Object Lessons: How An Award-Winning Prop Stylist Creates Eye-Popping Magazine Visuals

An argument with Naomi Campbell convinced stylist Philip Shubin to change his focus from people to inanimate objects. For a decade he had been dressing TV personalities (Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric) and actors (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford) for photo shoots, but working with diva models was becoming increasingly fraught.

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The Fashion Institute of Technology alumnus told a disgruntled Campbell, “I can make a bed look just as voluptuous as a model, but the bed wouldn’t complain that the skirt’s too tight.”

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That was in 1996. Since then, Shubin has created arresting still-life scenes as a prop stylist for L’Oréal, Maybelline, Olay, and Stetson, as well as GQ and Marie Claire magazines. He also teaches styling to precollege students at FIT.

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The most important traits of a prop stylist, he says, are resourcefulness and a keen eye for detail. “I have to realize my client’s dreams on time and under budget,” he says. “I have to create something out of nothing.”

FIT’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies offers courses in many types of styling, including fashion and prop styling. Courses and intensives begin throughout the fall. Browse the catalog and register at fitnyc.edu/continuing-ed

 

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