Closet Space: Faustina Rose: Styling as Magic and Mystery

 FAUSTINA ROSE: Styling as Magic and Mystery 

(Interviewer:  Katherine and Angela Sloan, CS Editors for SPACES)

Should we do this with cake?

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Faustina Rose with her Daphne Guinness/ Cruella De Vil-esque hair: cut by Ryan Stone and color by Kitty at Ted Gibson Salon, NYC.

Faustina Rose, an up-and-coming fashion stylist, was kind enough to sit down with us and chat about beauty, art, the supernatural, fashion firsts, Helmut Newton, and the importance of using multiple eyeliners daily. Having met her through makeup artist and SPACES interviewee David Frank Ray, we knew that we would immediately become fast friends. Rose has already inspired many artists to photograph, film, and sketch her throughout her young life. When she’s not playing the role of muse and New York City fashionista, Rose can be seen out-and-about making a statement with her signature two-toned coif, red lips, painted-on beauty mark, and black eyeliner that accentuates her doe eyes. She’s so full of fun and whimsy that, before conducting the interview, she inquired, stone-faced: “should we do this with cake?” She’s the Marie Antoinette for the 21st century (sans royalty and the guillotine). 

Katherine and Angela: You have such an interesting sense of personal style and you use makeup, hairstyling, jewelry and clothing as such a big part of your own artistic expression: where does the inspiration come from, and who helped you to cultivate your exquisite taste?

Faustina: I take inspiration from Elton John, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Manson, Dita Von Teese (for beauty), and Daphne Guinness. They all have an eccentric, detail-oriented style. They all have personality in their clothing: feathers, sequins, and furs. All of these people have such big personalities, so they need big clothing; they need eccentric clothing to speak for them and their personalities.

K and A:  I know that you really admire Daphne Guinness and her role as a fashion icon: your black and platinum hair is very reminiscent of her look (and of Cruella de Vil’s). Could you talk a little bit about her and why she is such an inspiration?

Faustina: Daphne is such a big inspiration of mine. When I get ready in the morning, or a year, or a decade, I do it as an artistic statement. Since I’m not a performing artist, and don’t sing or dance, I wear art and become a character. As I dress I have themes. We (Daphne and I) both are our art. Plus, I want to collect couture! I want to be known for that!

The incomparable Daphne Guinness looking every bit the part of an heiress, fashion icon, muse, collector of couture, designer, and artist.

The incomparable Daphne Guinness looking every bit the part of an heiress, fashion icon, muse, collector of couture, designer, and artist.

K and A: Other than Daphne Guinness, who are some of your greatest beauty inspirations and icons? Why?

Faustina: Dita Von Teese and Lady Gaga are such beauty icons for me. Dita is always so perfectly groomed; everything she does is an entire image of perfection, down to her pumps! I love to explore different looks and, since I look so much like Lady Gaga, I know what looks good on me and what doesn’t! I’ve learned how to explore my look through watching her. I have always worn dramatic eye makeup and red lips, but when I look at her, sometimes her eyes look bigger, and I look at her makeup and see why her eyes look bigger and I figure out how to do it through her. Because let’s face it: we all want our eyes to look bigger!

K and A:  What films and/or works of art inspire your own personal style? Have you ever felt like a living work of art?

Faustina: I do feel like a living work of art. Every time I watch something new, my inspiration changes and expands. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer really inspired my mind and not so much my fashion. Movies inspire my mannerisms. There’s a specific scene in the film, Perfume and it takes place in a perfume shop. The color temperature is composed of blues and golds and there are crystal bottles on all the shelves with old women smelling their hands and wrists. What inspires me about that is that they can use perfume as an escape from the town in which they live and you feel it when you watch the film!

K and A:  How does living in New York City inspire your style? Does street style and people-watching influence you? Or are you more influenced by fashion magazines, fashion shows, celebrity, etc.?

Faustina: I am actually never inspired by fashion magazines or celebrities. I’m interested in those I consider style icons, but they come around once a decade. I’m inspired by pieces of clothing, shoes, and jewelry that I find. I take one piece or article of clothing and think of all the different things that can be done with it. That inspires me. When I come across a living piece, it talks to me.

I don’t get inspired by people who have style, but by people who don’t exactly know how to style themselves well.

Faustina Rose in a JS Collections skirt and Philomena Kwok chain headband, Photographer: JD Forte.

Faustina Rose in a JS Collections skirt and Philomena Kwok chain headband, Photographer: JD Forte.

