It seemed like Natalie Joos became an overnight street-style sensation, but the casting agent, now in her thirties, has been working behind the scenes in fashion since she first moved to New York City in 1997. Growing up in Ghent, Belgium, Joos never anticipated a clothes-driven career. “I didn’t know what fashion jobs were except to be a designer,” she told the Cut, but her parents convinced her to get a college degree (in political science and journalism) first. “It’s very important to have a diploma in Belgium.” From there, she moved to London for a graduate degree, and was approached for a public relations job at a now-defunct label in New York. She declined, then eventually accepted, and the position led to gigs assisting Glenn O’Brien and managing Craig McDean’s studio before she decided to try her luck as a casting agent in 2003. It worked out, and Joos has gone on to cast campaigns for Helmut Lang, Karen Walker, and Hugo Boss, while also styling editorials for Harper’s Bazaar Russia, V Spain, and managing her own blog, Tales of Endearment, where she chronicles her love of stylish women who wear vintage.
Every fashion month, vintage plays a huge role in how Joos prepares for four weeks of travel; unlike some of her colleagues, she brings just one suitcase. “I have a herniated disk from heavy luggage, so I’m very careful now,” she says. While in Milan and Paris, she has friends who send her stuff, and then she goes vintage shopping in between. Rather than doing a head-to-toe retro-inspired look, Joos opts to mix in bold contemporary pieces by Marni or Stella McCartney with vintage sourced from her travels, or New York favorites like Artists and Fleas or 10 Ft. Single by Stella Dallas. “As long as my legs keep looking okay and I can keep showing them [off], then I should take advantage of that fact,” she says, noting her love of skirts. “Once my legs have started going down the drain, I’ll start wearing pants more.” Click ahead to hear Joos break down a few of our favorite Fashion Week looks, along with tips to re-create each outfit, even if you can’t get next season’s designer items before everyone else.
Paris Fashion Week SS13
“The dress is Ostwald Helgason. It looks like a skirt and a sweater, but it’s one piece. The collar is a bib and the long sleeves is a spandex thing I’m wearing because it was cold. The shoes are Pierre Hardy, the glasses are Tom Ford, and the bag is from Coach’s upcoming spring collection. I came across [Ostwald Helgason] because my sister was doing the casting [last February]. She ran over to me and said, ‘You have to come look at these clothes. You will love them.’ So I went backstage and I was like, ’Holy shit.’ I wanted to borrow something for Fashion Week and they brought me the look right before the Chanel show. I arrived and everybody was like, ’What are you wearing?’” ———- Ohne Titel silk dress, $439 at Barneys; Marni printed t-shirt, $270 at Marni; Mango cotton essential t-shirt, $19.99 at Mango; Clare Vivier messenger tote, $326 at Steven Alan Annex; Reed Krakoff Fighter sandal, $795 at Reed Krakoff; Prism Berlin cat eye metal and acetate sunglasses, $425 at Net-a-Porter; JINsoon Nail Polish in Audacity, $18 at SpaceNK; Essie Nail Polish in Bikini so Teeny, $8 at Essie; Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge in Absolute Rogue, $29.50 at Lancôme
Paris Fashion Week SS13
“The blue skirt is Stella McCartney, the top is Libertine, and the sunglasses are Karen Walker. The pouch is from Duane Reade or something. I don’t think I even paid for it; it’s one of these pouches that had model cards in it. ———- theyskens’ theory Bross Imoges blouse, $365 at theyskens’ theory; Girl. by Band of Outsiders tweed jacket, $339 at Net-a-Porter; Blugirl Blumarine skirt, $328 at The Corner; ASOS round sunglasses, $21.11 at ASOS; Comme des Garçons super fluorescent zip-top pouch, $110 at Opening Ceremony; Topshop stud + spike earring pack, $18 at Topshop; Shiseido Perfect Rouge in Mystery, $25 at Shiseido
