Have you heard of celebrity stylist Gabriel Langenbrunner? He's the force behind the scenes best-known for styling your favorite celebrities, models and other public figures. Gabriel's robust selection of colors, fabrics, and styles has crafted outfits that captivate the hearts of many, all while his clients make the best dressed list at any event. He puts the 'hip' in hipster and takes high-fashion to new heights.
Jonathan Mckinnon: What sparked your interest in fashion?
Gabriel Langenbrunner: I come from a family of masonry contractors with our own masonry business that has operated for over 60 years. I got my inspiration in fashion from my aunt, Sandy Rueve, who is the founder of Intention Beads. Seeing my aunt in her creative element with a fashion business of her own was something that was more interesting to me than becoming a masonry contractor. I started taking art classes in high-school with a strong emphasis in drawing in order to design clothing for both men and women. That was really my only creative outlet at the time. I don't even know if my parents were aware, but I only applied to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising when I finished high-school. I really wanted to get out of Cincinnati, Ohio, and I knew something bigger and better was out there for me other than being a mason. That said, my current goals are to be on the top 25 stylists list for the Hollywood Reporter, become similar to that of stylist but now designer Brandon Maxwell or stylist/ costume designer Rob Zangardi, and have my own studio — I imagine a workspace like Anne Hathaway in The Intern.
Describe your experience as a costume designer/ stylist for the Mexican Billboards at the Dolby.
It's funny you bring that up because it was my first job in the fashion industry. Liz Imperio and Chad Carlberg were my regulars when I was working at Starbucks (for a brief time) of which they later brought me onto their fashion project — the Mexican Billboards at the Dolby. It was one of the best experiences I had to date with so many friends made from it. I learned a lot from styling twelve dancers which is a lot of work when you think about it. Organizing priorities and clothing are definitely two skill-sets that I'm appreciative to learn from my first fashion job, but to be honest I still have room for growth.
Are there any trend forecasting methods you use to stay up-to-date with new styles and fashion brands?
I don't really read magazines unless someone who I respect is on the cover. I tend to go with my gut! Any kind of trend forecasting is all from my intuition or on runways, and from designer social media posts. As a stylist, which I hate to say this because I am so old school, but Instagram is money when it comes to finding new designers, showrooms, and people to work with. I have met many contacts through there by doing a minimum of two hours researching content and sourcing new people to work with.
What do you think are the latest men's fashion trends?
The one trend that I love and see in various showrooms is the slim fit double-breasted suits. Give me a nice European suit and I'll call it a day. I wore my first one the other day while in AllSaints as they just came out with a new collection of double-breasted suits, and I'm absolutely in love with all of them. Another trend is the oversized denim jacket. I went to the Lucky Brand collection preview and was gifted one of the denim jackets. It for sure is oversized and it’s so comfortable that I could sleep in it. The one trend I'm waiting to see take off here in LA and the entire USA for that matter is chic men's streetwear. I think people here try to make it work, but I don't think it has taken off just yet.
You've styled celebrities by the likes of Peyton Alex Smith (Actor), Michael Willett (Actor, Singer), Yanic Truesdale (Actor, Writer, Business Owner), and more. What is your most memorable styling appointment?
That's a hard one. I have worked with many talented individuals. Out of all the men, I would have to say red carpet wise it would be Peyton Alex Smith. He has a very GQ look and fit, and awesome to work with. Fittings with Peyton are for sure fun and memorable. Editorial wise, my favorite to date is Nathan West and Ian Bohen. I styled Nathan for his band East of Eli's new album coming out called "Lost Transmission." The look we went for had a strong vagabond vibe. I also love working with Nathan's wife Chyler Leigh, who is very loyal and always in a good mood. I styled Ian Bohen for his press editorial shoot on the new movie 'Wind River' which premiered at the Canne Film Festival this year. These four clients of mine can put anything on and look perfect in it.
Does your styling portfolio reflect your personal fashion taste?
My style is AllSaints, Theory, John Varvatos, and Converse all the way. Two other fashion brands I love are Rag and Bone and Yves Saint Laurent. The colors you see in my closet are black, white, crème, grey, and that really nice olive army green. I love the casual style and denim on denim look. My portfolio reflects my style which can be seen through the past and present styling projects I've worked on, but at the end of the day it’s more of the clients personal fashion taste that prevails. I want my clients to embody who they are. If their face doesn’t read confidence, then I tell them to take the outfit off.
Name 3 things can't you leave the house without when heading to a styling appointment.
Three things I'm unable to leave my house without when going to a styling appointment would have to be my phone, my kit, and a clothing rack.
Describe your experience of being featured in Vogue Italia.
I really don't Vogue Italia's selection process for magazine features, so I guess you can say I was lucky. That day was actually very funny. That was a photo-shoot by freelance photographer Candice Ghai. She was in LA, and we recreated a shoot where she took pictures of a woman for a scene, but really wanted a man for it. So Candice just pitched the idea to me. I kind of knew what she wanted and I love her work, so I complied. The makeup was by my best friend — body painter/ makeup artist Hanny Eisen. Candice and I worked together with the styling, and outfit/ accessory choices. As a side note, this is the first time I've ever been in a pool of milk with a photographer on top of me taking pictures.
You and celebrity photographer Bobby Quillard produce phenomenal fashion editorials when working together. What type of skill-set should an aspiring fashion stylist have when working with photographers, models, and fashion brands?
Thank you so much for the compliment on our work. He and I have a very amazing relationship and we usually are thinking the same thing. If anything we have a similar mentality like lets put some amazing music on, have fun, and go with the flow. Being a fashion stylist isn't a talent that can be learned, but more so something you already have. On the other hand, interning is crucial if you lack the styling talent. I spent two years interning for free to get where I am at today. I've come to find that interns in the fashion industry are not willing to work hard because they feel that a large social media following solidifies their credibility and expertise. You need to learn the basics, frequently visit the tailor, and understand dry cleaning, costume houses and showrooms. When I started interning my boss had me read and write down information on basically anyone being featured on WWD. At the time I didn't understand why my boss had me do that, but I now know why as a stylist. Word to the wise, sourcing is one of the most important skill-sets for an aspiring stylist. You have to know the fashion brand, model, and photographer that you'll be working with in order to have a successful career. The fashion industry is a lot of work and less glamour as you will come to find out. It can also be very political sometimes when it comes to fashion styling gigs, and let's not forget that it's all about timing too.
How do you balance creativity with business?
That's actually hard for me. I love to have a great time and be creative. Business has always been something that I'm really relaxed about as to why I signed with my new agent Jillian Shepherd over at State Artists Management. I need a solid team for the type of fashion work that is coming my way so that I can advance within the industry. Jillian is fantastic and we're always on the same page, one step closer to finding a well balanced team. I work hard and love the creative side of what I do. I'm at a point in my career where I feel that it's going to take just one more big name client to take me to the top with the rest of the highly praised fashion stylists.
What’s your latest fashion styling project?
My most recent fashion styling projects were with Ian Bohen and Chyler Leigh on The Wrap as I discussed before. Not to geek out but, I'm a huge fan of Ian's work and very humbled to have been complimented on my styling of him by his reps.
An explorer of men's fashion with inquisitive eyes, born and raised in Lakeview, Long Island. My inspiration comes from nature, city streets and the world wide web. Catch me in a local thrift or consignment store near you.
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