BMW Connected accompanies Hamburg-based fashion stylist Christine Graf on a day in Berlin. Showroom meetings, appointments with agents and trend scouting across the German capital are child’s play thanks to her personal mobility assistant.
- Felix Brüggemann
- Michael Seitz
When look, styling and accessories come together perfectly, fashion has an easy, natural effect. Yet successful styling involves a great deal of discipline and hard work. Ultimately, it is about getting as authentic a feel as possible for the emotional core of a campaign or a brand, selecting appropriate protagonists and fitting them with the right outfit. When everything works, the result is a coherent symbiotic relationship between model, brand and fashion.
It is the job of stylists such as Hamburg-based Christiane Graf to come up with the ideal style of clothing and accessories for a particular campaign. Despite the apparent creative effortlessness of their work, stylists are under enormous pressure in terms of deadlines and organisation. “As a stylist, you only get the really desirable outfits from the labels that matter if you have a reputation for exceptional reliability that has been built up over years of trust,” says Graf, explaining the intermediary role she plays between her clients and the major fashion labels. In terms of punctuality – for example when it comes to exchanging collection pieces that are very much in demand – all parties have to be able to rely on each other one hundred per cent.
When it comes to reliability and punctuality, the well-travelled stylist receives optimum support from the BMW Connected* app. “The app automatically checks my calendar for appointments and gives me regular updates of travel times based on current traffic conditions.” The stylist finds BMW Connected particularly useful for her short trips from Hamburg to Berlin. “It’s even more difficult to estimate distances and trip times in cities that you’re visiting than it is in your home town, so the real-time traffic information provided by BMW Connected comes in very handy.” And when she has several short meetings in quick succession, the app runs in the background and can be programmed to send push notifications when it’s time to set off for the next appointment.
During the time she spends in the German fashion capital, Graf regularly visits her agent Nina Klein, with whom she coordinates large-scale fashion productions for magazines and the advertising and film industries. At the same time, she uses her trips to Berlin to obtain first-hand information from the major agencies on the latest fashion, accessories and lifestyle trends. This way she gets to have hands-on experiences with new fabrics and materials and can also see the way they move on the catwalk.
The stylist also finds inspiration in Berlin’s cosmopolitan lifestyle and lively creative scene. So when she’s in Berlin, Graf likes to meet business partners, colleagues and friends at some of the city’s hottest venues, such as Soho House Berlin, with its unconventional hotel concept, or the Benedict restaurant at the Max Brown Hotel near the Kurfürstendamm, famed for its all-day breakfast delicacies from around the world. “Fashion is a reflection of our time in the same way that culture, architecture and lifestyle are. This is why good styling only works if the entire context comes together,” remarks Graf.
Originally from Freiburg, the stylist developed a passion for fashion in her childhood, and as a teenager growing up in the 1990s she was influenced by the black-and-white photographs of the then 16-year-old Kate Moss for Calvin Klein. As soon as she had passed her A levels, Graf left the idyllic town in the foothills of the Black Forest where she grew up and headed for New York and Hamburg. After training as a fashion editor, she worked for various agencies and publishers. She became a freelance stylist in 2009. When she talks about the importance of fashion, she is unable to conceal the passion that originally motivated her: “Fashion is both trivial and important at the same time. My work as a stylist only touches people if it strikes a chord with their emotions.”
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