industry insi-Der: benjamin bruno
Our new series, Industry Insi-Der will pick the brilliant minds of the fashion world's creative stars. Want to know how your idols got their foot in the door? How they made it to the top? What made them want to work in this fast-paced industry anyway...
The French stylist got his start at Vogue Paris and went on to catch the eyes of industry big dogs like Alasdair McLellan and Paolo Roversi, and acting as contributing fashion editor to Man About Town. But if ever there was a designer - stylist - photographer trio that could bring us to our knees, it's J.W. Anderson, Benjamin Bruno and Jamie Hawkesworth. Together they are the epitome of the industry's new blood, creating a new, distinctive aesthetic that means you'll recognize the talent behind it wherever you see it.
When and how did you start your career in fashion?
It was accidental. I was a writer and used to write for newspapers. One day a friend of mine, Joseph Logan - who was the art director of Vogue Paris under Fabien Baron, said "I think your writing is great but you have more to express than this." I didn't really know what he meant, I loved magazines, my mom used to buy a lot of fashion magazines as a child, but I was not into fashion people, they simply did not interest me. And I did not know what it meant to create a fashion image or even less design a garment or style a collection. My mind was just not registering these jobs. One day Joseph proposed to introduce me to an editor at Vogue Paris, Marie-Amelie Sauve. He said she was looking for an assistant and that we would get on well and had similar aesthetic views. I met Marie-Amelie and she proposed me to start the job the day after. I accepted it and resigned from my job as a writer. And then I stayed at Vogue Paris for six years under Carine Roitfeld. I think these people revealed me to myself. They saw something in me which I did not suspect or maybe something that I needed to transmute into something different. I'll always be grateful to them because they simply gave me the desire to do what I do today. And that means a lot in a lifetime. Encounters define you, then you make yourself.
What was your big break?
I have no idea. I think I worked hard and developed a fashion vocabulary for myself. I just go in fashion as I go in life; with my instincts.
What fashion photograph, magazine or show has inspired you throughout the years?
I think I was moved and penetrated by the aesthetics of various genius people who give sense and greatness to fashion. And when I looked at something I was just saying to myself 'Oh I'm happy that this greatness exists,' or 'Oh that's great that these people exist and deliver such greatness.' Because it simply makes you feel alive to feel greatness around you. It justifies desires, it justifies life. It's difficult to pinpoint moments because you educate yourself with the tools that you have and your sensitiveness makes you feel closer to certain aesthetics more than others. I just know that I was moved and still am moved looking at a Steven Meisel photograph, an Irving Penn one, a Richard Avedon one, or a show by Gianni Versace, Rei Kawakubo or Yohji Yamamoto, old issues of Italian and French Vogue.
What's the best thing about working in fashion?
To be creative.
What's the worst?
Not to be understood.
What's your proudest achievement so far?
To have been able to work with genius people. To have been given the chance and the trust to work with them.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the industry, past or present, who would you collaborate with and what would you collaborate on?
I'm very happy with the people who knocked at the door or let their door open to me. I'm a very faithful person. I would just continue collaborating with anyone willing to achieve greatness together.
What is the biggest change you've witnessed in the industry since you've started?
The general anxiety about it.
What three rules do you live by?
Be nice to people.
Don't give to people what they can't give you.
Have fun, there's way worse.
If you were not working in fashion what would you be doing?
I guess something about interior decoration. Or psychoanalysis.
What advice would you give young fashion fans hoping to follow in your footsteps?
It's difficult as I find it hard to 'patronize' in general. I guess you need to learn hard, work hard, trust your instincts, never compromise, be curious about anything, never play the game of others, always self-question, be nice to people.
Finish the sentence, fashion makes...
…good looks sometimes.
Text Felicity Kinsella