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Lauren Brady: The Contextual Stylist

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I first met Lauren Brady, of Saucy and Kitsch, on a wedding magazine photoshoot, and it was instantly clear that she had some serious chops in the styling department. She was on set representing a stationer, and took a level of care and attention to detail that I’d yet seen from a vendor. Along with a beautiful suite of invitations, menus, cute envelopes and signage, it was the props brought in tow that set her far apart from the usual: Gorgeous vintage stamps and other trinkets, fabrics, ribbon, ink pads…. Her detailed manner didn’t stop with the props; she was a master and perfectionist when it came to composing vignettes with these items.

From that day on, she was always on my first-call list for vendor collaborators. Friendships formed, and since starting CosmoMuse, she has become one of my nearest and dearest. You know that any shoot she participates in, is going to be elevated and refined with her instinctual understanding of color, texture, composition, framing and context around prop and model interaction. She will always show up with extra items and isn’t scared to speak up when things aren’t making sense.

On a personal and social level, Lauren’s just fun to be around, possessing equal measures of poetic depth and raunchy silliness. We have lots of project in the cooker and some new ideas for pop-up events stewing. I’m looking forward to many more years of collaboration with this rising star in the styling world and am excited to see her career explode.

Q) Being a Capricorn, I’d imagine (and know) that you are a dedicated and hardworking person. How do you feel you relate to these traits?

A) Capricorns are one of the hardest working signs in the Zodiac and I certainly fit the definition. I love pouring my heart and soul into my work and I have for as long as I can remember. I generally find myself in jobs that are aligned to a creative field: A motion picture camera assistant, a photographer, a barista, an actress, a printmaker, an event designer & planner, a stationer and a prop & photo stylist. I have run multiple businesses for myself and others, each and every one of these, during whatever time they were in my life, I dedicated myself to perfecting the skills that come along with them. I become successful in my field, I do not fain from long hours, and I welcome the challenges that come with them. I thrive in making long lasting connections by creating relationships with clients and customers. Most importantly, I feel satisfied in the experiences that I have created.

Q) You have such a thorough, refined and detail oriented style. How do you feel the sign of Capricorn influences your aesthetic?

A) As a Capricorn, I put a lot of care and thought into all of my choices. I believe in the truth of objects; that they have a voice and story to be told. It is in the small and unexpected details that brings this story to life! Through texture and color comes emotion, and like any art, it’s visual and contextual components will affect you and create an experience. It is incredibly important and satisfying to me, that the viewer connects to the images that I am creating. I feel that it is the culmination of my life experiences that has influenced this in me.

When I was living in L.A. studying acting, I learned many things that taught me the subtleties of human communication—in particular our relation to objects and the portrayal of truths through choices. One of my mentors challenged me to grab any item from my apartment right before leaving for class, to use as an object in the scene. Because it was unexpected and unrehearsed, it brought new life and truth to my actions, always resulting in a better scene. I use this same principle in my styling. Often the objects that I grab in this fashion are the ones that bring the most personality, and are more often than not, the ones that are the most successful. Research is also something that I took away from acting, and sometimes to a fault, I ask too many questions. This results in my, often, over preparedness. In my chaos, I find my structure and in my simplicity, I always find my truths.

Q) Is there anything in particular that is a constant source of inspiration to you? Or ways in which you consistently seek inspiration?

A) In true Capricorn fashion, my source of inspiration is more often than not, found by climbing a mountain top. I am most connected to things when I am surrounded by nature; it fills my soul to the brim.

The light, the air, the textures—these all generate wonder and gratitude by what this earth freely gives us. I live for sunsets, and running down the hills in Summer, as the blue hour sets in and the stars begin to shine with the warmth of day, still lingering on the earth and my feet grounded to its dirt; that, my friend, is pure poetry. When I feel that sense of grounded-ness, and my mind and heart are open, all my ideas flow freely. Travel, connection to old things, museums & art, friends & family and the collective excitement that comes from collaboration are also important sources for me.

Q) Capricorn’s typically have a strong need to connect to the public in ways that give and receive nurturing. They are the hosts of the zodiac. Do you feel any connection to this trait?

A) A friend once asked me—as we were sitting at the Café de Paris outside the steps of the Casino de Monte-Carlo— “What is your idea of riches?”. My answer was simple: Sitting at a dinner table with my friends and loved ones, connecting over conversation, food and drink.

We had this discussion while drinking espresso, affirming my belief that a lifetime of moments happen around the comfort of a cup: Friendships are formed, support is given, habits enjoyed and love is realized.

It’s where conversation connects us, nurtures us and brings us together. This is why I love coffee so much and why I love events. I am a born hostess, and LOVE to create tip-to-tail, one-of-a-kind experiences in all of the events that I produce or vignettes that I create. It is incredibly satisfying to connect to my client’s personalities and produce an event, or image, that allows them to connect further with their friends & family or clients. In turn, I gain a great sense of satisfaction through the ephemeral experiences that I have created, knowing that they will last a lifetime through the experience of others.

Q) Capricorn is one of the four Cardinal signs, making it an initiator of plans and ideas. Do you feel that you possess traits of being able to spark new paths and generate new ideas?

A) I think this touches a little on earlier questions as to what inspires me! Collaboration!!! I often joke that my best suited job would be to sit in a room with other creatives and generate idea after idea. One of my favorite things about the styling process, is the collaboration with every key party involved. We are the collective voice of the client: The photographer, art director, graphics designer, styling and photo assistants—all contributing an integral part to the process.

We all have a set of skills to provide, that the other does not, and we would not be able to produce what is needed without each other’s individual talents and voices. It is such an exciting process! I pride myself on being able to take any project to the next level, fill in the gaps where needed and bring unique ideas to the table. Problem solving & preparedness, continuity & fluidity, and being able to visualize the overall story that needs to be told, all aids in creating contextually rich shoots. Being able to think on my feet is probably one of my greatest assets. Knowing that I have a strong and valid voice, is incredibly empowering. I owe so much of this to my time spent on film sets as a camera assistant. So many of these skills were acquired then and are are incredibly valuable to what I do now. My understanding of the continuity of a film scene goes hand in hand with creating pages for a catalog. I love that all the things I have done in my life have come full circle to what I do now.

Q) Paint us a picture of your ideal day-off, with no tasks or responsibilities to attend to.

A) Indulgence in solitude! To a fault, Capricorns do not know when or how to stop. I have to force myself to. This day would start indulging in the waking hours, staying in bed, quiet with my thoughts, snuggling with my cat. Following said indulgence, comes coffee! It is why I go to bed at night! I love everything about the process; the brew method, the equipment used, the bean I grind, and of course enjoying it. This would be paired with a few hours of reading, writing letters, catching up on my favorite shows or listening to music. I would then head to the mountains for a three to four hour hike or jaunt over to the Cliff Lodge Day Spa to relish in the views, meditate poolside and enjoy the benefits of soaking in mineral water. My evening would begin with a yoga class, then with a mind and body refreshed and renewed, I would return to the comfort of my home to enjoy a dinner to myself, with my favorite fur-ball of a friend at my side, and say goodnight to the world.

CREDITS

Interviewee & Styling: Lauren Brady of Saucy and Kitsch

Art Direction: Allie Couch of Cosmo Muse

Photography: Britt Chudleigh of Britt Chudleigh Photography


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