Camila Cabello's Stylist on the Singer's 'Modern-Chic and Elegant' Fashion Wardrobe: Exclusive
"I’m letting her take the lead and doing what makes her happiest," says stylist Jennifer Mazur.
For our first Stylist Spotlight of 2018, we take a glimpse into the creative mind of Jennifer Mazur, an alumna of USC's Thornton School of Music and a favorite of the modeling set, who is responsible for Camila Cabello's fresh and lady-like style. After helming a now-defunct women's contemporary ready-to-wear line for five years, Mazur stumbled into the world of styling after working overseas with a client for five months and eventually returning back to the States as supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio's future right-hand stylist.
Over the past five years, Mazur has made a name for herself as the modeling industry's favorite stylist; Candice Swanepoel, Bianca Balti, Sara Sampaio, Irina Shayk, and Olivia Culpo along with actresses Roslyn Sanchez and Baywatch's Ilfenesh Hadera are all fans of Mazur's "modern minimalist" approach to fashion.
On the cusp of Cabello's debut solo album, Camila, we spoke to Mazur about helping to define the 20-year-old artist's blossoming fashion sensibility, pushing each other to try new looks, and the wardrobe staples every woman needs in her closet. Get to know the in-demand stylist exclusively below.
How did you two first connect?
We started working together in September , and it’s funny because I always stayed away from music artists. Over the years, I've gotten a lot of interest from the music world, but I've always wanted to stay away from it because I've never really loved the way pop stars dress. It can appear a bit too costumey, and I thought it would affect my branding and how I want to be regarded in the industry.
When we had a meeting, the things Camila said to me were very along the lines of how I look at a pop star and how I put together a look for one of my girls. It’s high-fashion, cool and they're still clean and elegant with it, and they look expensive. I never want to be cheap looking -- even if its a lesser expensive brand -- I always want to elevate how it photographs. She said a lot of things that resonated with me and sounded incredible, and I let her know that I would love to work with her.
Four words to describe Camila's style?
Modern-chic, sultry, tasteful, and elegant.
Walk us through the collaborative process. What is a fitting like for you both?
Camila has a really good sense of the direction she wants to go in, which really helps me when I am looking for pieces to try. Before a fitting, we’ll go back and forth a lot, usually over text messages since she’s always traveling. There are guidelines for things I know to stay away from because she feels it’ll take her in a different direction, so I just keep the song she’s performing or promoting in mind. There’s been a lot of “Havana” performances, so we went in one direction and for her new song “Never Be The Same,” it’s a little darker and different. She’s playing guitar for this, and it’s going to be a bit more rock n roll.
With all of that, I keep in mind who in the fashion industry we are trying to attract. And then I work to incorporate colors because I’m such a modern minimalist as a stylist--I don't love most colors--so it's been fun with her because I'm teaching myself more about colors, and what works beautifully on her skin tone. She has this beautiful porcelain doll-type skin; it’s milky white that when put together, she can kind of look like a doll, so I've been playing with that a little because it keeps her looking young but makes her look really fresh and it’s different then what we’ve seen in the past. I really think about the branding and the story that she wants to tell, so I’m letting her take the lead and doing what makes her happiest.
Who are your favorite brands to pull for her?
Well, I'm in the process of still building that list because our relationship is fairly new, but I would definitely say Dolce and Gabbana. I love that Dolce is very into millennials and young pop stars right now. Prince inspires her and what he was doing in the early '80s always comes up in conversations, which I think is so cool! We’re also inspired by Madonna and how she has dressed over the years. I wouldn't say when she was doing “Like a Virgin,” but when she started using high fashion designers to do her Blonde Ambition Tour looks; if you look at those photos, the outfits are unbelievable. So, I'm looking for brands that can help us go in that direction which is why Dolce has been on our goal list. Chanel is also on our goal list because she loves Karl Lagerfeld and what he represents. We haven't gotten there, but it’s a very consistent goal of mine. I actually just asked John Paul Gaultier for some stuff, and I'm hoping they say yes, I would say those are three important, relevant brands who were interested in having a strong relationship with.
Style-wise, what does Camila get most excited about?
Well, she has this really cute thing that she does. I find it so sweet and adorable, and it’s what lets me know she loves the look. If we try something on, and she stands in front of the mirror and says “I want to get married in this” it means alright, we hit the jackpot. [Laughs]. With her schedule and the amount she is required to handle on any given day, I am very impressed with how personable she is with everyone in the room -- from tailors to my interns -- it's just a matter-of-fact way. She’ll greet every single person in the room, not because that’s what’s expected of her, it’s just how her brain works, and it’s very very sweet.
Out of all the gorgeous looks you’ve put her in, which is your favorite and why?
