MEET THE STYLIST: DAVID THOMAS
Today we sat down with David Thomas, celebrity stylist, to find out how he got his big break, some of his most memorable panic moments, and his favorite designers. David Thomas is a world-renowned, well respected fashion stylist with over twenty-three years of experience in the fashion world and is considered one of the original pioneers of the celebrity stylist title.
In 1982 at the age of sixteen, David Thomas dropped out of school at the advice of his career teacher. The teacher stated, “You won’t pass your exams to gain entry to college and best to get a trade.” Upon that advice, David pursued a four-year plumbing apprenticeship. He was inspired by pictures of Boy George and his contemporaries out and about in the “New Romantic” scene and dreamt about going to London, meeting Boy George and becoming a fashion stylist. “A square peg in a round hole,” as a plumber, David became determined to fulfill his dreams. David left his plumbing and in 1988 applied for and received a grant from the Prince’s Trust. He used that grant to secure a place on the Enterprise Allowance Scheme and then began to invest the money in his first portfolio and moved to London. He began working as a freelance assistant to Isabella Blow and Ian R. Webb; eventually landing his dream job as an assistant to Judy Blame, Boy George’s stylist and jewelry designer. By 1990, David was himself styling Boy George and continued to do so for the next ten years.
In 1991 and at the age of twenty five, David became the youngest fashion editor in the world for British Esquire Magazine and subsequently at twenty-six, the youngest fashion editor in the US as contributing fashion editor of Esquire Gentleman. During the years that David worked at Esquire, the magazine had a policy of ‘no models’. David developed an alternative approach to filling the fashion pages and promoting fashion by using musicians, actors, artists and writers. In addition, David later worked as contributing fashion editor at Vogue Homme, L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Hommes International and Interview as well as contributing to American Vogue and Vanity Fair.
David is currently living in Hollywood and is the contributing fashion editor of Esquire UK, and continues to work for a number of magazines including Vanity Fair US, Vanity Fair Italy, L’Uomo Vogue, Flaunt, Tatler and American Esquire. Over the past twenty-three years of David’s career, he has worked with various clients such as: Oasis, Sting, The Verve, Snow Patrol, Liza Minelli, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Angelina Jolie, The Spice Girls, David and Victoria Beckham, Kylie Minogue, KD Lang, Robbie Williams, Dita Von Teese and Usher. He currently works with clients such as: Puff Daddy, Diddy Dirty Money, John Legend, Chris Brown, Britney Spears, Matthew McConaughey, Chris Hemsworth and Avril Lavigne
Simply Stylist: What is your favorite wardrobe item
David: It’s a black Christian Dior Homme nehru jacket from the last collection by Hedi Slimane. It never looks tired. I wear it often, with jeans and sneakers or with skinny pants and dress shoes.
SS: What’s your most memorable ‘panic moment’?
David: I have two! The first was in Las Vegas on a commercial for Ciroc Vodka (‘LUCK BE A LADY’ directed by Anthony Mandler) with Puff Daddy when they doubled the celebrity talent from 6 people to 12 people at 8pm the night before shooting started. The second was when I was asked to style Justin Bieber for the cover of Vibe Magazine an hour before the shoot was to begin.
SS: How did you recover from it gracefully?
David: For the Ciroc commercial, thank god we were in Vegas where the stores were open late! I was able to go and pull from John Varvatos and got up super early and managed to get the alterations done in time to start shooting at 10am. For the Bieber/Vibe cover, me and my two assistants split up, grabbed what we could, and made it work.
SS: What is your favorite fashion era?
David: Always the present, although I think men looked great in the 50′s and for women the 60′s were revolutionary.
SS: What was your big break?
David: Being made the fashion Editor of Esquire UK when I was 25 years old
SS: Whose closet would you most like to raid?
David: David Bowie’s……just to see all those amazing stage costumes close up, and David Beckham’s to wear.
SS: Who are your favorite designers?
David: It all depends what I’m working on, but I like sexy clothes so Dolce & Gabbana is always a good bet. For menswear I love Spencer Hart.
You can follow David on Twitter @DaveThomasStyle