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The art of styling

Melbourne-based stylist Thalea MV speaks to Neos Kosmos about how her penchant for the unique led her to the fashion industry, and her endless sources of inspiration

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Stylist Thalea MV (née Michos-Vellis). Photos: Supplied

19 December 2017

Growing up, Thalea MV (née Michos-Vellis) as she is known to her peers and followers, recalls whilng away the hours as a young girl at flea markets. Intrigued by the endless possibilities of all that was on offer, this period in her life sparked what she dubs an "obsession with material objects". She would find herself on the hunt for rare clothing, and with the rising platform of social media, the 25-year-old would showcase her discoveries online with photos of her latest finds.

Then, in 2013, a photographer spotted Thalea's work. Drawn to her distinctive aesthetic, she was approached to style a photo shoot in her home town of Melbourne and since then she has gone on to develop an impressive portfolio of work as a stylist.

Her style can be described as vibrant and youthful with a refined edge, and an interview with the stylist reveals that what is perceived in her work, as with many artists, is a flow-on effect from who she is as a person.

"I currently own two cats and one lizard. I own too many sunglasses and too many candles and I could eat hand cut potato chips 24/7. They are my favourite. And as result I'm not super fond of the beach," she reveals.

"My favourite place to travel to is Japan and it's the only country I have visited, with my fifth trip this year." But she's about to buck her own trend and expand beyond Japan, with plans to finally head to her ancestral home of Greece in 2018 and she is excited to explore the thriving creative scene that has developed over the past decade.

All styling: Thalea MV

What do you enjoy most about working as a stylist?
I think I'm really drawn to the assemblage of clothing into an outfit and how that can feel almost like working on an installation or sculpture. Finding the right balance or texture and shape in an outfit for a photo takes a lot of thought but the process is very satisfying! Also it has been an excellent opportunity to meet lots of like-minded creatives which have turned into strong friendships!

What have been some of your favourite shoots to date?
One shoot that will always stick with me is an advertorial that Phebe Shmidt and I worked on for Wonderland Magazine and the luxury shoe designer Sergio Rossi. Looking back on it I feel as though every aspect of the images were executed and the end product is always something I will be happy to share.

You have been studying photography at the Victorian College of the Arts for the past three years. What have you enjoyed most about the experience?
I tried to approach the course with the outcome of becoming a creative director in mind. Now on the other side of the course I can tell that my understanding of Fine Art has helped inform a new way of approaching set design as well as colour and texture and form.

What are some of your sources of inspiration?
Instagram and print. Instagram is like all the world's publications in the palm of your hand. At any given moment I log on and scroll to see amazing content from around the world. I'm constantly saving images to reference later on whether it be explicitly fashion or a photo of someone's bedroom. It is SUCH a unique source of inspiration, a fine line between diary and creative outlet. I also love to collect old print magazines. My latest purchase was a bulk lot of Collezoni Donna magazines from the 80s to the 2000s - every page is full of runway images and only the best of the best.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
This is a tough question to answer. I was cast in a photo shoot recently and they had categorised my style as 'fruity-knife' what I got from this was the juxtaposition of fun and edgy, playful and cool, kooky... yet refined? It is constantly developing and flipping. I ban myself from wearing jeans some weeks and other weeks they are the only thing that make it out of my wardrobe.

If you could work with anyone, who would be in your dream team? (i.e. model, make-up artist, photographer)
Forever and ever the photographer Brianna Capozzi and stylist Haley Wollens. In my eyes they are the ultimate creative duo. I couldn't tell you exactly who else is on my radar in terms of talent and make-up artists but my ideal shoot would be after weeks of sourcing and shopping at flea markets and second hand stores around Europe finding gorgeous archival jewellery and fashion.

What has been your biggest achievement career-wise to date?
Besides being featured in the Greek newspaper (hi yiayia and pappou!), I think the biggest achievement is working for the haircare giant EVO. The shoot hasn't been published yet but it's sure to look impressive!

Has your Greek background helped to shape who you are in some way? Does it influence your work at all?
I think having a connection to an ancient culture has given me the opportunity to think beyond the shores of Australia. Growing up with my grandparents around from such a young age opened my eyes to something I wasn't being exposed to at primary school which has surely influenced the decisions I have made that bring me to the point I am at now.

Do you have any advice for people looking to get into fashion?
Definitely a cliché but stay true to yourself and persist and someone will notice.

To see more of Thalea's work, follow her on Instagram @thalea.mv

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