Dossier in Conversation with Tamara Cincik
Tamara Cincik with her husband. Interview by Silvia Bergomi.
Tamara Cincik is a British stylist with a strong point of view. Her clients include a number of international Vogues, The New York Times, i-D, Christian Lacroix and more. She doesn’t tolerate time wasters or know-it-alls. And most of all, she believes in love.
Silvia Bergomi: When did you start your styling career and why?
Tamara Cincik: I started assisting after leaving UCL—where I read English—after being totally inspired by a rock ‘n’ roll-movie story Max Vadukul and Nicoletta Santoro shot together for Vogue Paris. I can remember the shoot very clearly: I fell in love!
Silvia: What do you think about the contemporary fashion world?
Tamara: The recession has made designers work harder; I saw some of the best shows I have ever seen this season. There is some plagiarism and laziness, sure, but Chanel was genius—as was Galliano, Givenchy, Sonia…lots of designers, especially those at the top of their game, seemed to really push their craft to its zenith.
Silvia: What is the thing that you miss most from the past (regarding your career)?
Tamara: I am sure most people have a degree of nostalgia for their youth/past [but] I think research is a lot easier now, with the Internet making is super simple to check references.
Silvia: Tell me a moral that you always apply to your life.
Tamara: Try to be nice to everyone; rudeness doesn’t really cut it.
Silvia: Was it difficult to reach your professional level?
Tamara: I come from a working class, ethnically mixed background in England. You have to work (at least) twice as hard.
Silvia: Where do you find inspiration?
Tamara: Dreams, films, books, what I wore before, nostalgia. I came to fashion through a childhood love of history, which went from reading history books at a crazily young age to collecting vintage. This led me into this dress-up box job. It all came from falling in love with the stories I found in the clothes.
Silvia: Who is the best photographer you’ve worked with?
Tamara: Jan Saudek. [He’s] a total legend—he even did one-armed push-ups! He would shoot (click, click) twice, get the image, print in the room next door and then start to hand-tint in the time we were doing the set-up. His work had been a huge inspiration for me. I was thrilled beyond to get the opportunity to work with him.
Silvia: Can you describe your style?
Tamara: It changes. I do like to put things together which don’t ordinarily flow and see what happens within that juxtaposition. There always, for me, has to be a degree of accessibility and believability. No matter how insane the idea, something has to be earthy and tactile; people can wear the craziest of outfits. There is nothing unbelievable about fantasia—for me it just needs to feel real somehow.
Silvia: What’s something that you’ll never do?
Tamara: Work on a McDonalds commercial.
Silvia: What’s your best recipe?
Tamara: I make this smoothie every morning:
A teaspoon full of spirulina
A dash of agave
A vitamin C tablet
A splash of omega oil
A swig of aloe vera juice
A swig of Dr. Mistry’s Iron Formula juice
A few handfuls of frozen berries
Some Soya plain yoghurt
Some rice milk
Blend this in the blender, then I serve it with homemade, sugar-free granola. Delicious and oh so virtuous!
Silvia: Do you have a “routine”?
Tamara: I wake up, drink hot water, answer emails, do some leg exercises, drink a smoothie, water my seedlings for the allotment—which are currently on the windowsills here—then take on the world for the catwalk of life!
Silvia: What do you wear on a normal day?
Tamara: Heels and an ever-changing selection of moods.
Silvia: And for an event?
Tamara: Possibly the same, with more lipstick.
Silvia: What are three of your favorite movies?
Tamara: A Matter of Life and Death by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Dr. Zhivago by David Lean. Wild at Heart by David Lynch.
Silvia: Sea or Mountain?
Tamara: Mountains. My Turkish family are mountain Yayla people. There is something very magical about drinking water from its mountain source and reaching a crystal-clear summit—I do love an eagle-eyed viewpoint.
Silvia: Where will you go on your next trip?
Tamara: Wales to shoot Charlotte Church, then Paris to shoot for Grey.
Silvia: A good memory?
Tamara: I have had lots! Alexander McQueen’s shows in London, Hussein’s show with the Turkish musicians in silhouette, my first shoot in New York for Mixte, my first show styling job, working in Paris for Christian Lacroix…so many!
Silvia: Are you religious?
Tamara: With a Church of England mother, a Muslim father, a Jewish aunt and Buddhist/Pagan leanings, I would have to say I think organized religion is all trying to say the same thing but getting caught in historical, geographical arguments. Faith and spirituality are important to me; religion and dogma, not at all.
Silvia: What makes you happy?
Tamara: Pottering on my allotment with my husband, walking on the Heath, car boot sales, cooking hippy food…
Silvia: What was a moment of great satisfaction?
Tamara: Getting married to someone I truly love, and after all the stress of organizing the wedding, realizing that our guests had a lovely time.
Above and below: Various shoots styled by Tamara.