She was asked by Isabel Marant to model the new H&M collection, is the top stylist in Ireland and has worked with everyone from Tommy Hilfiger to River Island, Courtney Smith – known as Coco Smith – is THE stylist to keep your eye on. With thousands of twitter followers, charisma by the bucketful and a SERIOUS eye for style, I was in no doubt that I wanted the lovely Coco Smith on The Fashion Ache for my next THE INTERVIEW…
Check out her work HERE
Find her on Twitter: @CocoSmithStyle
Q1.Was it always about being a stylist? Was that the dream from an early age?
‘It was always about fashion! Not necessarily styling. But there was never any question that I would study something in the industry. I was always creating new outfits, sewing, putting on fashion shows, drawing dresses. I actually studied fashion design and then moved into styling after one of my college tutors suggested it.’
Q2.Take us briefly along your journey - from studying to stylist - did you intern a lot/ work alongside other stylists?
‘I took an unconventional route in comparison to other stylists after college. I never assisted or interned. I learned and honed my craft myself... I think there were serious pros and cons to this as I made plenty of mistakes at the beginning but I managed to find my feet, and my own voice in the industry.’
Q3.Who inspired you? Who inspires your work? Street style? Celebrities? Stylists before you?
‘There are so many different factors that inspire me for different reasons. In an editorial sense I adore Katie Grand's styling, she is incredible, and of course the great Grace Coddington needs a mention too. But, career-wise I am in awe of Rachel Zoe and how she built an empire around styling - that to me is pure drive and ambition. Also Grace Woodward, the fact that she managed to find a home between both television presenting and credible fashion styling shows me I'm on the right path.’
Q4. Being named as one of the Top 20 international stylists in Vivays Publishing’s hardback ‘Contemporary Fashion Stylists’ book must have been a FABULOUS moment! What other defining moments have you had over your career?
‘You know what, I have new defining moments on a monthly basis to be honest. Shooting designer collections in the middle of the Sharjah Desert in Dubai last year was just insane, getting a cover of the Sunday Times STYLE was a huge breakthrough, interviewing Khloe Kardashian for Lipsy was exhilarating (and freezing!). I am lucky that my job presents me with new exciting opportunities all the time.’
Q5.Take us through a regular day from 9-5pm...
‘Honestly, this is the most asked question there is, and there is no proper answer because every day is completely different. It begins with me getting up at 6am and heading to the gym on a normal day to day (unless it’s an earlier call time for a shoot or flight), other than that it is any of the following (and most of the time a combination or most or all of them); meetings with editors or brands, catching up on emails, writing my column or a feature for a magazine, attending a press launch or event, pulling looks for a shoot or show, styling a shoot, filming for a TV show, on live morning TV, returning products from shoots, model castings, booking hair and makeup, researching shoot ideas and concepts, creating mood boards, skyping photographers and creative team on ideas, accounts, writing credit lists... and so forth. Also ... in this line of work there is no 9-5, I am lucky if I leave my studio at 7pm…that's an early finish for me.’
Q6. When it comes to your own personal style - how would you describe it?
‘Relaxed, bohemian, glamorous (unless you catch me on a seriously busy day).’
Q7.Which celebrities would you love to style?
‘At the moment - I have my eyes on Ellie Goulding, such an incredible singer but the styling is all wrong for her image. She needs a good overhaul.’
Q8.I love that you love working with collaborations! Which collabs have you worked and styled?
‘I did a shoot for the Tommy Hilfiger Promise collection and I modelled my favourite pieces from the H&M Isabel Marant collection before it launched, I hosted the red carpet for the Kardashian Kollection for Lipsy and have worked with River Island on a lot of their collaborations including the young designer ones and the Pacha collection.’
Q9.What are your aims for the future?
‘At the moment I am working on a youtube channel and I wouldn't rule out maybe a collaboration collection of my own in the next 5 to 10 years, I'd love to go back to my roots and design eventually.’
Q10.What advice would you give to budding stylists out there?
‘It is an INCREDIBLY tough industry, be strong, work your asses off and keep practicing.. and don't stop knocking on doors... eventually one will open.’
Q11.Your wardrobe is burning down, and you can only save three pieces - what do you save?
‘Oh god! Well luckily for me my wardrobe is divided across 3 separate rooms (including my boyfriends apartment) so hopefully I get to keep more than 3 things.
However, my silk vintage animal print Kimono I got in L.A., my Balenciaga wedges because I live in them and my Pauric Sweeney handbag because I need something on my arm or I feel like I am missing something.’
All images are sourced from RKM Communication