Written by William Oliver
The man behind The Saturdays various looks, last season's X-Factor contestant outfits and who spent five years as the Fashion Editor of Attitude Magazine, stylist Frank Strachan more than knows his way around a stage-worthy power-pop wardrobe.
Frank initially launched into the industry after an accidental meeting with Kylie Minogue's Creative Director, William Baker. This soon led onto Frank being commissioned to create a series of outfits for first the pop princess' dancers and subsequently the lady herself. Frank has now styled a whole host of the world's most prominent girls and boys, adding his unique aesthetic but clearly understanding that a stylist is there to compliment the artists he is working with.
We caught up with Frank to talk through the skills he uses to emphasise a pop artists personality, what goes into a stage look and how important it is to really get to know your clients.
Kylie Minogue performs in concert at the start of her Fever tour
District MTV: What were your first jobs like?
Frank Strachan: Working with Kylie's team was so much fun, and incredibly intense; everything would end up on the covers of all the tabloids. Kylie had just come through a very sexy Dolce & Gabbana period for her Fever album tour; we worked on keeping this moving with the introduction of Balenciaga and Helmut Lang - then still at the helm of his label - into her wardrobe.
DMTV: When did you start at Attitude Magazine?
FS: I first worked for Attitude when I was 16, work experience from comprehensive school! I came down from Blackpool and assisted the then Fashion Director, Adrian Clark, but I returned 5 years ago properly. I've actually just left! Its been a brilliant time.
DMTV: What did the job entail?
FS: At Attitude I oversaw all of the fashion content, the style pages, main fashion, covers, whatever was needed of me. I had a brilliant team, Elauan Lee and Chris Hobbs, I would come up with the concepts, mood board cover ideas, get images approved through PR's and managers, call in the samples for the shoots, and then style on the shoots, as well as overseeing additional content for the iPad version.
DMTV: Going from a menswear magazine to styling The Saturdays, what were the differences?
FS: With editorial, the models have to wear what you ask them to, whereas celebrity or music acts are a client who you work with to make them feel as confident as possible. It's less about how I see them stylistically, but more about collaborating.
DMTV: Do you have a close relationship and how quickly did you get to know what each of the girls was like?
FS: I have worked with The Saturdays since their second video 'UP', so I feel like I know them personally very well. They're really very open and interesting girls to hang out with. Its important when styling a band to understand them as best as you can, but like all of us our tastes change, so sometimes I get it wrong, or I challenge them, or they challenge me!
DMTV: What is an average day like working with them?
FS: It's a cliché, but there is never really an average day! They're so much fun, and full of character, there's often a drama of some sort or some brilliant gossip, and a lot of laughter. Everything takes so long when there are five girls, so you have to be constantly watching the clock, to make sure you aren't the reason things get off schedule!
DMTV: How do their individual styles differ and what brands do they each like to wear?
FS: Each of the girls has her own style, but we try and pull these together a bit when they're all at the same event. I love shopping in the High St. for them, River Island, Tophop, New Look, Miss Selfridge, Oasis, Warehouse, I'm in these stores daily! Frankie loves The Kooples, Mollie wears a lot of Sandro, Rochelle is currently pregnant and so we are looking at maternity options. Vanessa dresses in more streetwear mixed with high fashion pieces, Una is a little rockier than the others, and loves boots and skinny jeans.
DMTV: What has been the most exciting thing you have worked on with them?
FS: Going on Fashion Police was really exciting and performing at the Golden Globes after party was brilliant, just for the sheer bizarreness of the crowd of A-listers, plus bumping into J:Lo at the lift.
DMTV: You also worked on the X-factor contestants, what is the atmosphere like before the performances?
FS: I tried to keep things light and crack jokes. Those contestants get barely any chance to rehearse, so they can get incredibly nervous. It's my job to make sure they aren't worrying about their clothes, as they have plenty of other things to be worrying about!
DMTV: What goes into one of the X-factor looks?
FS: I get a creative treatment for each performance a week in advance, although I don't get too carried away with the outfit, in case they get thrown off the show the weekend before! From the creative treatment, I make sure I'm working with the other visuals of what's happening on stage, and also that there's no clashes within the show. Some pieces are custom made. Then just before the main show there is a full dress run, after which I have an hour to make any changes that the station or producers or record company might need to be made. It's all very fast!
DMTV: Who was your favourite contestant to work with?
FS: I had such a fantastic year of contestants. Jahmene was an amazing guy to meet, the nicest guy I've had the pleasure to work with. Lucy was great fun, and Ella was a sweetheart.
DMTV: Is there anyone you would really like to style and why?
FS: Celine Dion, she really does amaze me. I want to run away to Vegas and style her show. I'm obsessed by her documentaries. Oh and Bonnie Tyler.