K and A:  What fictional characters from film and literature do you most identity with when it comes to your own personal style?

Faustina: Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles in Bob Fosse’s Cabaret. I mean, I am “Divine decadence,” darling.

K and A:  When styling another woman, what is most important? Is it essential to highlight a characteristic of her true personality through makeup and fashion? Or are your styling choices constructed around fantasy and illusion?


1. The most important thing is to get the proper fit.

2. Make sure that she is wearing the clothes and that they aren’t wearing her.

3. Everything must be polished. For example: if you have a dress that needs a specific necklace but you are without, then don’t wear one!

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Institute magazine, Photographer: JD Forte, Model: Rachele Schank at Women Direct, Stylist: Faustina Rose, Stylist Assistant: Man-E Jay, Hair: David Colvin, Makeup: Nina Park, Digital Tech: Pony Lott, 1st assistant: Brett Sea Mans, 2nd assistant: Shane Lavancher.

K and A:   You’ve mentioned before that you love science fiction. How does it influence your fashion and makeup choices? Can you think of any examples of a sci-fi film or novel that you especially love?

Faustina:  It kind of goes beyond sci-fi. I love mystery: magic, ghosts/spirits, aliens, deep-sea life, death, horses! I know horses aren’t sci-fi, but they are! They truly are! Can you name a more mystical creature? They are the most spirited, spiritual animals out there. My mind is always up in the clouds or stars, in some far off land I’ve created and that definitely transcribes in real life. I find, at times, when I put myself together, there is some alien-like quality to it and my supernatural long fingers totally add to the image (laughs)!I have a friend who tells me I am a “shape shifting unicorn” and I just love that he sees me that way; that’s so magical!

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Faustina Rose plays the role of model and stylist: photographed by Marina Lankina in a photo series called “Faust,” March 2011.

K and A::  Let’s delve into iconic photographs and films. What is an image in the cultural/media/artistic zeitgeist that sticks in your head as important when it comes to standing out in the world of fashion?

Faustina:  Helmut Newton’s black and white photograph of Elsa Peretti wearing a bunny girl costume while standing on a rooftop in New York City (1975). I love black and white photographs of glamorous, sexually powerful women. I feel like that image alone represents everything I want to be and live to be. I love Nick Knight: he creates such an imaginary space in his photographs. I really admire that.

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Helmut Newton’s photograph of Elsa Peretti in a “bunny girl” costume, 1975.

K and A:  Tell us about one of your first makeup experiences. What are some of your must-have beauty products?

Faustina: I wanted to have a blue smoky eye when I was in sixth grade, so I went to the MAC counter and asked them to teach me. I have been playing with my makeup for as long as I can remember and I always loved drama. I swear: I was born to be an adult. I remember the first time I wore heels! I took my mom’s shoes and wore them to a ballet for Christmas; we had to park very far away and I was complaining about my feet hurting. My mom said I better learn how to walk in them if I wanted to wear them!

My beauty must-haves include Cover FX foundation and three black eyeliners (yes, I use three different eyeliners daily!). One is gel and the other two are different kinds of pencils. Some other must-haves include my L’Oreal mascara, and my NARS Red Lizard lipstick. I seriously cannot go out of my apartment without my eyeliner- drawn-in-eyelid-crease.

K and A: What were you like as a little girl? Were you always playing with your mother’s makeup and fantasizing about glamour and whimsy?

Faustina: I used to rip the heads off my Barbie dolls and keep them all together. I was always with my horse and definitely not afraid to get dirty and play with bugs. My mother was afraid to open my lunch box at the end of the day because I saved all the bugs from the playground! I went through a phase when all I wore was 101 Dalmatians-inspired clothing: red, white, and black with Dalmatian spots. My dad even bought me a Dalmatian puppy named Purdy. I’ve tried every different style imaginable because I have always loved to change and explore; I am a method “fashionista” since I don’t act.

I was such a handful as a little girl. Gosh, I don’t know how my mom did it! Once I got into eighth grade, I started to get to my girly roots: you know, after that awkward stage. I would makeover all my friends, do their nails, pick out clothes for them. Oh my God: I remember my eighth grade graduation outfit! It was a hot pink leopard, skin-tight velvet dress cut at the ankle with a side-slit and I had these hot pink glitter platform heels. It was awesome!

K and A:  What about fashion, to you, is analogous to art? How is styling someone akin to creating a work of art?

Faustina: Styling is creating a work of art because you have three different key elements:

1) You are creating an environment and personality, and you enhance the body.

