Sara Cooper Puts Designer Apparel in a New Context for Hunger TV
Runway shows are just that: shows. The clothes are real, the girls are real, but everything else is a construction of an idea that is intentionally unrealistic. For Stylist Sara Cooper, that’s great, but it’s not the way the clothes should be presented when the show is over. “I think showing head to toe runway looks, like $5000 dresses, the way they’re shown on the runway isn’t that interesting,” she says. She loves clothes like that, but she likes to put them in a different context.
Her latest work for Hunger TV with Nick Thompson follows that point of view. For their story, The Wanderer, Sara used pieces from Peter Pilotto, Peter Som, and 3.1 Phillip Lim. To the average reader, a feathered dress paired with adidas Stan Smith sneakers is a bold, aggressive style choice. But to Sara, it’s just the way she sees things. She doesn’t have a bone to pick, it comes about naturally. “It just sort of happens,” she says. “I try to really feel it out and respond to the girl, and the background, obviously the hair and make up, but the girl a lot.” Responding to the clothes, the model, and the surroundings she’s able to create looks that are fresh for her, and certainly for us. “I try to bring high fashion stuff down to earth,” she explains.
The photographer Nick Thompson is from London and was really into using New York City as the background. But this isn’t the nighttime shot on Fifth Avenue with steam billowing from a manhole and the Empire State Building in the background. This is the New York inside parking garages, in front of electric regulators, in a cab riding past vast apartment buildings. This is the New York known only to New Yorkers. Sara and Nick were going for something that the inducted would recognize because they wanted it to be realistic. “A model off duty type of vibe,” she says.
What Sara has brought to this is a new way to look at designer apparel in a way that is uniquely her take. "I’m not really drawn to anything too serious," she says. But the way she's allowed us to rethink what designer clothes are is pretty serious.
Tom Corbett and Refinery29 Turn Up The Heat
Summer is about being bold. As the temperature rises, so do the opportunities to go big with beauty. Refinery29 teamed up with Tom Corbett to show off the potential locked inside that heat. The flip-side is that no one wants to stay indoors gussying themselves up, lacquering on make-up, and worrying about their manicure. That’s why Tom and Refinery29 chose looks that were bright, light, and easy to run with. It’s about looking good, not looking like a production.
Using jewel tones and rich neutrals, Tom’s work shows off the confluence of sunglasses, lipstick, and nail polish. Just these three elements can bring a look together and scream, “Summer!” while still being effortless.
Laura Miller, the photo editor of Refinery29, worked with Tom on the direction. Tom explains that they wanted to “make it fun and modern and have a sense of energy and spontaneity.” If you’re even a tiny bit familiar with Tom, you know how perfect this is because, as he said, “it sums up how I like to shoot.”
That fun that they’re talking about is obvious from the shoot – the looks are playful, light, and full of a carefree joy that cannot be PhotoShop’d in. Tom explains where those looks came from, the “models were told to enjoy themselves and with music blasting they made quirky, fun faces.” But wasn’t only in the photos, the pleasure wasn’t only in front of the camera. Tom says that the shoot was “great fun.” Laura agrees, saying, “I wish all my days on set were as fun!”
Adding to the fun were Sara Cooper and Gregg Hubbard, who were styling and working on the make up, respectively. Laura sums up the project saying, “it felt like a really nice collaborative effort. Overall, it was an awesome team to work with.”
Sara Cooper Puts a Modern Twist on Brigitte Bardot's Style
Maniac Magazine enlisted Sara Cooper to style a Brigitte Bardot-inspired editorial for its current issue. "We didn't want to go completely vintage, but [instead put] a modern twist on the famous beauty," explained manager Cody Wiegand. "Sara nailed it. From the retro jumpsuits and headscarfs to the high-wasted pants and crop tops, the styling was exactly what we had envisioned – even better."
Cooper admitted: "I wasn't entirely confident that we could pull off the Bardot theme successfully, but the hair, makeup, and styling came together; plus, our model, Linnea Pihl, gave the concept a life of its own." She mentioned that Bardot's sixties wardrobe is on-trend this spring, which "helped keep the story inspired and current. We featured Love Richard Chai, Won Hundred, Stone Cold Fox, Alice Roi, Smythe, and Janessa Leone, among other labels."
"One outfit was really out of the box, but just worked," Wiegand added. "It was a blue bodysuit paired with an ultra-modern raincoat with fur. Who would have thought to put that together? Sara! She has a great eye for mixing pieces."
Photographer: April Hubal
Sara Cooper's Retro Rocker for Fantastics
Bernstein & Andriulli newcomer Sara Cooper conceived a retro-rocker-meets-Miami-Deco look for Fantastics' latest issue. "I paid close attention to the color palette," the stylist explained, "an easy language that lets viewers follow the story."
Called "SpringIt," the editorial relies on layering and unexpected combinations – a tailored, white Alice Roi suit and Won Hundred sneakers; a high-slit Bellen Brand T-shirt dress over Anna Sui bathing suit bottoms. "The By Malene Birger scarf and rhinestone belt were parts of other outfits, but I added those in and piled jewelry on Katya, the model," Cooper said. "I kept tossing items on her and she very much brought it to life."
Cooper studied textile and apparel design at Cornell University before doing visuals and styling for five years at Intermix. She eventually decided to go out on her own and noted, "What I enjoy most about my career is the visual back and forth. I like when there is open communication with the client, and clients tend to be pleasantly surprised by the number of options I present." She relishes the opportunity to work on music editorials and has dressed Kid Cudi, Phoenix, and Oh Land – "people who know their style and share their opinions."
Her clients include BLK DNM, Donna Karan and DKNY, Net-a-Porter, Puma, Macy's, InStyle, Marie Claire, and Harper's Bazaar.
Photographer: David Joseph Perez
Makeup: Jourdan Dudgeon
Hair: Gonn Kinoshita
Model: Katya at Women Direct