Serena Marler Gaitskell is a freelance wardrobe and fashion stylist for film, television, commercials, print and editorial. Originally from England, she was Fashion Editor for the Sunday Express newspaper and covered the fashion season in Milan, Paris and London. Serena has made Barrington home since 2001 with her husband Rick and their children Portia, Lucien and Minty. Over cups of English tea (of course) we talked about spring fashion, when to clean out the closet and an American fashion staple: the sweat suit.
After this cold, crummy winter, what do we have to look forward to with the spring color palette?
Quite a lot of the bright colors but less on the neon: instead, a softer shade, more of the mouthwatering delicious sorbet shades of mint or coral. It is in everything from clothes to shoes.
What is the big new style?
The silhouette look. Wide leg pants and long full skirts that accentuate the waist are two big trends to watch – it may take a year or so to hit Rhode Island. I think there can be a balance in fashion these days, which can be translated into doing what works for you. There is not one set way to dress, which is kind of nice really.
Any big “it” pieces for 2014?
The biker jacket in any color other than black. Floral prints both small and oversized and by that I mean beyond the classic English rose garden look. Metallic texture in gold and silver are everywhere, and not just as accent pieces.
Rhode Islanders, like most Americans, have a more casual aesthetic to fashion. Is there any big look this season, which will work well here in the East Bay?
Anchors are a huge print for summer. They are everywhere, from home décor to fashion. An anchor print is perfect for Rhode Island, because it is preppy and we are near the coast. To have an anchor print on a pair of navy leggings with a top in a sorbet color is fun.
Do you have a favorite Rhode Island designer?
I love love love the gorgeous shoes of Allesandra Gold who was in Rhode Island and is now based in Miami. When I need shoes for a shoot I use her shoes. Her stuff is amazing.
How do you determine when it is time to clean out the wardrobe?
If you have not worn something in five years then get rid of it. Having said that I do have a few pieces in my closet that I have not worn in years but I had picked up at the Armani factory in Milan – a jacket that feels very ‘80s with big wide olive green and black stripes. I feel like I would be playing cricket if I wore it but I cannot part with it because it is black label Armani! When you clean out, donate your clothes. I pass on to Encore, the second-hand thrift shop operated by St. John’s church here in town.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
It is making everyone happy because fashion is so subjective. On a commercial shoot there will be 10 to 12 people involved with the process, from agency to brand to director. For a 20-second spot you have to have clothes with colors that do not compete with each other or with the product or the background of the set. It can take many hours in the fitting room to find the right look for a commercial. I do a great deal of work for a client who needs me to dress the talent in “season-less” clothes that say anywhere USA and any time of year. Once I am on set for the shoot nothing can be changed with the wardrobe, so the work is over in that respect. I just have to make sure everyone looks good the day of filming.
What celebrity could use your help?
Golden Globe fashion disasters 2014 were Rashida Jones in a white gown
decorated with glitzy palm trees and Reese Witherspoon wearing a dreary green dress. Both ladies need a fashion makeover– they need a new stylist. Fashion perfection was Sofia Vergara whose figure hugging black strapless gown was accented by the most fabulous turquoise necklace I have ever seen. Quite incredible. I would love to work with any one of them. Call me!
What item should women stay away from wearing even if it is “in”?
The tracksuit, or sweat suit as Americans call it. I hate it. It looks sloppy no matter how much you have paid for it. I do not even like to see people wearing workout clothes all day. Go home from the gym, have a shower and put some clothes on.