Longtime editorial stylist Venetia Scott, who's been photographing for magazines for the past five years and moonlights as creative director for both Marc Jacobs (she styles the show) and Marc by Marc Jacobs (she's involved in researching color choices, fabrics, and prints), told Ponystep recently that despite their contribution to her livelihood, magazines are failing to intrigue her:
"I find magazines less and less interesting — I don’t really buy magazines or look at magazines. I mean I’ve got a twelve year old [daughter with ex-husband Juergen Teller] and we were talking about it yesterday — she’ll go on the internet and probably look at something like your [online] magazine [Ponystep] more. She would not ever go to a newsagent and buy a magazine. And even here when we get sent ones that I’ve got work in, she’s not really interested in it. In a way I’m doing less editorial because it seems a bit tired now."
On advertisers' increasing influence over magazine editorials:
"When I first started at [British] Vogue [around 1987] you’d get all the clothes in, have your rail and you’d make looks. Whereas now the designers do the looks. You can’t mix Chanel now with other designers — the power of advertising is that if you don’t do it in the way that they want you to shoot it then the magazines become scared that they’ll lose the cash. When I first started there wasn’t really any bargaining power between the advertisers and editorial; they were two completely separate things. Now it’s ‘I’ll take out a couple of pages and you give me a couple of pages.’"
"Maybe I’m very lucky because I’ve got a contract with Marc Jacobs. While that goes on I’m ‘safe’, so it’s very easy for me to say ‘f*ck it!’ It’s like a safety net."
"On the styling side now, even if you work for big, biannual magazines, before you start you’ve got ten designers you have to include over twelve pages . . . How can you do that when you’ve got those restrictions on you? I never really do that, and maybe I’m lucky because I’ve done it for so long. I don’t really have the fear that if I use a pair of sneakers on the end of a Chanel outfit that I’m never going to work again. If you’re new and you’re given ten outfits for ten pages you’re going to shoot them because if you don’t then there’s a real fear you’re not in the magazine next time; you didn’t follow the rules. Whereas I tend to think that I won’t do it — if I don’t work for them again it doesn’t really matter because I’ll work for someone else. Which happens a lot. Someone gets fed up with you and you don’t work for them the next season."
On how the pressure is affecting other stylists:
"I think [many stylists] play the game much, much more. And there’s even some who I’m so surprised that they’re playing this game — they don’t realise that if they didn’t play it they’d still get the work because they’re good, you know? I was talking to someone, saying ‘why are you doing all this stuff, why are you doing all these shoots?’ And he says because his agent says so, he has to do this, that and the other. You’re the one that’s really in control, you know? I’m amazed that they’re listening to their agents. And I’m amazed by stylists that are also maybe a bit younger than me but sort of my contemporaries, who are established and good, and they’re saying they have to include all these credits. I've done shoots with these stylists and I think ‘just say f*ck it, it didn’t work’. It doesn’t work within the story. The sense of belief is going to be broken because there’s a Prada shirt sticking out like a sore thumb and we’re meant to be doing Russian prisoners. If you put that in, it’s not believable anymore."