1. Tell me a biography about you, when and where you were born?
I was born, first child, a Friday October 27th, 1972, and grew up in the Principality of Monaco, between French and Italian cultures (I fluently speak both languages). I moved to Paris at the age of 17, for my studies, and to New York at 24, to start working and create what would be the basis of my vision, fashion and fine arts (painting). I visited various countries throughout Europe and Asia, although I feel that I still have many destinations to explore.
2. What was your major inspiration to become the incredible stylist that you are today?
The main influence might come from the feminine lineage from which I have the chance to belong to, with 2 grandmothers (one French, one Italian) who created clothes professionally, at one stage of their lives. I was also directly influenced by the example of my mother, a brilliant and beautiful woman, gifted with a very powerful sense of trend, an artistic sense of deep beauty, independent from any brands slavery. I would like to consider myself as having a similar approach to style and, even if I am always happy to discover some amazing new styling or great ideas, I don't really compare my work to anyone or anything. The environment I grew up in was the early 80's baroque Couture style, with the bloom of the greatest fashion designers, mostly French and Italian, the impact of magazines as Vogue and L'Officiel, and in the streets of the spectacular Monte Carlo, I was the kid petrified in front of the luxurious windows of YSL and Christian Dior, rue des Beaux Arts. Growing up, my sense of aesthetics was also very influenced by Japanese cartoons (sci-fi mermaids), martial arts and music videos, to later become obsessed with movies, and costumes. I read fairy tales, then the psychology of the fairy tales. I am very interested by philosophy and psychology, and each piece of cloth and accessories belongs to a place and a time, tells a story, and an other one once you put two elements together...
3. Where did you study design?
I can actually consider myself to be an autodidact for arts and design. At the age of 17, I needed to choose what field to study and, as a true creative dreamer, I made a priority of my independence and my entrepreneurial spirit. Hence, I did not go to art school but chose to move to Paris to get sharp economic understanding and tools in a high level business school. There, I studies marketing, strategy, management, and graduated in finance. I wrote my thesis on the fashion designer industry, rich of the experience of many design-related internships, and personal projects which included:
- designing and producing costumes and fashion shows (made of unusual materials)
- designing costumes for a video game company
- learning the fancy jewelry craft with "haute couture" names and designing my own line, "KISS & FLY Monte Carlo".
I strengthened my education with the highly selective postgraduate program at the IFM (Institut Francais de la Mode ) in Fashion Marketing & Management, and strove to build a meaningful experience in Haute Couture (LACROIX, GIVENCHY and GALLIANO), within several textile groups (DUPONT LYCRA, DMC) and with an international focus via trips/ missions (Asia for a textile company and in Italy for G-SHOCK CASIO). By the end of 1997, I felt the need for more and decided to go to New York. It is fair to say that I fell in love
with this worldwide capital of entrepreneurs, challenges and revelations. I soon came to the conclusion that freelancing would enable me to fulfill my passion from a professional standpoint. It also revealed myself as an artist, fashion stylist and painter. Since then, I have been working with numerous international publications, the best designers and showrooms in the industry. I have also worked as creative director of the media company www.worldasia.com (specializes in fashion show production, web magazine, entertainment related events and television programs), and recently became the fashion editor of Trump World Magazine. For the fine arts part, I had so far about 6 art shows.
4. How many years you have as a stylist?
I could say a life time, since sitting with my little sister among the shoes of our mother closet. Professionally, would say about 5 years.
5. How can you describe your work?
Styling, to me, is like cooking. Composing an image, as I do while painting. The big pieces (a powerful Jacket, dress, or pair of boots) balanced with the right spices (the accessories). I believe in balance and correspondences, and want to ponder the weights (surface the pieces take on an image), textures, colors, shapes. Consistency with an element of surprise. Sensuous comfort with a hint of lime.
6. To what celebrities or public recognized figures, magazines, newspapers, tv etc. have you worked for?
Several music artists (visit my website), and magazines as Cosmopolitan and Harper's Bazaar. A photographer friend called me two days ago as he saw me on TV, Full Frontal Fashion, near Uma Thurman at the Marc Jacobs show. Smile.
