Strong identities and colourful personalities are central to the Oscar Magnuson philosophy – stylist Jonas Hallberg personifies both with added star quality and glamour. Jonas Hallberg is a Swedish stylist based in Hollywood, where he dresses the A-list crowd in-between fashion shoots and his own TV program - ‘super stylisten Jonas’. Celia Ingesson meets Jonas to talk about his career, fashion and his professional advice on – how to shop for shades?
CI: What inspired you to work in fashion?
JH: My very chic grandmother has been a very big inspiration as well as my aunt, who owned a boutique when I was a growing up, with very elegant women’s wear like Escada and Nina Ricci. She brought me along on her buying trips and I was fascinated about the whole world of fashion. The greatest influence is when I see an elegant woman in the street – I get so inspired, I always turn my head!
CI: You came from a small Swedish city and ended up in Hollywood – tell us about your journey?
JH: I grew up in Köping, very far from LA... After many years in the restaurant business as a waiter at a very popular Stockholm restaurant – Cafe Opera, one of my friends Liza, who worked at the model agency Mikas, recommended me for a job to assist fashion editor Mona Orreman at a magazine called Femina. I knew nothing about the work as a stylist then and was amazed that there was a profession, where you could combine working with beautiful clothes, settings and people, it sounded like my dream job – of course I wanted to try it out. Mona needed more assistants for new jobs, next time in Miami, which ended up being lots of ironing, but also model casting, meetings with agents, hair and make up artists and amazing photo shoots.
CI: Did you only assist one stylist and do you have any advice to aspiring stylists?
JH: I assisted several stylists before I started out on my own, Mona Orreman was ”old school” and a fashion editor not a stylist, my personal taste is much more glamorous, edgy and sexy! I recommend working as an assistant to different stylist – not only the very young ”it” stylists, because the real training you get from working as a fashion assistant at a magazine or with some of the more experienced stylists. I have a strong work ethic and I think it’s awful when you see wrinkled outfits or shoes with the price tags still on when models walk down the runway – it might sound silly, but it’s the small details that make a big difference on the total impression!
CI: Can you name one person, who has been your mentor and influenced your carrier?
JH: Dan Arne, head of production of several large fashion shows in Sweden at the time I worked as an assistant. He saw something different in me and showed me that everything is possible. He gave me the confidence and we since worked together on many large fashion show productions, e.g. for the mega retailer H&M.
CI: Tell us about the biggest moment in your career?
JH: Working with the H&M fashion show in Dalhalla Sweden, we had the dream cast!
Every one we wished for actually accepted, like Grace Jones, Eva Herzegovina, all top models of the time in this small remote location – nothing can measure up to this!
Jonas Hallberg became a sought after stylist and left Stockholm for London for many years.
Jonas works both commercially and editorially and has created several iconic campaigns for companies like Sisley’s collaboration with Energy Project and photographer Terry Richardson. Jonas also specialises in styling actors and musicians, it was during his last years in London that he received frequent requests from Hollywood to style celebrities.
Jonas now lives full time in LA and works with celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba, Gisele Bündchen, Charlize Theron, Sienna Miller, Jessica Biel, Megan Fox and our Swedish starlets Izabella Scorupco and Mini Andén to mention a few. Jonas dresses these celebrities for different press junkets, promotional tours and red carpet events.
CI: Is it very different to work with celebrities than with models?
JH: It’s very different, when I work with models at a fashion shoot, it’s their profession to do wear what I style them in and make it look amazing. No matter if the shoes are too small or it’s below 0 degrees and we are shooting a bikini ad – the model has to work it! With celebrities it’s very different, they have to feel comfortable, be able to move and look great for hours. My work is to find a style that brings out their best, enhance their own attributes and make them look like stars!
Many actresses are short and don’t always have the best figures, I work with clothes and accessories to give the illusion of perfection and height...
CI: Who are your favourite designers?
JH: I love glamorous fashion and designers like Versace, ...and Valentino, I’m very old school Hollywood when it comes to jewellery, so I always select pieces from Harry Winston and Fred Leighton for the red carpet, and Louboutin shoes, they are still no 1 with their signature red soles – so chic!
CI: Which designer do you admire and what styling tips do you have?
JH: I admire Yves Saint Laurent, what would fashion be today without YSL, like the introduction of Le Smoking and Le Safari collection? I love classic styles like the trench coat; style it with feminine attributes like high heels and well manicured red nails. I would like to see more chic women, like Italians – they dress elegant, sexy with an air of self-confidence!
CI: What inspires you professionally?
JH, I travelled to some amazing places with work, like Zanzibar – heaven on earth! I find inspiration everywhere, in LA it’s the Hollywood sign and all movies I see, I attend many fashion shows, buy lots of fashion magazines and follow Style.com to keep up-to-date with the latest trends...
Jonas Hallberg is sunglass aficionado and he has a vast collection; some of them are from the brand Oscar Magnuson.
CI: What’s your advice when shopping for the perfect pair of frames?
JH: Go shopping on your own, it’s one of your most important purchases – you wear shades on your most prominent part of yourself - your face, so the right pair of frames should lift your best features and add something to the overall impression of yourself!
CI: What should you look for?
JH: Quality and design, don’t get caught up with big designer names – dare to go for quality and unique design, dare to buy what suits your face and your own individual style. Not everyone looks great in the latest trends. You also should have a selection of sunglasses – shades are very much in focus and can totally change your look. Buy a pair of casual and comfortable sunglasses of high quality for everyday protection, then buy a pair which is more elegant and that lifts your spirits and make you look/feel glamorous! Looking glamorous should always come from within of course, but a pair of smoking hot shades can help you bring it on!