Talk about a pivot with a payoff.
Although Jason Rembert is a respected women’s stylist, primarily in the music industry — working with Solange Knowles, Iggy Azalea and, most notably, longtime client Rita Ora — Rembert experienced something of a career eclipse last year when the force that is Zayn Malik, formerly of One Direction, hired him to cultivate a new independent image, which began with styling both Malik and his girlfriend, Gigi Hadid, for the singer’s video “Pillowtalk.”
From the get-go, the native New Yorker has established himself as a men’s fashion force with a refreshing mix of daring pieces and sharp footwear balanced with an eye for impeccable tailoring. Along the way, Rembert has become a key adviser to Malik, who not only dedicated a page to him in his recent self-titled book but also worked with Rembert on Malik’s spring ’17 capsule collection with Giuseppe Zanotti and a forthcoming collaboration with Versus.
Here’s what Rembert told Footwear News when we got a chance to chat with him recently.
What does being a celebrity stylist entail today?
JR: You play so many different roles in your client’s life. Sometimes you’re their friend, manager, assistant, supporter — that’s often the most important thing.
How did you transition from only womenswear to menswear as well?
JR: Zayn helped. To get a client like him is once-in-a-lifetime. He has an understanding of his look — I’m just the vessel to help his ideas come to life. He surprises me sometimes, but I know his style very well.
A celebrity’s image has never been more scrutinized nor been more influential. How do you develop a bond and build trust with clients?
JR: Communication is key. I speak to them on a human level, not like they’re this big mega-star. I’m going to do my job to the best of my ability, but to work with [a client] this closely, you have to like them. I’m at a point in my career where I don’t want to work with someone just for a job. I want that person to one day become family.
What was the breakout moment in your career?
JR: Zayn at the Louis Vuitton show in 2015. [It was the singer’s first big appearance since leaving One Direction.] You had this kid who’s very young, and now you saw him as a man. His head was shaved, bleached blonde and he wore a blue, loud Louis Vuitton suit with a printed shirt. It was very masculine and different from anything he had worn before, and the reaction was huge. He owned that look, and it paid off.
Which men’s brands are your regular go-tos?
JR: For custom, hands-down: Versace. They make magic happen. They are like Santa’s little helpers. I haven’t given them an idea yet that they weren’t able to pull off, including the metal arms they made us in a week for the Met Gala. For shoes, I love Giuseppe Zanotti, and I recently discovered this newer brand, Guidi. They do rugged, edgy boots very well.