A La Mod: Shirley Kurata

Stylist and raincoat aficionado Shirley Kurata leaves her mark on L.A.'s quirky leading ladies

Style Star // Chau Tu // 05/09/12
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Stylist Shirley Kurata View all 3 images
Autumn De Wilde
Stylist Shirley Kurata
Stylist Shirley Kurata
Stylist Shirley Kurata

If you’ve ever coveted the colorful, vintage-inspired looks of actresses like Zooey Deschanel and Miranda July and musicians like The Decemberists, you have Shirley Kurata to thank. The wardrobe stylist and partner-in-crime of photographer Autumn De Wilde is a mod fashion icon of her own who’s left her distinctively chic touch on everything from movies and album covers to editorials and Rodarte runways.

How would you describe your own personal style?
If Harold and Maude had a child, that child would be me.

What are some of your favorite pieces to wear?
The beret is my staple—I have a stack of them in different colors. I also love repettos because they are so comfortable. I have a rainbow of tights. I also have an affinity for rainwear—raincoats and rain boots and vintage umbrellas, even though it doesn’t rain that much here in L.A.!

What are you inspired by?
I’m inspired by the old lady walking down the street who looks like she’s been wearing the same outfit since the ’60s; the Hasidic Jews walking to synagogue on a Saturday; the teenage skater kids through the city. I’m inspired by Godard and William Klein and Altman films; photographs by Richard Avedon, David Bailey and Jean-Marie Perier; ’60s Czech films; Tim Walker editorials.

You've worked with actors, actresses and musicians who are know for their own personal styles. How does styling work with them?
I know that it’s important to differentiate my personal style with their personal style. I would never force my style on them if i knew that it was completely different from theirs. Usually it involves discussing with them what they want and finding the pieces that fit into their style. I love the ones who are risk takers and open to trying something new.

Talk about your collaborative relationship with photographer Autumn De Wilde.
Working with Autumn is always a creative endeavor. We may not always have time or money on our side, but we always make an effort to try to make it as creative and unique as possible with what we are given. Whether it’s with yarn or craft paper or painting onto sunglasses, it’s always fun trying to come up with ideas. Aside from her keen eye, she really makes an effort to understand the subject, which is key to why her photos are so good.

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Originally published in June/July 2012

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