With a Top Model career behind her, film lover Tati Cotliar is living her best moment in fashion, working and rubbing elbows with her own team. We sat down together to hear directly from her about the extensive experience he has and about all the phases she passed through in her successful career until became the Fashion Director of the London based magazine, Buffalo Zine.
What was the most positive part when you were modeling?
My modeling time really allowed me to understand Fashion and what was Fashion about, because I didn't know what it was. Understanding the connection between all the different arts I 'd always loved, such as Music or Cinema. Fashion absorbs different aspects from so many different arts, as well as society.
I was able to explore that from a very good perspective because it was me who was the character, so I was able to work with the best and also getting paid -laughs-. Some people were dying to assist these people for free in order to learn and I was doing that and at the same time getting paid, so it was amazing! They created the character and I had to perform it, so that was a huge learning period and also having the possibility to travel, to discover different cultures and getting used to work with clients. A working life experience. I was super lucky. I'd never been a tourist in Paris, I had to go to the supermarket by myself. So the way you know the cities is very interesting, as if you lived there, so it's amazing. Moreover, it helped me to go deeper into styling, because I met more people, I made contacts, and that was an interesting knowledge after being behind-the-scenes for so many years.
What moment did you change all that to clear a path for styling? What was the reason?
Some of my friends were always saying to me: 'you dress really funny, you should be a stylist some time'. So, it wasn't only in my head. I'd always ponder over getting back to Film school. At that time, I had an English boyfriend who told me to make a decision: 'do you want to do styling or do you want to study Film? If you want to study, you should start looking for people you want to work with or an internship, but you're going to be away from the industry. You could also think about being a stylist and try out because you are already in the industry, and besides, you have the contacts. It would be easier for you to gain access now, since you are a well-known model'.
So, at the beginning of 2013 I started approaching photographers and other people I was working with for advice. I said 'it would be great if you wanted to do something, I want to start trying styling'. One of my good friends, Casey Brooks, whom I worked with as a model, told me 'if you want to do something, why don't we do something together'. She was into a lot of films back then. So, I said, 'let's do it with my model friend Magda Laguinge'. She was quite famous at that time and we were thinking of characters and ideas for her, such as Alice in Wonderland meets some sort of German Expressionism, because Magda has these big eyes. I'd always claimed she could be the perfect character for Metropolis. I began a moodboard but back then it took me a long time because I had no idea. I got the contacts thanks to my agents and we did it for Dazed Digital. It was great and we had a great time. It meant a lot of work, but it was the first thing I did as a stylist.
And after Garage Magazine, you became Fashion Director at Buffalo Zine.
It all happened very quick. Almost after 3 years I left Garage and joined Buffalo Zine straight away. At that time, I already knew all the Prs, shooting fashion stories and some administrative work at Garage. I really don't know how I made it work, but I joined Buffalo and I was in charge of all the brands, contacting them, getting advertising on board and all the things to make a magazine grow. I just started doing it, but the difference was I was working with my own team, we were all equal. We formed a triangle with Adrián González-Cohen, Editor-in-Chief, and David Uzquiza, Co-founder and Managing Editor. So, they covered everything and I took on the Fashion. Our decision making process is more of a conversation at every level, it could be content, brands, fashion, special projects... The 3 of us discuss everything. That is quite something, because we understand and complement each other very well. -laughs- In a certain way I became the Magazine Police Dept. For example, we have to decide the cover for a particular issue, and all I can think about is brands. So, I would say, I would prefer to have this picture because this brand must appear. Adrián, on the other hand, is more into the creative side and how the picture looks like, while David also sees the crops, so each of us has a perspective. When you mix the 3 voices together is when you have this nice project. I could not be happier.
And what are your main references as a stylist?
For me, Olivier Rizzo along with Marc Jacobs are the few ones that inspire me and understand fashion regarding this idea of characters. I love to take references from everything, from films, from society, from music. There are so many things you can use. The weirdest, the better, I would say.
CHARLOTTE STOCKDALE WAS A TOP STYLIST, VERY SUPPORTIVE. SHE GAVE US COMPLETE FREEDOM AND ENCOURAGED US TO DO UNUSUAL THINGS. SO IT GAVE ME THE CONFIDENCE AND TAUGHT ME EVERYTHING I KNOW.
Read the full Tati Cotliar's interview featured in the Fall Winter 2018 - Issue 1. Get your copy here.
Words by Edwin S Freyer & Andy Durán.