Fashion Flashback to Stylist & Makeup Artist: The VOGUE Mexico Cover Days- Big Jewels, Major Dresses, and Even Bigger Hair
Fashion Archeology: We thought you’d like to dig deep into our careers and share some fab magazine covers that Brad & I worked on together!
Brad Boles and I met a million years ago when I was just starting out as a stylist- fresh from a month on location in Saint Marteen for a sportswear campaign. A model had told me that Brad was looking for a stylist to work with on some covers he was doing for VOGUE Mexico and I should meet him. Brad and I hit it off like mad– maybe too mad at times– and started a styling team that went on for years to come with a variety of different clients and jobs.
Besides, our core crew… Brad, North on hair, Craig X Sotres photographer, and my colorful band of assistants, what I loved the most was having to pull the most glamour dresses from the best of the best of designers (some couture too), and always having to emphasize VERY important jewels to suit the readership.
Magazine covers in those days were much tighter headshots than the current more full body shot and big jewels were definitely it! I was like a kid in a very secure candyshop getting to “try on” all the baubles that I would eventually pull for the shoot. Talk about aspirational fashion!
What always amused me most is that while I was busy styling some very “uptown” rich be-atch looks I was mostly hanging out in the more edgy downtown club scene at the time… I love a little dichotomy to stay real and to appreciate life from all sides! Read Brad’s story and hope you have as much fun reading it as we did working on those shoots. – Sharon Haver
Sharon and I met Craig X Sotres at the beginning of the supermodel craze in the mid-1980s. Craig was the cover photographer for VOGUE Mexico, and the glamour team was Brad Boles (make-up), Sharon Haver (stylist), and North Rebis (hair).We were all very excited about doing a cover of such magnitude. The planning took weeks. The casting alone could have caused many a war as we each had our favorite model of the moment.
When the shooting day came, Sharon had thousands and thousands of dollars of off-the-runway and couture dresses were already on racks from the night before, the security guards arrived with jewels from David Webb, Harry Winston or Van Cleef and Arpels, and we were spurred on by the morning rush of coffee.
Sharon and her styling assistants du jour were steaming the clothes that she prepped all week and setting them out– with shoes too as even though shoes were usually not seen on the actual cover, it set the mood for the model. Craig was working on the lighting and I was setting up for the make-up. North was setting up his hair station. Of course, we were all catching up on the latest fashion gossip and who went where the night before.
What made this all so more important to each of us was the privilege of doing a Vogue cover – not just one but also several over a 3-year period.
What most people don’t know is that covers and editorial shots never pay well. Models, make-up artists, stylists and hair people, as well as photographers do it to build their portfolios and land advertising jobs that pay the big bucks. For our team it gave us a sense that we had arrived and were each being appreciated for all the years of free and sub low wage shots and schlepping though the snow and heat, all for a dream. Thankfully, the money you didn’t earn in editorial was made up in more commercial work.
My favorite model and cover was with the flame-haired beauty Kathrine Redding. I had to fight to get the team to agree to my choice of model even through she was at the top of her game and one of the most sought after models of the day. But in the end, the jewels from David Webb, the hair, and make-up all came together in perfect harmony. This was a cover I’m still most proud of to this day.
Debbie Dickinson, the younger sister of Janice was such a blast, because she was also a personal friend of mine and we had a great comedic banter amongst us all on that cold winter morning. I had just returned from working in Milan and was in love with Janice but could never get cast to do her make-up no matter how hard I tried. Debbie’s cover gave up the famous family pout! And it would be the closest I ever got to the family jewels. I ran into Debbie recently and we reminisced about this very cover and her sister “The Mouth”…oh what laughs!
Paula Ciccone the sidekick and sister of Madonna and the two shared a bedroom growing up. Paula came to New
York in the mid-1980s to try her hand at modeling. I meet her while she was living in Madonna’s old fourth-floor, cockroach ridden walkup studio that she shared with her brother Christopher Ciccone on Ave B and 3rd Street.
They once had a booze-fueled Saturday party that packed in way too many people. The party spilled out in to the hall that night where I found myself face to face with Paula. We became fast friends and soon enough I was trying to convince the team to shoot her for a cover!
The results were uncanny in that she looked so much like Madonna in a movie of the same period: “Who’s That Girl”, co-staring Griffin Dunne. Note the hair style…so very Madonna. I think that was North’s little Joke!
Then there were the covers dripping with diamonds with models Sophie Billard and Antonia, the Mexican supemodel of the day… oh wow! There were other covers as well, but these are some of our favorites.
The circus often times included Sharon’s colorful cast of ever-rotating styling assistants that I called the Drag Squad.
Don’t fret, I was pretty glammed up myself in those days! Jay Alexander whirling through the doors at the 11th hour with the most fabulous garment bags from YSL, Ungaro, Valentino Jean Paul Gaultier, Moschino and shoes boxes piled higher then his eyebrows!
And believe me no one dare ask for an explanation, as the world came to know him as Miss J. “America’s Next Top Model”, that boy has a tell-it-like it tongue, never afraid to use it! In those days; he and North were roommates.
Then there was the ever fabulous and omnipresent Micheal Alan Stein, let’s just say he was not a shrinking violet, but filled with fierce attitude think Wesley Snipes in “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar”.
Michael has a brilliant eye for all things-over-the top and Sharon says he later became a fashion designer to rival Donna Karan in the art of draping! Micheal would moonlight in floor length gowns and chandeliers earring at Xenon often times coming to the set forgetting to remove the false lashes from the night before.
What those shopkeepers along Madison Avenue must of thought when either one of those larger-than- life personalities where picking up for a Mexican Vogue shoot!
There was Phillip Bloch too, known to most as a celebrity stylist today after he relocated to Los Angeles for a time.
We each went on to many great things.
Sharon, North and myself moved into major ad campaigns with Sharon eventually leaving the photography business to become a syndicated fashion advice columnist and to create FocusOnStyle and becoming the face of Macy’s in a national commercial.
I went on to do make-up in film, eventually becoming a Lifestyle Guru as well as landing a re-appearing role on “The Real Housewives of New York City,” and of course you can find me here as a Contributing Editor at Large. Craig Sotres moved to the west coast and continues to create magic behind the lens.
Sadly, we lost North Rebis before he could see his legacy remembered and celebrated for its brilliance. For this, I dedicate our Vogue memories in North’s honor. – Brad Boles, Contributing Editor at Large
Sharon Haver and Brad Boles have been collaborating for years.
They met on their first cover shoot for VOGUE Mexico, "back in the day," as Brad likes to call it. They continued to booked as part of fab fashion trio for photo shoots- Sharon as the fashion stylist, Brad on makeup, and the late North Rebis on hair. Either making everyday clothes look more exotic or couture even more fantastic, they became longtime friends on the other side of the scrim.
Sharon is the founder and editor in chief of FocusOnStyle and Brad is its roving editor at large and regularly seen on "The Real Housewives of New York City" as Jill Zarin's gay husband.
Still continuing to finish each other's sentences, but not always in total agreement, Sharon Haver and Brad Boles will have you in stitches and looking pretty amazing too. Watch Impromtpu Madness for video style tips and listen to Focus on Style Talk Radio for more fashion chat. They are presently writing a style book and developing a TV series.