London Fashion Week FW13
“My pants are Dion Lee, the purple turtleneck is Miu Miu, and the sweater is Uniqlo. The bag is Prada, the shoes are Cascadei, and my hat is from Uruguay. When you’re traveling, you don’t have your whole wardrobe at your disposal, it becomes, ‘What is in my suitcase that I can wear with this?’ So you start playing with the pieces that you have, and this is what I came up with.” ———- Uniqlo women’s soft lambswool turtleneck sweater, $19.90 at Uniqlo; Uniqlo cashmere crew neck sweater, $79.90 at Uniqlo; J.Crew Minnie pant, $69.50 at J.Crew; Marc by Marc Jacobs Too Hot to Handle small top handle bag, $428 at Zappos; Boutique9 Justine pumps, $84.99 at Zappos; rag & bone knit beanie, $90 at Saks Fifth Avenue; Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge in Absolute Rogue, $29.50 at Lancôme
London Fashion Week FW13
“It’s a vintage dress. I don’t think it has a label, but they told me it’s Lanvin. The turtleneck is from Uniqlo and it’s the same hat from Uruguay, along with the Cascadei pumps and a Coach bag. It looked good all red with just blue on top. The weather is very important, especially when you’re traveling in places like London. It all starts with the weather, and then also my hair, surprisingly. Down, it gives me a whole different look than when I wear it up.” ———- Alberto Biani long sleeve dress, $407.47 at Farfetch; Uniqlo cotton turtleneck long sleeve t-shirt, $9.90 at Uniqlo; Aldo Roberge pumps, $100 at Zappos; Coach Willis bag, $298 at Coach; rag & bone knit beanie, $90 at Saks Fifth Avenue; Uniqlo women’s tights, $4.95 at Uniqlo; Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge in Absolute Rogue, $29.50 at Lancôme
Paris Fashion Week FW13
“My sweater is United Bamboo and the pink skirt is a vintage dress [layered] underneath. Again, my Cascadei red shoes and that’s a Marni clutch. [The headband] is a vintage headpiece of velvet flowers. I buy vintage that’s special, whether it’s a [unique] print or an original cut. Just something cool, so it stands out. If I don’t have nail polish on my fingers I bite [them]. Tamu McPherson had all her nails in different colors, and so I said, ‘I want that too!’ But different: She had browns and I wanted pastels.” ———- Louise Gray cashmere sweater, $714 at The Corner; J.Crew Collection pink shimmer skirt, $258 at J.Crew; Aldo Romelia pumps, $72 at Zappos; Nina Labrea clutch, $205 at Zappos; Johnnie Loves Rosie Beiret headband, $43.98 at ASOS; Topshop exaggerated cat eye sunglasses, $32 at Topshop; Gorjana Chloe mini hoop earrings, $35 at Gorjana; Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge in Absolute Rogue, $29.50 at Lancôme; Julep Nail Color in Carrie (pink); Jessica (blue); Courteney (green); Blake (yellow), $14 each at Julep
Paris Fashion Week FW13
“The fur collar and skirt are from Peter Pilotto. Since the boys are very good friends of mine, I wear them every season. I always go to their showroom and I borrow one outfit that I can wear. Then I make a little order for the next thing. The polka-dot blazer is vintage and my bag is Corto Moltedo. He is the son of the Bottega Veneta family, and he makes these really cute bags.” ———- Sonia by Sonia Rykiel polka dot blazer, $334.51 at Farfetch; Peter Pilotto multi-colored stole, $1,268.47 at Farfetch; Uniqlo cotton turtleneck long sleeve t-shirt, $9.90 at Uniqlo; Zero+ Maria Cornejo Isis printed stretch-crepe skirt, $550 at Net-a-Porter; Golden Ponies iridescent pouch, $31 at Golden Ponies; Topshop exaggerated cat eye sunglasses, $32 at Topshop; Pieces Fonald ring, $12.31 at ASOS; Campbell Collections silver floating stacker ring, $305 at Campbell Collections; Gorjana Chloe mini hoop earrings, $35 at Gorjana; Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge in Absolute Rogue, $29.50 at Lancôme; China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Four Leaf Clover, $7.50 at Ulta; Zoya Nail Polish in Tracie,$8 at Zoya; OPI Nail Color in Don’t Talk Bach to Me, $8 at OPI