for The Guardian in 2018, Lucinda Chambers said that dressing your house and dressing yourself come from the same place. Does this resonate with you? Does your taste in fashion influence other aspects of your life?
Absolutely. I love mixed vintage pieces and I love to collect interesting objects as I do through my fashion research. I love antique affairs and I like mixing different furniture and designs stucking my flat with bizarre mismatched things and pieces that actually look great together.
Last question: how do we take a little piece of Rubina into our everyday wardrobe? What’s your tip?
Comfort is always my priority! With a huge focus on accessories to make each look stand out even when my days are hectic.
image shot by Angelo Formato
text & interview by Francesca Martorelli