Lucky shoppers of Soft Surroundings were recently treated to something special: free consultations with celebrity stylist Giuseppe Pizzuto. Pizzuto, a Sicilian living in New York City, is known for his lush, artistic fashion spreads in magazines like Italian Vogue, Surface and InStyle, and for dressing celebrity clients. He lends his talents to Soft Surroundings by styling their catalogs and advertisements. In an exclusive LN interview, Pizzuto shared his thoughts on style and the fashion industry.
LN: Where in Italy are you from?
GP: A town in the south of Sicily called Gasteldaccia. My father is a lawyer and got a real estate contract in America. My parents moved to New York, then Miami. After I graduated I moved to Miami, too.
LN: What did you study?
GP: I have a masters in literature, but in Miami I did lots of image consulting and personal shopping. Business men, in particular, can’t be bothered to shop. Then I began to do more commercial clients, and eventually I moved to NYC.
LN: How did you break into the fashion business in New York?
GP: Well, I started interning for an agency that represented makeup artists and stylists. I began assisting the stylists, got introduced to some celebrities and they started wanting me to style them. In L.A. it’s all about celebrities; in New York it’s about fashion. I missed the fashion part of it, so I went back to New York.
LN: How did you get involved with Soft Surroundings?
GP: My agency, Utopia, set me up with Soft Surroundings. I had a meeting with Robin, the owner, made my suggestions about the clothes and she liked what I had to say.
LN: What do you tell women who want to update?
GP: I ask them, ‘What’s your style? What do you like? What are your favorite colors?’ I wear only black and white and gray, with accents of color. I think it’s OK to have one particular style. I don’t want to change a person. I just try to push them to dare a little bit, to give their day a smile, try different elements, put a big ring on!
LN: Your editorial work is very artistic and dramatic. How does that differ from what you do for companies like SS?
GP: Companies are ‘lifestyle,’ magazines are fantasy. I love shape and contrast, like latex stockings with bows. It’s a fantasy look, a piece of art, like a painting. Soft Surroundings, that’s lifestyle and requires more realistic fashion.
LN: What inspires you?
GP: Definitely the runway. It was interesting this year, with the economy the way it is, at the New York shows everyone played it safe: investment pieces, timeless clothing. Paris went the opposite way. It was as if they were saying, ‘We won’t let this economy impinge on our dream.’
LN: What do you do when you’re not working?
GP: I work a lot. When I’m not working I’m still working! I’m making an effort to take more time off. I like to cook. I may have only frozen peas, some tuna and rice but then make a wonderful risotto! I also love music, I went to Miami for Winter Music Conference.
LN: What do you think of the makeover reality shows that tell people how to dress?
GP: Reality TV upsets me. Most of the time when I see the ‘before’ picture of the woman I think she looks better, more like herself. In the ‘after’ she looks like a puppet, like everyone else. You don’t need to change the person, just help them get updated!
LN: What do women want?
GP: To quote the famous Valentino, ‘Women want to look beautiful.’