The Stylist B. Akerlund on Her Seems to be for Beyonc? and Other Stars

December 19th, 2013

“Yesterday I woke up and it was Beyonc?, all working day,” said the stylist B. Akerlund by telephone on Monday from her native Sweden, in which she experienced returned for the holidays just as the star was releasing her new self-titled album on the Net, created with a probably unprecedented canny stealth and marketing a record 828,773 units worldwide in significantly less than three times. “People actually went sort of insane about it.”

Though she was accountable for Beyonc?’s seems to be in 4 of the album’s 17 new videos, 2 of which ended up directed by her partner, Jonas Akerlund, Ms. Akerlund claimed that she, like the media and general general public, was totally ignorant of her client’s programs — although the charge at which movies have been “being pumped out,” she mentioned, did arouse a imprecise suspicion.

Acquiring the most consideration hence considerably has been the guide track, “Pretty Hurts,” directed by Melina Matsoukas and styled by Ms. Akerlund: a bleak critique of pageant culture and an image-obsessed culture that functions plastic surgery, a svelte design producing a meal of a cotton ball, and Beyonc? forcing herself to vomit in a bathroom stall, among other harrowing scenes.

“It’s true daily life,” said Ms. Akerlund, who is aware of the matter nicely, getting also worked with Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Madonna and Fergie. “That’s what ladies go by means of to look good, and it’s truly sad. I believe it’s actually robust of someone like Beyonc? to set that on the map, and say this isn’t O.K. and rather does damage and it’s not straightforward to be ideal.”

A single may well argue, of program, that a stylist’s whole raison d’?tre is to make her subjects search glamorous, if not perfect — see arguably the most productive 1 of the past ten years, Rachel Zoe — but Ms. Akerlund, 38, is a horse of an completely distinct colour. In an period when the crimson-carpet entrance has been commoditized to a large sheen, damaged down into a laundry list of product credits, she sees herself far more as a storyteller, supporting pop stars to visually determine figures that provide a narrative and enhance their inventive bona fides in the approach.

To wit: for Beyonc?’s entrance onto the pageant phase in “Pretty Hurts,” Ms. Akerlund picked a pair of vintage nineteen twenties bunny ears because, she believed, they “brought some perception of innocence to her character.” In an additional scene, the star workouts in a We Are Handsome print bodysuit beneath a gold, padlocked brace corset (O.K., by Dolce &amp Gabbana). “There’s practically nothing much more calming than a steel corset when you are functioning out,” Ms. Akerlund explained dryly.

Though she has discreetly toiled guiding the scenes for far more than two decades, the stylist, like rather a lot everyone in the era of social media, appears a lot more than prepared to claim her own second in the spotlight.

Months before, at her Hollywood studio, she was not just styling but taking part in the major role in a image shoot for &amp Other Stories, a new H&ampM fashion and components brand name. And she was enjoying it with gusto.

“Get me the leash!” demanded Ms. Akerlund with a maniacal titter as an entourage in white lab coats sprang into action. One of her assistants, Blaze Stow, dressed in a equipped gray Hugo Manager fit and black vintage leather tie, returned sporting a leather-based canine collar and prolonged chained leash. “She’s obsessed with this nowadays,” stated Mr. Stow, with an indulgent eye roll. Wearing a long-sleeve glossy black costume with a jacquard paneled skirt from the &amp Other Tales assortment, Ms. Akerlund — whose very own default look is portion midcareer Shannen Doherty, component Morticia Addams — led her leashed assistant down the hallway although the Swedish photographer John Scarisbrick clicked absent and Depeche Mode’s “Master and Servant” boomed above the seem program.

She stopped in close proximity to the elevator. “Get on your knees,” the stylist demanded. “On all fours!” Mr. Stow dutifully obeyed. Far more photos.

In the elevator on the way down to the street, Marissa Gonzales, yet another of Ms. Akerlund’s assistants. turned to Mr. Stow to commiserate. “It’s O.K., I experienced the puppy mask on before,” she mentioned.

Outside the house the studio, positioned fifty percent a block south of the nonetheless considerably seedy intersection of Hollywood and Vine, two police officers on bicycles ended up evaluating the consciousness of a slumped-more than guy as a 1979 boxy Rolls-Royce with a black best and cream-colored sides slowly and gradually emerged from the alley. From the rear passenger seat, Ms. Akerlund leaned out the window, her blond-by-nature, jet-black-by-style hair cascading over the doorway. Mr. Scarisbrick eagerly snapped away as the chauffeur, played by Mr. Stow, reversed the Rolls together Vine. Oblivious to the goings-on of the law enforcement driving the vehicle, Ms. Akerlund joked to the photographer: “Do you have any Gray Poupon?”

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