7. When you are working, what inspires you?
I am very strong on concepts. Team work is very important, before starting anything. And before getting into the creative part of the styling, it is necessary for me to know precisely what we are seeking to achieve. Creative team work inspires me. A styling concept is a story, which can be told from 1 to 20 pages. Each image is a dream I want to offer to the person who will open and read through that magazine, or will look at my paintings. I am also, of course, influenced by the general trends, which I believe travel in the air (we all want retro or sexy or sci-fi or ethnic or hippie or strict… at the same time). The style "waves" I am interested in are the international ones, the common culture you will find in NY, Milan, Paris, Monaco and other truly global metropolis. At last, I am inspired by my own experience, the books I read, the movies I watch, the people I meet. The various topics that go through my mind might as well find an echo or a translation into images…
8. What elements distinguished you from the rest of the stylist all around the world?
My origin, maybe, considering we are only 6,000 Monegasques (Monaco natives) in the world. My background probably, with both a true artistic sense and a Marketing basis. I tend to think global, and to communicate smoothly. I thus became a precious ally for most photographers I worked with. I could often be considered as an Art Director, and got other titles as Creative Director and Fashion Editor. To go back to the styling part, everyone is unique, everyone has specific dreams and references, and each artist has his or her own symbolic code and language.
9. Which stylist did you admire?
My attention has always been more on designers (Galliano, Lacroix, Mugler, Montana, YSL, Jean Paul Gauthier, John Richmond, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana), photographers and magazine styles (Italian and French Vogue, W, V, Citizen K, Numero, Spoon) than on fashion stylists themselves.
10. What you think is the key to your success or victory?
I would say, in 3 words :ART + STAMINA + INTEGRITY. The inner passion of a creative self, curious, open, aware and independent. The strength that anyone needs to keep faith and pursue a creative career, with all the risks and hard time this represents. A strong romantic sense of life and values, honor & integrity. And from respect, great friends and working partners. A genuine child mind in a highly professional environment.
11. In you career what have been you mayor goal achieved and your most memorable moment?
My first fashion (costumes) shows, because my heart was pounding so fast and loud. Each one of my art shows (I was writing "heart" shows). Every time I see a magazine I worked with on a newsstand. I then feel proud for a minute. So many memorable moments. Waiting outside, on some freezing evening, in a snow storm, for a taxi for more than one hour with more bags to carry than I could handle by myself, the photographer calling me and the complete team waiting for me. Lately, the emotion of having this 900,000 dollar diamonds and rubies necklace and earrings for a shoot for Trump magazine. I lived 3 days with this set. A big responsibility but also the dizziness of holding such a magnificent piece in my hands. I can definitely say that my life is a great adventure.
12. Describe yourself using five adjectives?
OPEN, PASSIONATE, SHARP, PLAYFUL, ROMANTIC (as perceiving life like a movie).
13. Do you have other passion in your life besides the enormous passion you feel for your work?
The human (philosophy, psychology, healing, cultures and food). Kung Fu & Asian cultures. Playing Chess. And dancing, with a recent obsession on (Nuevo) Tango.
14. What dreams and goals do you have?
Getting bigger and better. Developing larger and more inspiring projects, absolutely international.
On a personal level, meeting my partner in life and inspire each other to bigger and better. Having kids, the most creative and interactive master pieces. Maybe, one day, be based in Monaco , live, work and travel from there. The sea, the sun, my family, a great international environment and proximity to Milan, Paris , London … Maybe create my own line of clothes, Monte Carlo based, travel twice a year to Asia for the production, twice a year to NY for the sales. The future still needs to be written.
15. What is your philosophy of life?
I used to think : "Don't expect anything, be ready for anything". But I recently changed my mantra for "Dream big, you can make anything happen".
16. Future plans you have?
Day by day. Project after project. 6 months ago, I created my visual consulting company, CREALAB LLC, and have a new visa for 3 years. For now I am still blossoming in NYC, and can't imagine a better and more central place to be.
17. Where can people contact you or find your work?
On my general website: www.carolinebergonzi.com.
18. In your sentimental life, do you have a boyfriend or husband that supports your work?
Smile. No, my heart is still available. Smile again. I do have great friends to support me emotionally when I need a little push, but I need to admit that my pace is fast and that I am very focused on work. Also, I do believe that everything happens in due time, and that bettering myself allows me to meet better people.
19. How can you describe your family?
My family is a treasury. The colourful encounter of strong personalities with big golden hearts. Mediterranean style. My parents and siblings all live in Monaco. We are all of the international & entrepreneur type. I am the one who pursued an artistic career "away from home", and I do miss them. It is sometimes hard to justify the decisions we need to take, even to ourselves, but we can only do the best we can.
"C'est la vie" !