#HearHerStory: Lucrezia Mancini
Interview with the Head of the Styling Program at Istituto Marangoni Miami
After studying fashion styling in London, Lucrezia started assisting multiple fashion editors and stylists until she got a job assisting one of the fashion industry’s top stylists with clients such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Prada, Miu Miu and Christian Dior. She now teaches the craft at Istituto Marangoni Miami as well as being a contributing fashion editor and stylist to a variety of indie and established publications.
Shellie Frai: How did you get your start in the fashion styling industry?
Lucrezia Mancini: I moved from Italy to London at 18 to study fashion styling at the fashion school, Istituto Marangoni. While I was studying, I started assisting stylists for Dazed and Confused, LOVE, Vogue Italia and Purple magazine. I realized that working in fashion is 50 percent education and 50 percent work experience. That early experience propelled me in the industry, and right after school I got a job assisting one of the top stylists in the world.
SF: What is one of your favorite parts about being a stylist?
LM: I love the research. There is so much that goes behind a photo, from the sourcing, visual research, inspiration, experimentation and creativity involved.
SF: What is the job of an assistant stylist like?
LM: Being a stylist is not like an ordinary office job where you work from 9am to 6pm. You can shoot one big editorial for Vogue one week, and the next you are shooting a big campaign. It is very fast paced, so the pressure is always on.
SF: That sounds demanding, what was the work environment like?
LM: It is demanding, I have been through so much. I have gotten coffee thrown at me, I have gotten humiliated, my boss once called me a cow. On photo shoot days I remember having so much anxiety. I had ulcers in my stomach at 23 years old just from the stress. I remember the first thing my boss told me on my first day was that whatever happened on set, it will always be my fault. In the beginning of my career I got fired by a couple of stylists because I would get so emotional from the stress.
SF: Why did you stay at the job so long if you were treated like that?
LM: I was in love with it. I always had so much adrenaline on a shoot and I admired my boss’s work ethic and creative mind. He was the most interesting person I have ever met. The entire time I had a boyfriend who I dated for three years, and he would tell me that I was more excited to see my boss than to see him. Working with him was painful but I learned so much.
SF: How did you further your career at such a young age?
LM: The head stylist I was working for had three assistants. I started as his third assistant, the lowest one. After just a few months I went from being his third assistant to being his first assistant. When I surpassed his second assistant and became his first, there was so much tension between us. There was hate, lies and people always trying to step on you.
SF: When did you know it was time to move on?
LM: After two and a half years I realized in order to further my career, I needed to leave and start my own thing. I couldn’t do it anymore. There were no further steps for me to take. I also kind of got fired. I was on set for a big brand campaign, where I made the mistake of mishandling the clothes. The CEO of the brand wrote an email to my boss saying that they never want me on set with them again.
SF: Wow, how did you feel after getting fired? That must have been tough.
LM: The highs were so high and the lows were so low. It wasn’t balanced so I knew I couldn’t do it for forever. I also had such an early and high start. I had such big accomplishments at such a young age. You know that saying, you start fast, you burn out fast. I realized that working for him I was so mad and tense all the time. I was always scared of being told off. I wasn’t calm or balanced.
SF: What did you do right after leaving that position?
LM: I worked as a freelance stylist. I also became a contributing fashion editor to two French magazines. I shoot a lot of menswear, actors such as Ed Westwick and Max Irons. I was consulting for music videos, I did a K-Pop video, a shoot for Soko the Cat. I also worked with Rolling Stone and Wonderland magazines. Also, the entire time I was styling, I was also teaching at my alma mater. Two years after I graduated, Istituto Marangoni London asked me to come in to take part in a seminar since I was assisting a few big stylists. Around when I got fired, I got a job offer to teach styling at their new school in Miami. I knew it would give me a lot of stability.
SF: What is it like going from styling to teaching it?
LM: First, it’s much less creative from when I was shooting all time, but is very interesting and I love sharing my knowledge with the students. I read a lot and come up with things for my presentations, and what I will teach my students. We talk a lot about visual inspiration from art, music or cinema. We do a lot of color psychology and analysis of the image. How to identify a concept, and how to speak through images. We also go into fashion history and some graphic design.
SF: Do you still use a lot of what you learned from your job as an assistant stylist in your job as a teacher today?
LM: Honestly now as a teacher I don’t deal with things like that. But the experience taught me so much in terms of humanity. Because I went through so much and got called every name in the book, there is really nothing that makes me lose patience or gets me mad anymore. Unless it is like failing health or an issue with a family member. I definitely feel so much stronger now, and I feel like everything is such a tiny problem, that there is always a way to fix it.
Be sure to check out Lucrezia’s work at lucreziamancini.com.
This interview was contributed by Shellie Frai, a senior at the University of Miami and Marketing Director at Miansai. Interested in sharing an interview with a woman who inspires you? Feel free to email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.