Smokey Tabboo a.k.a Charlotte Moss

When it comes to styling Charlotte Moss is the one giving us looks for women who are ready to say F-U to feminine conformity. Charlotte's bringing us garms that when pieced together, create a new and uplifting way to represent female fashion, that I like to describe as gender fluid effortlessness. We had the chance to speak to the stylist, so check out the interview with her thoughts on her creative role and fashion in London.

You can catch some of her looks below: 

What is it that drew you towards fashion / styling?

"I’ve always been interested in Fashion, from a young age I wanted to be a fashion designer but as I got older I grew too impatient and wanted to do something that made my visions come to life instantly in front of me.I liked the idea of being a part of a team, and working with creative individuals, who could only help me develop more and more each time and introduce me to sides of fashion I’d never delved into before.A part of me feels that I’m not really that into fashion itself, but just the style and people who wear the clothes."

In London, fashion is a melting pot "there isn’t as much of a divide", it's easy to walk down the streets of Soho, Shoreditch, Camden or even your local high street to gain inspiration from the variety of style that starts from the 'it' girl in ends, all the way up to high end tailored British fashion like Vivienne Westwood. Taking a look at London's street style during Fashion Week this year, you'll find a plethora of women hitting the pavement in clothes that are pushing the definition of female sexuality - women are utilising the subtle sensuality in colours and fabrics while sporting tailored loose fitting trousers, baggy boyfriend fit jeans and layering in comfort. Just look at Vogues Street Style picks and see exactly what we mean, so Charlotte's gender fluidity vision is finally in abundance - "Everyone is open to anything and everything, no boundaries."  

We noticed your work predominately features women, do you try to portray femininity in a variety of ways because you don't revert to sexualised cliches? 

"I can’t relate to stereotypical sexualisation of women, even in the way that I dress myself. A woman is beautiful, even in baggy clothes that hide what physically makes them a woman. 90% of the time I do style women, but when I style men there is no obvious distinction between the ways that I dress a woman. I have done a few editorials where the brief has included some sexual references, but I style it in a subtle and non-obvious way. For example, instead of showing a breast, I like to show a glimpse of a shoulder instead."

I feel like the broad definition of femininity is transcending from the way that women dress and is becoming a whole part of how we present ourselves and carry our values, which is why it is refreshing to see a stylist like Charlotte Moss utilising the female body and all it's "subtle and non-obvious" touches of sensuality. On the runway, this seasons make-up looks from brands such as Gucci, Christopher Kane, Erdem and Prada all used fresh faced looks that play off the natural glow of the skin rather than creating an over done smokey eye and red lip for example, in order to create a sexy look. This goes hand in hand with the way in which Charlotte styles - "instead of showing a breast, I like to show a glimpse of a shoulder instead".  This creates a fashion world that is accessible and ready to wear - the everyday woman is not usually oozing sex appeal through revealing clothes and fashion shows are reflecting this with the destruction of the elite front row and the new growth of trainers and Metallica-esque Tees. The women who are representing fashion now as the one's to watch are pushing looks that are almost post gender, like the buzz cut beauty, Adwoa Aboah. Men's fashion is no exception, the influence of feminine fashion is spreading throughout Men's wear as seen is Burberry's latest silk and velvet pastel colours for men. Rapper Young Thug also made waves with his new Mixtape cover for "No, My Name Is Jeffery" wearing a couture dress by VFILES Runway 7 winner Alessandro Trincone so for fashion right now Charlotte's statement is perfectly fitting, "when I style men there is no obvious distinction between the ways that I dress a woman".

Once you receive a brief for a shoot, do you have a clear image of what you’d like to piece together or is this something you decide on set? 

"Usually when I receive a brief, I know exactly what brands I want to get on board, or what garments to select if it is for a certain brand. Clients always ask me to build outfits to show them before I arrive to the shoot, which I rarely do as I feel like I am more creatively stimulated when I am on set and have the model in front of me. Environment can completely change the mood of how I want to dress someone as well, so it all depends on my surroundings.I tend to say to people, if I wouldn’t dress myself in the outfit I’m building, I wouldn’t want to shoot it!"

Some of the models you’ve styled also work in fashion and have their own distinct styles, does this influence the looks you put together when styling for a shoot?

"When I style people already in the industry, I love it. Styling someone to their personality and personal taste can be a challenge, buts it’s exciting, especially when they love the clothes I dress them in. It forms a trust and a bond that usually leads to more work with them in the future! It’s also a good way of understanding and developing my work better. Looking back on some of my first shoots, I think I struggled relating to the people I styled, but back then I think I was confused myself and hadn't found my niche."

When putting looks together does the photographers aesthetic affect your approach? 

"Usually when I work with a photographer we are already on the same page, but there have been times where I’ve worked with the polar opposite. I guess its about compromise, a lot of the time I get free reign on the direction of the shoot unless its for a corporate company. If a photographer is slightly more arty, I try and get more creative with the way I place the clothes on the model, not adhering to how the item is stereotypically meant to be worn."

From your portfolio do you have any favourite looks or shoots that you've worked on? 

"Oh my, that’s so hard haha. I do a lot of work with one of my best friends Sam Travis, we bounce off of each other extremely well, he gets my visions and I admire his so much.We recently did some new work that was exhibited in the Basement pop up store which were all shot on film and they were all very casual, realistic test shoots. Sometimes some of my most simple shoots are the most effective ones! I recently did a WoodWood advertorial with photographer Tom Fletcher too, which hasn’t been released yet but the selected images are beautiful and classic. Any shoot with a heavy jacket and baggy trousers I’m forever fond of, winter clothes means layers, and layering is one of my strongest skills when it comes to styling."

What’s next? Would you like to venture into other areas, styling for films maybe?  

"I would love to style music videos & campaigns, especially for hip-hop and grime artists. I’ve considered film a few times, but I feel like there isn’t as much creative reign unless the film suits my styling & aesthetic. Music is a massive part of my life though, so videos are definitely a thing I need to get into ASAP.I would love to style artists I admire for appearances, interviews and gigs too! In a year or so, I’d like to dedicate myself to one brand and work in-house, helping them develop briefs and concepts for lookbooks and campaigns."

You can stay in the know by checking out Charlotte's site and you can follow her on Instagram @Smokeytabboo.