She’s in a balanced-out, happy place and has been successful as a fashion stylist for fifteen years. Instead of opting for Paris or New York, Renu (38) and her family packed up their belongings and moved to Ibiza a few years ago. We sat down with Renu at The Loft in Amsterdam – the city is still her second home – and talked about how the move changed her life and work.
Can you recall the moment you fell in love with fashion styling?
Renu: “At nineteen, I moved to Amsterdam and studied to become a fashion designer. I ended up in the finale of a big competition, but deep down it never felt like a true match. Then one day, I got to assist a stylist on set and it was love at first sight.”
Brands that make your heart beat faster?
Renu: “The Row is on top of my list right now, but nothing beats Chanel. Opening a Chanel box for a fashion editorial makes my heart jump.”
Is the island your number one source of inspiration?
Renu: “I feel closely connected to the seventies vibe of Ibiza; I always have. It’s a definite signature in my styling!”
Name one quality a stylist has to have.
Renu: “Stylists are true fighters! So I’d say perseverance. You need to find ways to bend a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’. It’s good to be inventive and negotiate when you want a specific look, but always make sure you live up to what you promise a client. Be nice, charming, but never manipulate. In the end, styling is all about goodwill.”
How did you establish your professional network?
Renu: “By working hard and by caring about quality. Quality of life for me has to be in everything I do. I tend to obsess about things, to want to do it perfect, but Ibiza thought me also to be relaxed. So that feels as the right balance.”
Blouse by Céline and vintage skirt – heels by Louboutin and leather jacket by Phillip Lim
A tip on how you maintain professional relationships?
Renu: ““Make sure you send a thank you-note after a shoot.”
As a stylist, why did you decide to move to Ibiza instead of a big fashion capital like Paris?
Renu: “Because of the many different nationalities that come to the island, I am getting booked for international clients and so it actually expands my network. Standing out from the mass probably made me more visible. When I started my styling career, a lot of colleagues flew out to South Africa and Miami to work on fashion editorials. Now, lots of crews visit Ibiza because they’re able to shoot there 300 days a year and it is close to most European countries. A bikini shoot in the midst of December? No problem! Photography crews come over and stay over at our house, which also functions as a boutique hotel.”
Ibiza versus Amsterdam: how is the mentality different?
Renu: “People’s way of thinking is different on Ibiza. Hardly anyone is judgmental or envious. People tend to be happy and open and I like that. That being said, Ibiza is an island for jetsetting. But the local community works to live, not the other way around.”
Heels from left to right by Dolce & Gabbana, Chloe, Louboutin, Céline heels and loafers by Céline
You’ve dropped a hint about a secret project you’re working on…
Renu: “I think this is the time to spill the beans… I am working on a coffee table book about the lifestyle and people of Ibiza. It’s going to be my personal tribute to the island and will be about the charismatic and creative islanders; special and inspiring people with a great sense for style. It will become an iconic fashion photography book, I just signed with an amazing publisher which feels like a dream come true. And I recently became partner of Caramba Productions, which is the local production company of Ibiza. This is a new exciting chapter of my life.”
The most amazing shoot you’ve done so far?
Renu: “I get to travel a lot for Glamour, which is amazing. I did a shoot with photography duo Petrovsky & Ramone and the amazing Sophie Vlaming in Kenia. We boarded a small plane and flew over the savanna where flocks of zebra’s were running beneath us. It was pure joy. What more could you wish for?”
Three important lessons you’ve learned in fifteen years of being a stylist:
1) “Determinate your style and make it your signature, don’t get caught up in trends.”
2) “Don’t be afraid of your competition, be kind and respect your colleagues. There will be people who’s work is better or worse than yours, but always aim to be the best version of yourself.”
3) “Keep your eyes open. In styling, the power is in the details.”
Follow Renu on Instagram for behind the scenes fashion snaps of her styling adventures.