Allex Parlato: The Curators Corner
Australian native Allex Parlato shares her unique insights into the world of fashion editing and styling.
By: Kyle Haffermann
Portrait shot by Tre Miles
United States based stylist, creative director, and editor, Allex Parlato has forged a path of her own, tailored to her exact specifications.
Growing up in Perth Australia, Parlato fell in love with fashion writing and styling. At the young age of 19, Parlato, was bestowed the title of Fashion Editor for Fashion Voyeur Magazine. From this, she was inadvertently launched into the role of fashion stylist, a position that came naturally to her based on her instincts and taste. Her desire to interact with clients, love of writing, and knack for editorial creation each helped in the development of her blog, The Curators Corner. The blog highlights an array of looks and allows Parlato to share her polished visual perspective on fashion.
Parlato sees fashion editing as a contradiction: the brains and vision behind a shoot that does not reap the benefits of its success. The history of fashion has been shaped by the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Franca Sozzani, and Suzy Menkes. Their unique perspectives have lent to the global conversation on fashion. Parlato’s might just be the next one.
Fashion Voyeur Magazine cover 2013.
Portrait shot by Alyssa Gibson
Where are you from?
I am from Australia, but I was born in New Zealand.
When did your interest in fashion begin?
I went to art school, then did a bit of modeling and eventually interned at a fashion magazine where I went on to become the fashion editor.
What would you say was the most challenging part about being so young and being given the title of Fashion Editor?
Feeling like I constantly needed to prove myself. The pressure of, “Is this good enough? Am I enough?” was always at the back of my mind. Working with people, professionals who were double my age and had been in the industry before I was born and then establishing a relationship with these people who respected my opinions and ideas, it was something that didn’t happen overnight.
How did you transition from fashion editing into styling?
I used to organize the magazine’s content and in doing this I kind of merged into a stylist role (naturally). I was responsible for the magazine’s international presence and I received a project of working in New York. In New York, every creative team is looking for a stylist, someone with access to new collections, someone who knows what’s up. There were many times I kind of just accidentally slipped and fell into the role.
Tell us about your blog, “The Curators Corner.”
I love writing, I love the rhythms of words and language. It gives me an opportunity to show potential clients a little more about who I am and what interests me. Good fashion banter and insight into my personality.
What is your typical workday like with your clients?
Depending on who or where it is, New York is typically editorials where somewhere like DC is more wardrobe audits or personal shopping.
What is an important lesson that you learned by working in the fashion/styling industry?
What advice would you give to a beginning stylist?
Experiment, you’ll have wins and you’ll have loses, have fun and stay authentic to your style, it’s your watermark, your signature perfume per se. Stay authentic, the coin will follow.
How would you define your personal style?
Masculine, feminine, Nouveau Riche, playful.
These days we see a change in gender normative fashion towards a more neutral/androgynous look. What do you think has created this movement?
It will always go hand in hand, this flirt between masculinity and femininity, Chanel birthed it, Galliano embraced it, and Westwood cremated it. Fashion is conversation.
What design lessons have you learned from your travels between continents?
We can all learn a thing or two from Scandinavia.
Portrait shot by Karima Omar
What are your style influences?
British rock stars. The mod movement.
What role does fashion editing play in the world of fashion design?
The fashion editor has the easiest and the hardest job in the room, she is the middle man, the person behind the scenes, she is the orchestrator and the water boy dressed in one. If the project collapses, she’s to blame, and if it’s a hit, the photographer or model will get all the credit. She’s the problem and the situation.
Is fashion editing still relevant with the rise of Instagram and influencer culture?
I think it is. The job of a fashion editor as a professional is quite intricate. I would not feel at all confident putting an influencer in charge of a publication or asking them to pull together an editorial, with a team, a location and a deadline. Would you get a lawyer to fix your plumbing? As great and influential as influencers are, publishing a magazine isn’t like managing a blog or an Instagram account.
What kind of feeling do you get from helping style someone? What do they get out of it?
I enjoy helping clients get out of their comfort zone and experiment in a way they thought they never could. I create an environment where we discover new looks, new prints and that makes them comfortable.
Do you have a role model or individual who you look up to from an editorial standpoint? Who and Why?
I love Pernille Tieback, she’s a stylist entrepreneur. Very Scandinavian in fact she wrote a book on it! She speaks my language in terms of styling. Writing by Joan Didion of course.
Did you notice a change in your style around the time of having children?
I was a little lost for words after children and marriage but if anything, I was extra determined not to lose myself in that process.
Why do you think women mostly feel this need to “change” their fashion and lifestyle after having children?
Having a family and running a household is hard. I think most people get tired and self-care slips. Priorities change and there for image changes. A lot of my stay at home mom clients reach a point where they want to get their power back, they want to get in touch with how they dressed pre-domestic duties. We sift through their wardrobe and get rid of things that are holding them back from their style goals and then we buy things that get them closer.