Fashion stylist, Liz Golding, is recognised nationally as one of the best in the industry. She is the Fashion Editor, for U on Sunday Magazine (The Sunday Mail) and Styling Director for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival (MBFF).This is one busy lady and we were lucky enough to catch up with her on the eve of the launch in Brisbane of the MBFF, which is now in its 8th year and is considered to be one of Australia’s leading fashion events.
AC: Liz you have had work published in major publications and magazines such as, Vogue, GQ, Marie Clare and The Melbourne Age... to name just a few, a rather impressive list! What do you feel is your most major career achievement to date?
LG: Well I think that being asked to work as a Fashion Editor last year for Q Weekend Magazine and this year for U on Sunday Magazine has been quite significant. Of course the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival has been huge for all of us on the team for the last 8 years; it is a busy and successful event that continues to grow.
AC: How did you get into the industry? LG: I created my own job by being helpful and involved in the production of shoots when I was a model. There was no such thing as a stylist then and I had a good collection of accessories which the designers and art directors soon realised and wanted access to. So they paid me to come along and help with the shoot so it ran on time and was co-ordinated. My first fashion styling job was around 25 years ago. I started doing Hair and makeup because my clients asked me to - that was over twenty years ago.
AC: You were once an artist represented by Red Hill Gallery. Was this another outlet for your creative mind and is it something that you would continue with in the future? LG: I am a very creative person and for years I had a business making special pieces for interiors shops all over Australia, the artworks developed at the same time. I am a natural collector and the gathering of objects is a creative endeavour for me. In a perfect world I would love to just paint and make my pieces however I got distracted along the way by the challenge of being on the team that grows the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival etc. I will return to creating art, I am sure. What medium of art work, I don't know. There are many skills I would like to learn and develop.
AC: A typical question for an artist is ‘how long does it take you to paint a picture’ and more often than not the answer is a huge shock to the person enquiring. You have an amazing ability to put a fashion look together but unlike an artist you don’t necessarily have the convenience of ‘time’ on your hands. How long does it take you to create a look? Did this always come naturally to you or has it become easier with experience? LG: I can put an outfit together in next to no time. I see fashion and looks/outfits in an instant and I remember clothing and accessories like some people remember faces. Often people with me become befuddled by the choices but I pick out pieces and rack up looks before they have had a moment to take stock. Time is money and my clients all want value for their money, so I am fast. I have always been able to style outfits, I recall my Mother calling for me to come and give my opinion on her outfit and her girlfriends outfits for special occasions when I was a teenager. I can measure someone very accurately with my eyes and guess their sizing, this is a learned skill honed from working in retail and styling over the years.
AC: You’re a fashion stylist, hair and makeup guru, shoot stylist, event coordinator... and the list goes on. Out of all of these what do you enjoy doing the most? LG: I have just started a new company called Illuminate Management, which is a Photographers Agency. This business is possible because of the culmination of knowledge over the years. I love it; it is what I want to do until I retire. I have watched the industry and seen the gap in service and filled it...now I just need more time to devote to it but I am self funded so I will juggle it all for a while.
AC: As the Styling Director for MBFF, can you tell our readers what this entails? LG: My job description is to pull in the designers and retailers into the program. To co-ordinate the shows and work with the other stylists in keeping the standard high and the organisation smooth. I run three quarters of the shows usually by myself. I style the shows as necessary and give support to designers with accessories etc. I work out the order of the designers with the festival director and book the models after consultation with the team and the designers/retailers involved in the shows. I do the lists up and communicate with the model agencies and designers for the shows that I am running. I work out the fitting schedule and run those fittings for my shows. I style up the hair and makeup looks for my shows and gather the other stylists choices and communicate with the hair and makeup teams. I make sure the other stylists are well supported and trouble shoot any issues that arise during the week.
AC: You are in an extremely creative career can you tell us about one of the more exciting and fun experiences you have had on the job? LG: All of my favourite memories are from collaborations with other creatives, I love working with others and crave the learning and mutual joy in creation. One such job was many years ago and I was a model for Benni Tognini the hair stylist, he made these huge crazy wigs for a hair show in Sydney. My wig was made of sugar glass and I was lucky enough to be asked to help out with the process. The wig was to explode at the end of the show, detonated by me. I was dressed in a sliver space age body cast that I had helped with. I had my body plaster cast and then a fibreglass mould taken and duplicated for the other models in the show. It was such memorable fun; people in the hair industry still talk about it. Great fun! Especially when my head was still intact afterwards!
AC: How do you see the relationship between fashion and art... or even, fashion as art and vice versa? LG: I don't see fashion as art but as a creative endeavour, there are artworks used digitally on fabric these days and a great deal of fashion is worthy of hanging on the wall but art....not so much. The craft of making textiles, the craft of making embellishments, the craft of manufacturing a garment or an accessory are all skilled in their own way. I love and respect old skills such as embroidery, pintucking, smocking, lacework but are they art? Not to me. They are different, they are craft. An important memory of the culture at the time. Hopefully not lost.
AC: What advice can you offer to girls getting into the industry? LG: If you go into this industry hoping to add something, to assist others and be part of teams that do memorable work then you go in with the right frame of mind. If you go into it hoping to make a lot of money, forget it. If you go into it for the glamour, good luck with that because my interns realise within an hour, how hard and physical my job is. The responsibility often stops with me and that makes it distinctly unglamorous. I lift, I run, I pack, I carry, I work from way before the job starts for the team, and I am taking back clothing and accessories way after the show or shoot has finished. I pull favours, I do favours for retailers and designers so I can borrow gear for shoots and shows, this has been my job for over 25 years. I never get on the wrong side of someone because I am likely to end up working for them at some stage. Many of my interns have employed me once they are in their jobs. Be nice!
AC: What is the one fashion item you cannot live without? LG: Comfortable black flat work shoes that are fashionable. Sounds boring but can't live without them.
AC: Who are your style icons and why? LG: Iris Apfel - she is old and gutsy. Completely fearless fashion-wise and doesn't care what others think of her...the sign of a successful fashionista, even if she is ninety-three. She loves fabrics and she loves accessories and the rest is history. What a gal!
AC: What music do you listen to? LG: Anything my teenage daughters are listening to, although when I have a moment I love good jazz and classical music. I go to the Opera a few times a year and love it! At the moment every time I turn on the music in the car "Flume" is playing.
AC: What drives you? What is your motivation? LG: I have a well developed sense of responsibility to support and grow the fashion and photography industry in Queensland, I always have. I can see that a group of task orientated people can make a huge difference in an industry over the years and I want to continue to do my little bit. I enjoy it. I like a challenge. If there was no challenge, I would not be interested. © www.redhillgallery.com.au