We were honoured to interview Ivan Bitton, and uncover how a French boy with an eye for style became one of Hollywood’s top celebrity fashion stylists. He gave us an insight into his glamorous world.
Tell me about yourself and your career so far, how did you become a fashion stylist for celebrities?
My name is Ivan Bitton, I am French born and raised, but have been living in Los Angeles for the last 22 years! I am a red carpet stylist in Hollywood, but I am shifting slightly right now. I am currently travelling extensively around the world to discover emerging fashion ateliers, and bringing them back to my large network of Hollywood celebrities and personal stylists.
In the late 90s I started working for the late L’Wren Scott. I met her through a friend of mine L’Wren was the biggest stylist in Hollywood, but at the time I didn’t even know what a stylist was!
I started do all the merchandise returns for her, which involved lots of driving…and little by little I progressed to assisting her on all the shoots with her Iconic clients, like Tom Cruise, Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman to name a few.
A few years later she met Mick Jagger and fell in love and closed her office in Los Angeles, to move with him to London and to his chateau in France .
I then started do private styling for Salma Hayek and Renee Zellweger and that’s how it all started…
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
The first time I went on a private jet with L’wren to go to Tom Cruise’s ranch in Colorado! For me, the whole experience was so unbelievable! I have been in many such situations since then, but there’s nothing quite like the first time!
What challenges do you face as a stylist?
There are many challenges, but the biggest one is to keep finding new designers and designs that are creative, talented and well executed etc. Hollywood is like a fashion monster, it needs new designs every day; all the time. So, between designer jewellery, shoes, bags, scarves, and of course clothing, I constantly have to bring in new styles, and that’s the greatest challenge.
What is the biggest misconception people not working in your field have about your job?
The biggest misconception is the idea that all a stylist does is parade around in front of their clients and critiques how an outfit looks. But it is soooo much more than that. Yes, having a pleasant personality will go a long way, but the hard job comes before the presentation, when you have to go pull looks from everywhere, organize each look, then carry everything to the place of presentation. Which usually involves dozens of bags, racks, hangers, mannequins, etc, then put everything nice and organized to look almost like a shop, with rows of shoes, jewellery, clothes, hats, bags etc. It is really hard work, even with assistants, and then when it’s done, you have to take it all down and return each item back to the designers and to the showrooms.
What goals do you wish to achieve in the future?
I want to eventually specialize in promoting designers who use organic, non-animal and renewable materials. By associating them with Hollywood celebrities, I hope to start shifting the fashion business toward using only ‘smart materials’.
What was the biggest lesson you’ve learned in Hollywood?
I find that people in Hollywood, and especially celebrities have the extraordinary ability to cut any negative people out of their lives, almost like an instinct. It’s shocking at first, but before you know it, you only have positive, fun, light people around you, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
How do designers get their products into the hands of a celebrity?
Getting a product on a Hollywood celebrity is the most difficult thing you can do in Fashion. It takes so many circumstances and elements for a certain garment to end up being photographed on a star.
It’s incredibly difficult and mostly impossible. That’s why I have created a private network at Ivan Bitton Inc that connects huge Hollywood celebrities to emerging talents that my team and I have discovered from around the world. Celebrities LOVE it, and of course it’s a fantastic opportunity for fashion artists.
Do you get to mingle with celebs as part of your job?
Yes, I have quite a few celeb friends and over the years I have hung out with many huge stars. I’ve developed real close friendships with some celebrities as well. You can see a few of my friends by googling my name.
How do you spend your time when you’re not working?
I have a cabin an hour outside Los Angeles in the mountains, and I spend at least 3 days a week there with long-time friends and my dog. I love to hike and I LOOOVE watching TV, I watch every Real Housewives in the world, including the Real Housewives of Melbourne.
How do you choose what looks work for each individual client?
Mostly, you have to look at the body type. For instance, Michelle Rodriguez has very large shoulders. So, for her I never ever use anything that covers her shoulders, otherwise she would look like a football player! Also, you need to consider their skin tone and their age.
What do you think is the most essential item in every woman’s wardrobe?
What is your favourite item in your closet?
My crocs. Who would have thought that shoes made out of plastic could be so comfortable!
If you could choose a celebrity closet to shop in, which one would it be and why?
Lindsay Lohan. She is a mess yes, her whole apartment is a messy, badly organized closet, BUT she is very experimental. She has soooo much stuff that designers send her, and she doesn’t wear most of it, but she keeps everything! And I mean EVERYTHING, just like a real fashion Hoarder! When I am there, I feel like I am inside the magical fashion cave of Ali Baba, just reach for the floor and pick up a design marvel.
If you could choose anyone to give a makeover to, who would it be and why?
Anne Hathaway. She is underrated in her fashion choices. I feel like she has the potential to be a real fashionista, and she is beautiful when she puts a little effort into it….
Let’s say you could travel back in time to one fashion era, where would you end up? What did you like about that period?
The court of Marie Antoinette and Louis the 16th in France in the 1700s
Fashion was exploding, each item was experimental and crafted by the best artists the world had to offer. You see unbelievable Hats, Men experimenting with Wigs, make-up, women dressed in 20 kilo dresses, dripping in diamonds and gold. It was fashion at its purest excess and soooo experimental. You could just let your imagination go wild. They had whole parties and festivals just for crazy extreme fashion.
Who is your favourite fashion designer? Why?
Tom Ford. Especially for women. Everything he does is perfect! I have used Tom Ford so much, it always works.
Describe a time early in your career where you felt you could say, ‘I made it’.
As a child I remember watching this show on French TV that once a week summed up all the gossip and fashion from Hollywood. I was captivated. Fast forward to the Oscars a few years ago and I was being interviewed by the same show I used to watch as a kid. That day I thought ‘I have made it!’
Who are some of your top dressed celebrities today?
Jayden Smith, what a brave fashion warrior!
Which celebrities do you want to work with next?
I would love to style Bruce Jenner after she transitions!
Your most hated fashion trend in recent years?
Girls that are showing too much skin! You watch a celebrity walking down a red carpet and all you can see is her barely covered vagaga and breasts hanging out….The Miley cyrus type outfits.
Find out more about Ivan Bitton on www.Ivanbitton.com