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The Shoes Fit: Pip Vassett

Leading the fashion pages of Yen Magazine is a job suited only for those who are destined for greatness. Like Dave Bonney and Imogene Barron before her, Pip Vassett is the newest recruit to fit the criteria of innovation and precision that such a position entails, and she’s been fitting the shoes before her with ease – and has added her very own mark of distinction to them. Her staunch eye for detail throws together patterns and colours with an unpredictability that works like it should be in fashion’s book of rules, and her ability to make style seem effortless leaves the undoubted hours of selection and deliberation indiscernible to even the most critical eye. Within Pip’s editorial, style is innate. Exactly as it should be.

Growing up in the suburbs, Pip associated fashion with a faraway sense of glamour that she soon began to crave. Although she describes her obsession with it as “unhealthy” from the very start, she didn’t know what a stylist even was until she finished school and started working as a PA in a graphic design agency. “I had a really normal childhood in the 'burbs and I wasn't one of those kids who started buying Vogue or The Face at the age of four or whose grandmother had a wardrobe full of Dior or anything like that,” she explains.

Describing such a setting as “a definite influence in itself,” Pip also reflects on 80s films as her earliest design influences – anything with a bit of shine and a bit of glitter, as she puts it: “Ferris Bueller's girlfriend Sloane's white tassle leather jacket, Sarah Jessica Parker’s dance outfits, Helen Hunt's school skirt that turned inside out to become a leather skirt in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and Jennifer Beal's shirtless tuxedo in Flashdance.”

When Pip was first introduced to photoshoots, she immediately became jealous of the stylists involved in them and the fact that their job required them to pull clothes out of a suitcase. Her initial self-doubt on being able to do the same eventually subsided when she went travelling and had one of those moments where she thought, “fuck it, why not try?” And try she did, first by assisting in London and then again when she came back to Sydney, persevering through the early career frustration that comes with the territory of any creative job. In her case, she lists this as “getting people to give you a go, always being broke (reeeaally broke!), and having to juggle working on shoots for free with a 'real' job.”

As testament to the fact that persistence and hard work eventually gets you where you want to be, Pip now has a plethora of clients across the commercial, music and magazine realms. In addition to Yen, she was also the assistant editor of Pages Online and has been published in Oyster, Fallen, Demo, Fashion Trend and new magazine Stil.. Of course, hard work is nothing without talent, and her natural approach to her work has everything to do with her current position. With her behind the editorial, clothes look exactly the way they should be worn on exactly who they should be worn by. It is an instinct she constantly brings out to play during her styling process.

“For me it usually starts out with one particular element. Whether that's a location, an amazing girl, a great garment, whatever. And then it sort of snowball's from there - it's almost like from this one thing a story develops. Eg., who is this girl? What is she like? What would she wear? How would she wear it? I always find the best shoots are kinda organic like that. All the pieces fit together.”

Describing the creation of a beautiful story, a great team and playing with clothes as the best part about her job (and returns, unsurprisingly, the worst), Pip is pretty happy with her present set of cards – although if Dree Hemingway shows up, she’ll be the first to put her hand up for the shoot.

For those looking for tips on how to be a stylist, Pip urges to “Bug people to assist them until they give you a go. And once they do... work hard, be on time and be willing to work for free to get experience. Oh and start doing lots of test shoots! Styling is the same as anything...the more you do it the better you'll be.” And on the other side of the fence, for those looking for tips on how to have great style?
“For me, great style is a woman who is strong and confident but wears clothes in a very personal way or with an interesting contradiction. And I always love clothes that look a little worn in or oversized.”

Pip Vassett

words: Seema Duggal


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