Courtney Smith is certainly a busy lady. As one of the most in-demand stylists of the moment, Courtney has worked with most of the country’s top models and photographers to create beautiful editorials, along with regularly featuring on TV3’s Ireland AM and Xposé and styling many high-profile fashion shows. We caught up with Courtney to find out what being a stylist is actually like, what her wardrobe essentials are and if she ever finds time to relax with such a busy schedule.
Yes and no. I don’t feel pressure but I do like to look good, but I was always the girl who had her hair and nails done before she left the house anyway! While filming, I always wear designs by whatever label or designer I am talking about on the show so that takes the pressure of what to wear away.
What do you think about when you shop for yourself?
I live in the shops so the last thing I want to do in my spare time is go shopping – it’s not a leisurely excursion for me. I tend to either go in with a mission of what to get and leave as promptly as possible, or if I see something I like while I’m working I will get it and try it on at home!
How would you describe your style?
Eclectic. I don’t like to pigeon-hole myself in to one style cliché; my style is constantly evolving. I love vintage, but I am fussy about it; I only buy amazing pieces that make me stop and go “Wow!” I would say I am quite relaxed, I don’t like anything too constricting or that doesn’t allow me to move freely. Anything animal print, fringed, leather or adornment and it’s got me written all over it!
What are your wardrobe staples?
A great trophy jacket (killer statement sparkly number) that can dress up even just a pair of jeans and t-shirt; classic white shirt (this will work with pretty much everything); a great soft leather jacket (the more worn the better);the perfect pair of jeans you can’t live without; and a great pair of heels you can dance in all night!
What styles do you try to avoid?
Never say never; I’ll try anything once (I found out the hard way that hareem pants do not look good)! But in general, you’d be hard pushed to find me in a pair of Uggs and leggings. To me it’s a lazy option.
High street or designer?
I would never restrict myself to just one! Both in moderation makes for a much more exciting wardrobe. If I splurge on something ‘designer’, it has to be show-stopping so that people will notice. No point buying a white t-shirt for €150 that you could have got in Penneys for €5.
If money was no issue, where would you choose to go on a shopping spree?
New York! I fall in love with the city a little more every time I go. The vintage stores there are the best bar none and the boutiques in Manhattan are incredible.
If you were to have an outfit made by any design house in the world, who would you choose and why?
Out of the Irish designers, at the moment it would have to be Joanne Hynes; she really is in a league of her own. Her acid neon brights, metallic leathers, perspex textured items, encrusted collars – she is designing clothes for a fun-loving, powerful, vibrant woman – and I want to be her! Internationally; it would be the Givenchy SS ‘11 collection. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to own a little piece of couture?
What will you be wearing on your summer holidays this year?
Not much. I hope to spend a week away with my friends lying beside a pool. So swimsuits and bikinis will be the clothing of choice – with a few cool kimonos thrown in the mix.
What are your festival essentials for the summer?
Anything fringed, embellished or embroidered, with flowers and bands in my hair. Imagine the lovechild of Isabel Marant and Pocahontas!
We all have items of clothing in our wardrobes that we have never worn. What are the biggest mistakes that women make when they go shopping and what advice would you give to them?
Well even as a stylist, I have been guilty of buying things that have been sitting in my wardrobe; it’s the ‘magpie’ curse of loving beautiful, shiny things! I now shop with a purpose, which is going shopping with a clear mission of what you are looking for and you have less chance of that impulse buy. And keep those blinkers on when you reach the checkout, it’s the last minute “ooh that’s nice” that tends to be grabbed en route to paying.
Do you have any secret shops or websites where you shop that you can tell our readers about?
They wouldn’t be a secret if I told you. Only joking! Recently I’ve been loving this new label www.threefloorfashion.com for their unique take on dresses. Also Irish jewellery designer Daniela Cardillo is on my radar and is definitely one to watch.
What would you count as being the summer ’12 wardrobe essentials?
Anything with colour; pretty pastels, neon brights, fruity brights. Invest in a few keys pieces with colour to instantly update your wardrobe. A light blazer, coloured denims, pretty dress, shorts – it’s so easy to be on trend this season.
Do you have a celebrity style crush and why?
At the moment it has to be Jessica Szohr from Gossip Girl. She claims to not have a stylist and I adore her colourful style and slight boho edginess. She mixes it up which keeps it interesting.
Is there a celebrity who needs a style make-over?
Anyone on the Geordie Shore or Jersey Shore reality TV shows. Less is definitely NOT more when it comes to those girls, and let’s just say that investing in some underwear wouldn’t go amiss!
What would you do to change their style?
Oh God, they seem content in their ways so that may be a lost cause. But give them a good wash first and then dress them in something that doesn’t show off every part of their anatomy.
I am a true girly girl with make-up; a self-confessed make-up junkie. I have tons of different MAC lipsticks and eye shadows in a million colours and I always have to have a full kit with me in case I get called for a last minute Xposé gig! The only staple items that always remain the same are my Revlon photostay foundation, Bobbi Brown eyebrow pencil, Benefit Boi-ing concealer, Moonbeam highlighter and Georgia blusher, Rimmel white pencil eyeliner and black liquid liner and Mac Zoom Lash.
Describe your beauty regime?
I am lucky that my skin is pretty good (thanks Mom genes!). I just use a foam wash cleanser by Dr Nick Lowe and usually Guinot face-cream. I do, however, get a facial every 2 months by skin specialist Lisa Cassidy of Inner Beauty Room in Swords so I am sure that is the secret to keeping it good!
Is skincare important for you?
It is; I don’t mind spending extra money on something like skincare. I always wear SPF creams and when on holidays I put SPF 50 on my face. Currently I’m using the Dr Nick Lowe products from Boots. It’s a little on the pricey side but it works.
Yes, I recently took up boxing in BoxFit Camden club. I go with my best friend Grace and we try to get in about three times a week which is a great way to keep fit and have fun. I also sing in the shower…
As a stylist what does a typical day at work entail?
It’s such an obvious answer, but there really is no such thing as a typical day. One day I could be in the TV3 studios early in the morning, another I could be pulling clothes for a photo shoot, shooting Xposé on location, at a press event, at a model casting for a client, hosting a fashion show, doing model fittings or in a meeting with a client or editor. On the really busy days, sometimes it is all of the above.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I get paid for doing what I love most! When I get to create and style fashion shoots and make beautiful imagery that will last forever, it’s really exciting!
Are there any drawbacks?
Being self-employed can be tough, and sometimes (only sometimes) being a young woman in this industry can be difficult! Even though we talk about frills, lace and pretty colours, when it boils down to it fashion is a lucrative industry, so convincing the big boys that this 5’2 girl standing in front of them wearing the pink lipstick and killer heels can do the job can be exhausting. But I’m doing pretty good so far!
What do you do to wind down after a busy day at work?
I haven’t really figured out the winding down part yet! I’ll sleep when I’m dead, now’s the time to work hard and play hard!