2) Enhancing the body is our goal as women and to create an hour-glass shape with clothing. 3) We can totally reconstruct a person and create something inhuman; you can completely change the body and personality by the clothes that you’re wearing.

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Faustina Rose near a Macys at 4 AM, Makeup and Photography by Robert Hayman. McDonalds has never been so chic!

K and A:  Beauty, to us, is only important when it transcends the physical and is not just about style, but substance as well. What is the most beautiful thing that a person can do while wearing a gorgeous outfit in order to become iconic?

Faustina: “Iconic”: I love that word! In order to be iconic, you must completely be at one with yourself. Being iconic is a path: you don’t just get there! When you have reached that state of being and truly know who you are and love yourself, you have an open heart and love others and accept others. On that path, you find class. Class is not about what designer you are wearing, what places you are seen, or how beautiful your partner is. Class is having manners, respect and consideration for everyone you meet. It is about making others feel good and about radiating positivity and peace.

Once you have mastered those things, you can put on a twelve dollar dress with that pair of heels you have had in your closet that you bought on sale and have been waiting to wear for that special day. It is then when you have become iconic.

K and A:  Let’s talk about Lady Gaga: you have been mistaken for her quite a bit while out-and-about in New York City. Are you flattered by this kind of attention, or is it a nuisance?

Faustina:  When I was all blonde, I would get followed down the street; people would take pictures of me while I was out and about. If I sat at a window at lunch, people would stand in front of the window and wave at me and take a picture. I have been mobbed by, seriously, thousands of people thinking I was her. I am just a typical NYC girl and, I have to say, I know what it is like to be famous and that is pretty cool. I don’t really talk about the experiences but I have had a lot. I enjoy it because, for that brief second, it made someone happy. But, I love nothing more than to be myself. I think that is one reason why I always explore my look, so I can find something that is fully me. I feel I have finally found that now.

Before, people thought I was her or they would say “Did you know you look like Gaga???” Now, I get “I bet people tell you that you look just like Gaga all the time.” Now that I love! What a compliment! I have to say… I love Gaga! What a powerful and positive woman! I am so glad I look like her! And, I give a lot of thanks to her; I have had a lot of acceptance because of it. She paved a path for me without even knowing it. I actually got into styling because of Gaga. I always loved it and wanted to do it but, I had no way of getting into it because I didn’t know anyone or anything about it! Photographers wanted to photograph me and, since then my life has snowballed into where I am now: it introduced me to my friends, helped me be fearless in front of a camera (where I was so nervous before), and it really helped people accept my beauty.

I used to get made fun of before she became iconic. I always felt beautiful, but that was also a journey. Lady Gaga really reshaped and expanded what the world thought was beautiful. People now seem to be more accepting of different looks.

faustina amazing hat 2

This was taken during fashion week, 2011 for at a Fashion Indie party between shows; it documents the meeting between Faustina Rose and milliner Philomena Kwok. Rose describes the experience as “magical:” “Kwok had all of her hats lying out for us to try on and they all looked good on me (laughs).”

K and A:  Please explain to us, in your words, the difference between style and fashion. Can style be learned? Or is something innate, like a sense of humor?

Faustina:  Fashion comes and goes. It is also a power; if you don’t work the shit out of that fashion, it wears you. Style is a lot like a sense of humor, you either have it or you don’t, and every style is different. Style, to me, is working within trends and making it your own and working with what you have. A wardrobe should be a collection and you add to it what you can every season. Adding to a wardrobe keeps it fresh and brings new life to what you already have.

The media teaches us what to wear but, style is like soul. You either have it or you don’t and, when you do, people know. I want people to feel my image like you would feel a singer’s words.

K and A:  Could you give us all a few hints at some little known places in and around New York City where you can find lots of exciting pieces to add to our summer wardrobes?

Faustina: I will go anywhere. I do have a favorite place, though and I am trying to save up in order to buy something there because they have the most amazing pieces!! It’s called Allan & Suzi.

K and A: If you had to choose anyone in the world to style: who would you choose and why?

Faustina: OMG, one is totally expected and one is very random. Anne Hathaway is my dream client! I can see my styling on her (my styling doesn’t reflect my personal style); everything about her is just breathtaking. My random choice for someone I want to style is Joe Jonas. His look has a lot of potential for extreme style exploration while maintaining class.

K and A:  Whose vanity table and cosmetic bag would you most like to raid?

Faustina: The makeup artist and founder of Illamasqua, Alex Box. Duh!