It’s hard to believe that 16 years have passed since Brad Goreski made his television debut as a styling assistant on one of the first major reality fashion series in TV history. Yet it was on The Rachel Zoe Project from 2008 to 2010, that the Canadian stylist navigated the then-exclusive inner circle of celebrity styling personalities, always under the watchful eye of the camera. Goreski’s peppy presence acted as a defibrillator on the show, shocking the flat-lining tenor of his boss, Rachel Zoe — a lethargic, smoothie-sipping, boho chic-pushing fashion impressaria whose connections attracted a constellation of stars to her L.A. headquarters during awards season.

The show’s producers shrewdly focused on Goreski, a Port Perry, Ontario-born guppy out of water, and his penchant for doling out one-liners that kept audiences engaged. A notable example was when Goreski was tasked to assist in styling Naomi Campbell for her runway appearance at the supermodel’s Fashion for Haiti Relief event. Before fitting and primping Campbell, Goreski is captured on camera in a brief moment of quasi-hysteria, exclaiming, “Every single muscle in my body is convulsing with excitement and intense fear. It’s major.”

While his humour — inspired by the high drama of Hollywood’s erratic ecosystem — was amplified in The Rachel Zoe Project editing process, Goreski’s taste level, confidence and experience (often overlooked in bios, including his tenure as a West Coast assistant for Vogue) deserved greater recognition.

That changed when Goreski left Zoe’s fray and cultivated a coveted client list, building an empire around reshaping how the world viewed arrivals at the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys. The prophecy of New York Times writer Ben Widdicombe, who dubbed Gorseki “the Zelig of Fashion Week,” took on a new meaning when books, a solo-focused TV series, and appearances on 2 Broke Girls, and Family Guy kept his name in the game. A recent recurring role as a judge on Canadas Drag Race has proven to be the maraschino cherry on top of his career cake, yanking his bandwidth between his hometown of Toronto and his residence in Beverly Hills.

“When people say, ‘I’m living the dream’ you sometimes want to roll your eyes,” he says, seconds before apologizing for scheduling our interview during a carwash run in West Hollywood. “But nobody talks about what it takes to keep the dream alive.”

For Goreski, sustaining a career in style requires time, travel and tenacity — lots of it. Over the past year, he has been at the side of long-time client Demi Moore. The pair zigzagged through Sweden, Milan and Paris, preparing for Moore’s upcoming big career comeback. In particular, they focused the attention on the supernova star turned socialite, former radio star/model Anne Woodward in the Ryan Murphy series Feud: Capote vs. the Swans.

“I’ve been working with Demi since I was an assistant in 2008, so we have been pulling out all the stopsfor her new trajectory,” he says, noting that the pair spent time sitting front row at Dior, hobnobbing with labels like Max Mara, and connecting with Kim Jones (the artistic director at Fendi) to curate looks for her public appearances. The most viral moment from these cross-cultural endeavours happened when Moore wore a striking black and white Balmain gown at the premiere of Feud at the Museum of Modern Art in January. The design, which swathes Moore in a gilded Swan that looks like it is taking flight around the garment’s bodice, induced a social media frenzy reminiscent of the much written about hoopla surrounding the redefining LBD evening wear she wore in the 1993 film, Indecent Proposal.

“The goal is to get to the unexpected as much as you can,” Goreski says of the glamorous ambitions. “You can only do that when we’ve had such a long history of working together,” he notes. “There’s a level of trust that allows us to make statements.” Goreski asserts that the most important messages conveyed on current designer catwalks are driven by visual artists, all utilizing aesthetics to express something beyond descriptions of beauty or trendiness.

“We are looking at a new era of wearable art that pushes the envelope on what it means to be a man, a woman or anything in and around those definitions,” he says.

Among the numerous examples Goreski rhymes off are SiiGii, the acclaimed Spanish sculptor who walked Balenciaga’s runway in December, the art of Richard Hawkins fueling Loewe’s recent menswear line, Issey Miyake’s numerous intersections with the work of French artist Ronan Bouroullec, and Fendi’s applauded summer collection last year, inspired by the life and art of illustrator-photographer Antonio Lopez (whose past collaborations with singer Grace Jones are considered 24K pop culture gold).

Beyond the runway, art is a priority and a constant in Goreski’s professional and private world. At work, he constantly observes and comments on how the next generation of Drag Queens embraces clothing connecting to historic Queer acolytes (“I see Leigh Bowery interpreted on so many episodes — it’s thrilling), and future-forward fashion labels are drawn to multimedia (“the new girls adore referencing Mugler, McQueen or Schiaparelli”) on Canadas Drag Race.

At home, his walls are strewn with the works of photographers such as Vivien Maier and a James Nare single-swipe painting (which the British artist created by suspending himself from his studio ceiling with a special apparatus).

“I have a gigantic photo of Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Naomi Campbell in a bathtub in Paris from 1990 by Roxanne Lowit,” Goreski proudly states, before mentioning his interest in a painting he recently saw by Montréal’s Allison Katz downtown Los Angeles’s Hauser and Wirth Gallery.

He explains that his interest in artistry, regardless of the medium, extends beyond the professional realm and into the personal. “As a kid, I’ve been drawn to images of strong, beautiful, powerful women, obsessing over Marilyn Monroe and Madonna,” he says, recounting his “life-changing experience” witnessing the latter icon’s celebration tour. “She did this beautiful tribute to people who passed away tragically from HIV-AIDS while she sang “Live to Tell” — among them is Keith Haring,” he adds. “I think the synergy between these Divas and Queer people is so powerful and rarely talked about. The art of dressing up or getting made up and creating images that bring people together — all people from all walks of life — makes me realize I’m part of a history of change,” he reflects. “That change and what it can do for anyone who feels like an outcast,” he concludes, “that makes the hard work worthwhile.”

By Elio Iannacci — *Insight: The Art Of Living Magazine – The Metamorphosis Issue.


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