The name Simone Harouche may not be familiar, but you’ve probably seen her work. Harouche is the stylist behind Miley Cyrus’ latest fashion phase.
“I love styling because it’s constantly changing,” Harouche — who has also worked with Christina Aguilera and Nicole Richie — told EW. “The things you’re working on are inspired by the job. There’s a new music video, a new concept. It keeps things fresh because you’re not just doing the same look over and over.”
Harouche — who splits her time between styling and designing a handbag collection called Simone Camille – dressed Cyrus for the much-discussed music video for We Can’t Stop and is helping the star decide what to wear to the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night.
Read on to see what the celebrity stylist-turned-designer says about Miley’s fashion evolution, what we can expect at Sunday’s VMA show, and her new collaboration with popular L.A. based artists clamdiggin.
Entertainment Weekly: What’s it like working with Miley?
Simone Harouche: Miley is really fun. She’s open to trying new things. With every artist, especially musicians, when they put out a new album, their look needs to mirror what their sound is. With this new departure and new sound, Miley wanted to evolve as someone who is into fashion and style. It’s a matter of listening to her music and hearing the vibe and going from there. I think [to myself], “I’m hearing this music, now how should this look? How should this sound look?” You create a package. She’s really fun and open to taking risks. She’s got an amazing body and she’s hot. We have a lot of fun.
What was your vision for the “We Can’t Stop” video?
There were a bunch of looks that weren’t even used. It was really fun to collaborate with Diane Martel, who was the director, and with Miley. Miley had specific ideas on what she wanted. It’s cool when someone who you work with is passionate about their projects because it makes you really passionate and excited. Diane and Miley both had a vision. It was fun to create that and carry that out and bring it to life.
What were some of the looks that weren’t used in the video? Might they pop up elsewhere?
No, [the clothes] were specific to the video. There were ideas and runway pieces that we got, but they just didn’t end up working because as the video evolved and as we were filming, certain things worked and certain things didn’t. Being a stylist, in general, you prep a lot and then what people actually see is only half of what was planned. You need to have options and always come prepared.
The VMA’s are on Sunday. Has Miley decided what to wear?
Yeah. We have our look, but I can’t [give anything away].
How do you help a client like Miley prep for a big event like the VMA’s?
I go through all the runway looks and we do requests with the showrooms and fashion PR people. We’ll end up having three or four racks of gowns and clothes. It depends on the client, but we usually have one or two fittings and narrow down the look. A lot goes into leading up to picking that outfit.
What do you look for in a VMA outfit and how is it different from other awards shows?
With the VMA’s, you can take more risks. You can have a little bit more fun. It’s not as serious as going to the Grammys or the Oscars. With the music industry, you can push the boundaries more. The Oscars are all about beautiful gowns and people look forward to seeing the fashions, which are stunning, runway pieces. It’s more serious and high-end. People in the music world love to push the envelope. [At the VMA's] you see people in shocking outfits.
In addition to styling celebrities, you have the Simone Camille handbag line. How did you go from being a stylist to designing?
I design a lot for my clients, so that’s part of my job. One of the aspects of styling is costume design. Whenever I would like something or have an idea for something, I would just make it. That’s how it started. Then I had an idea I wanted to make this bag and I imagined it in my head. It involved using old vintage fabrics that I had. I went to my pattern maker and created a bag. Then Nicole Richie saw my bag and was like, “What is that?” I made her one and she got photographed with it. Things just happened from there. I didn’t really set out to have a bag company, but it sort of happened.
You recently worked with popular L.A. based artists clamdiggin on a collection of 25 limited-edition, hand painted bags. (The collection retails for $1,584-$5,170 and will be available November 1st exclusively on SimoneCamille.com and through Los Angeles retailer Just One Eye.) How did the collaboration come about?
I’m really excited about it. clamdiggin painted my son’s wall in his nursery. I’m obsessed with everything they do. I thought it would be cool to do a collaboration with someone. My vintage bags are all one-of-a-kind, so I thought it would be cool to do something with an artist and make-one-of-a kind bags with our leather and skins. I had this idea to paint on leather and create little stories and have them be works-of-art in themselves. I talked to [clamdiggin founders] Alexander [Fisher] and Kevin [Johnson] and told them about my idea. They were stoked to do it.
Do you design handbags with your clients in mind?
No. I go with what I’m inspired by at the time. Maybe subconsciously some of my work [with different celebrities] rubs off on that, but the bags are definitely bohemian and whimsical. Sometimes my clients aren’t like that at all. They are all very different [from one another]. With the bags, the customer likes the bohemian, California aesthetic. We design for that girl.
How do each of your clients’ styles differ?
With every stylist in general, my job is to translate. People already have an image or a way of dressing or some sort of aesthetic. Everyone does. It’s how we feel comfortable. Everybody has their own style. My job as a stylist is to translate that. I put myself into her position. I try to see with her eyes. It’s a collaborative thing. They’re all different. It’s always just trying to take their style and push it further.
What direction do you see yourself moving in next?
I don’t know what’s next, but right now I’m happy with what I’m doing. I don’t really have a plan. Just like the bag line was an organic thing, I don’t know what’s next. Things change every day. I’m always open.