Tantalum: Thank you for contributing the in the 4th issue of Tantalum can you tell us how the process of picking the clothing came about?
JJ Liongson: You're welcome. It was definitely a pleasure. Working with a great team made it all possible.
Returning to your question, after having found a great model to work with, Nick Aitken, the photographer, and I randomly exchanged thoughts on a possible theme for the shoot. We came up with the idea of using some kind of armor being that clothing is just as well some sort of protection. My outfit selections then pretty much stemmed from this.
Tantalum: Why did you decide to use those particular pieces for the shoot?
JJ Liongson: Drawing from the vision and seeing that winter was soon approaching, I decided to work with fur and layers, both suggesting protection from the cold. And having found the headpieces that fit pefectly with the concept, I decided to work in a military aesthetic to tie everything together.
Tantalum: Do you usually base your styling on the direction the photographer gives you or on hair, makeup??
JJ Liongson: Unless it is a beauty shoot, I usually base the styling on the direction provided by the photographer. However, being a former makeup artist myself, I also like to make sure that the makeup artist and I are on the same page in terms of translating the vision into a look. I think this is a great way to ensure a sense of cohesiveness in a spread.
Tantalum: What where some of the challenges you faced when you where selecting pieces for the shoot??
JJ Liongson: Actually, the challenge really was trying to get the initial direction I was given off the ground. I seemingly started out with a mish-mash of stuff I was not too happy with - until I found the headpieces. The look of the headpieces set off everything else for me. Selecting and editing was a breeze after that.
Tantalum: Would you say you have a "style"?
JJ Liongson: I wouldn't exactly call it a "style". I feel that owning to one would limit my creativity. I do, however, am most adrenalized when working with a certain aesthetic. There's something about edge and hardness to the clothes, rawness and deconstruction, and underlying connotations of power and sexuality that gets me excited.
Tantalum: How did you get into styling? was it something you always wanted to do or was it a fortunate accident?
JJ Liongson: I was always fascinated by it but I never really thought I'd actually be doing it. Then i took a senior styling class my last semester in school. I was a Fashion Merchandising major. And that's when I knew I had to. It took 3 months for me to build what I deemed a strong portfolio for a novice. Since then, there's been no looking back.
Tantalum: Do you have any mentors/muses?
JJ Liongson: No actual mentors but many artists inspire me, photographers, designers, bloggers, pure artists - all in various ways. I also try to assist other stylists everytime I get a chance. I think it's inspiring to see other people passionate about their work and a great way to learn and pick new techniques.
Tantalum: What do you look for when figuring out what designers you are going to work with?
JJ Liongson: It all really depends on the direction I am given. I don't mind mixing designers or even high-low for that matter so I base my selection on what I believe best captures the concept or the feel we wish to achieve.
Tantalum: What inspires you?
JJ Liongson: Alot of things inspire me. Art. People. Places. Objects. Even events. However, if I had to name a single person, it would be Alexander McQueen. His sensibility, the juxtaposition in his ideas, his ability to see beauty in ugliness, and the depth of his imagination is all extremely fascinating to me.
Tantalum: How did it feel to see you work in print for the very first time?
JJ Liongson: It's unexplainable. It motivated me to work harder and made me realize that I was on the right track. I was beyond ecstatic!
Tantalum: What advise would you have for a new wardrobe stylist trying to get into session work?
JJ Liongson: I'd say, "keep trying." It could be difficult at first. You'll get turned down, criticized but just stick to it. Keep working. The best way really to learn is on set. If they love what they're doing, be patient. Things will come in it's own time. Rome wasn't built in a day. That's what I tell myself everyday.
Tantalum: Final thoughts funny stuff that happened on shoot day zipper didn't work?
JJ Liongson: None that I can remember. I always make it a point to check and prepare everything the night before to prevent mishaps on the day of. Nonetheless, it was a good shooting day for us. Everything and everyone was pretty chill. And the fact that I worked with an amazing team just made all the difference.