Sèven questions with the man behind Jenna Ortega's style: Enrique Melendez
Welcome back to the SèveN! In this edition we chat with seasoned stylist Enrique Melendez, a master of storytelling through clothing.
Welcome back to the Sèven! This week we sat down with Enrique Melendez: a master of storytelling through clothing, transforming red carpets into narratives, and promotion through sartorial artistry. His looks for the Wednesday press tour notably contributed to the "Wednesday-core" aesthetic that sparked a goth revival.
Enrique delves into working with celebrity talents like Jenna Ortega and how he builds style with a listening ear and a flair for individuality, discusses the challenges of the profession, and shares some words of wisdom for the next generation of stylists.
How do you think stylists contribute to supporting and shaping the industry as a whole?
E.M.: In so many ways! When it comes to Hollywood in particular, people are chiming in to see what actors are wearing during big promotional tours like Barbie, the Little Mermaid, or Wednesday. These projects get a wider audience involved in fashion.
As stylists we have a responsibility to deliver the fashion the world is asking for. I think telling a story through looks is part of how you promote a movie. That's is not to say to say it should feel like a costume, but a homage to the project coming out.
On that note, is there a specific look you worked on that you feel made a real impact in terms of shaping the Zeitgeist?
E.M.: As of recently, I would say the Wednesday promotional tour. We hit it off with the premiere in the black Versace veiled gown and that set off the whole “Wednesday-core”, “goth-core” aesthetic. That was incredible to see! I've even seen people recreate some of the red carpet looks that we've done on instagram or for Halloween.
Can you talk a little about the process of collaboration with your celebrity talent? Jenna Ortega in particular you've been styling since she was 14. How do you help someone develop and grow into their personal brand in terms of style?
E.M.: The main departing point is listening, and I don't just mean words, but also unspoken things you may pick up on in your clients: what's going in their lives, the music they are listening to, or what excites them. I try to figure out what resonates with my clients because, not only does it make them feel seen and heard, but you're also giving them license to be a part of their own image. That's super important to me.
I also always say: “someone may not know exactly what they want, but they often know what they don't want.” Whether that's a color or a silhouette, I always take very careful note of that. It doesn't mean you can't bring it anyway, but make sure you have everything else they ask for.
I try to figure out what resonates with my clients because, not only does it make them feel seen and heard, but you're also giving them license to be a part of their own image.
What's the most difficult part of job?
E.M.: Having an eye for fashion and style is such a minute part of what we do, and when we get to focus on that, it's an amazing feeling! But majority is logistical considerations, shipping packages, tracking packages, following up on emails…It's also about managing different personalities and staying professional even in the most stressful times. Everyone is busy and juggling a lot, particularly during award season, so I check myself and try always to remember that.
In terms of brand credits, yours seem to range from very established brands, to more emerging talent, is it important to you given your position in the industry to keep and eye on the next generation of designers too?
E.M.: Yes - absolutely! I think as stylists we have a responsibility to nurture new talent, whether that be other stylists, the talent themselves, or the designers we pull from. With designers, it comes full circle because that new generation will become the Creative Directors at the large houses that we pull from, or their brands will evolve into top-tier brands. It's good to start those relationships early, to locate, and give exposure to upcoming talent.
I think as stylists we have a responsibility to nurture new talent, whether that be other stylists, the talent themselves, or the designers we pull from.
Is there anything you are looking forward to? For many of our readers, you've “made-it” in the industry, do you have any dreams left?
E.M.: I think at some point I would like to work with some of my clients that I'm very close with on a collaboration or capsule collection. When the time is right, and we feel there is a void for something that we use a lot, or look for and can't find, I would consider delving into that world. Working closely with designers to combine our crafts and bring something to life would feel very fulfilling.
Is there any advice you would give to someone trying to follow in your steps or “words of wisdom” if you will?
E.M.: You should be looking for creative fulfilment, not praise. Yes, sometimes people will tell you “you did a great job”, or they loved your look, or “your look is going viral”, but that's not going to happen every single time. Sometimes your look is going to get on the worst dressed list, people are going to hate that look, and you're going to have to be ok with it because you are putting your art out there! Also be prepared to work hard, and to not be in a glamorous setting 95% of the time.
You should be looking for creative fulfilment, not praise.
We hope you enjoyed our conversation with Enrique! To see more of his creative work check out his instagram.
Enrique Melendez is one of 850+ stylists managing their projects on Sève, to learn more about how Sève can make your styling life easier reach out to us on Instagram or email us at email@example.com.
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