It’s funny, because I don’t know if she’s going to think this, but the Dolce & Gabbana look that we did for Billboard’s Women in Music is my favorite. It was so different for her and so covered up, and when I look at those photos, she looks like a star. The Monique Lhuillier gown she wore to the Latin Grammys is also another favorite, and those colors are so beautiful on her.
Camila's fans have vocalized their enthusiasm for her style on your Instagram account. Tell us more about their feedback.
The reaction has been fascinating -- I get a lot of direct messages from her fans and their moms thanking me. They'll tell me, "Thanks for showing my daughter that there’s a way to look beautiful without showing every body part and proving that elegance can be sexy." In the industry, yes sex sells, but the definition of what is considered sexy is different to everyone’s eyes and for me as long as she always looks beautiful that's sexy.
And coming from the model world where everyone wants to show skin, I want to show people that I'm not just a model stylist and there's more to my eye than doing just the obvious. Camila has let me do that with her, and it's been really fun. To get to a point where Dolce & Gabbana quickly noticed Camila's style and are interested in loaning to her was amazing!
You two collaborate on outfits for the red carpet, press events, street style, performances and music videos. What are the differences in styling for these different types of industry-related events?
They’re all completely different. For a red carpet, it's just one outfit, and you're hoping that you get the perfect pant and top or dress, although it's hard to get what you want every single time. With street style you get to be more creative -- I do mine a bit more editorial -- play with layers, cuts and colors because there’s not really any rules, so there's more room to play.
Her performance looks are very specific, and most of them come with a creative direction. An outfit might need to be a certain color or relate to the song she’s performing. There are a lot more guidelines because it’s not just about asking designers if they are interested in loaning. If we want something red because the background requires she wears something red, then we have to find everyone who makes something in that color. It’s much more specific and to me the biggest challenge so far.
And music videos, that's a little more fun because you get to play and you're not so concerned about angles as much because with a carpet you need to make sure it photographs well from the front and the sides. At the end of the day, it’s about making Camila look her very best.
What are some fashion must-haves to recreate Camila’s signature style?
A white pointy leather pump, some fun messenger boy caps. We’ve been playing with men's suiting a lot, and beautiful white blouses. Lots of white in general, I’d say it's probably her favorite color and mine as well, so it works great.
Who are some emerging designers that have caught your eye?
I’m in love with Monse and Jacquemus, even though Jacquemus has been around, he’s become more well-known as recent. Tbilisi, which is designed by Tamuna Ingorokva, is another one. I’m very obsessed and intrigued by 80’s fashion. Not so much the big hair, but there’s something very expensive and sexy about that style era. I just love the big shoulders, stockings with pumps, the big bold red lip with the red nails, and sleek hair -- I’m trying to do as much of that as possible. So designers who’ve done that as far as emerging designers are the ones I’m really attracted to.
What are some wardrobe staples every woman should have in her closet?
I think every woman should have a scarf collection. Faliero Sarti makes such gorgeous scarves, and they cut them in a way that falls beautifully around the neck. For me, it’s about the accessories that help finish a look, and I know this sounds very funny, but one thing I actually work a lot on for my own styling kit and help build for my clients to have is an incredible belt collection. Its something nobody ever thinks about and the perfect belt can help finish off a look. A woman should have the perfect black belt collection with silver and gold hardware and a camel or beige belt collection with silver and gold hardware. Those are staples that you’ll be able to utilize for 20 plus years if you really invest in that and keep it simple. I love belts from CS Simko, and the guy behind it is now making custom colors for me.
Fashion pet peeve?
I don’t like clothes made with cheap materials, anything tacky, mixing prints, crop tops, and the heavy makeup trend because it’s about making a woman look beautiful, and enhancing the features on her face.
Next piece you’re treating yourself to?
Over the weekend I just treated myself to two new Hermes belts. It’s very unlike me, because I don’t treat myself to that much, but I was very excited about that purchase.
Tell us about one of your no-fail styling tips.
A lot of the time I like to show the decolletage or collarbone, because there's something very sexy about that part of a woman, and I find that whatever her body shape is, it always seems to work.
Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring stylists?
You're never too above any task. Styling is an incredible amount of work, its long hours, not as glamorous as it looks. I never have my team do something I've never done countless times myself. Sometimes, I’ll have a new intern come in, and they're surprised I ask them to wash a blouse. I'm not saying that's what they're worthy of, but I washed ten of them today, and now they can wash this one today. Others might come in with the idea that because they know who all the models are, they're too good or above doing the work, and this is the get down on your hands and knees kind of job.
Anyone who is a successful stylist definitely comes with a very artsy brain and business sense. If you're brilliant yet can't do the other side, it's going to be way more difficult to have a thriving business, especially with celebrity styling where you're at the beck and call of a client because you work until they're happy.