Evyan Metzner may not be the type of uber-trendy magazine editor who's a magnet for street style blogs, a la Kate Lanphear, Giovanna Battaglia, Joanna Hillman or Anna Dello Russo. But that doesn't mean she doesn't pack a major style punch.
In fact, I'd hazard to guess that Metzner's more laid-back brand of chic—which she honed at Mademoiselle, Harper's Bazaar and Vanity Fair before landing her current gig as Fashion Director at SELF—resonates with far more women than those whose main source of news is Style.com and The Daily. By which I mean, ordinary women who are anything but, the type of real-world heroines—fitness buffs, working moms, and anyone seeking to live a well-balanced life—that Metzner and SELF celebrate in the pages of their magazine (online and off-), year in and year out.
"I knew I wanted to be a fashion stylist when I was about 20 years old," Metzner told The Fashion Informer. "I had always kind of styled without knowing that was what I was doing. I used to dress up my brothers and sisters and my friends. But it wasn’t until I knew that the job actually existed at a magazine that I knew what I wanted to do. And I love styling because it’s part of making a picture. I’ve always loved photography and it was a way to help make pictures without actually being a photographer. I could never design clothes—I have no idea how to sew. But I know how to put things together and how to think of stories in my head and what clothes would work well to hold those stories together."
Metzner, who joined SELF in 2004, describes her aesthetic as being a blend of "diamonds and Birkenstocks" and believes that style is "a mixture of fun and function." All of which you can see in her stories, which have also appeared in American and British Vogue, Teen Vogue and InStyle (she also consults for commercial clients such as Banana Republic, Reem Acra, Estée Lauder, John Frieda and Victoria's Secret).
"I love sparkly, shiny, colorful, cheerful clothes mixed with a little sporty, down-to-earth, easy-to-wear feeling," says the tousle-haired blond. "I love to mix high and low prices and I’m not snobby about what I like, whether it’s a $5 t-shirt or a $700 pair of YSL shoes."
That doesn't mean, however, that all styling gigs are created equal. "SELF is much more of a lifestyle magazine in which it's about finding your personal style, as opposed to reporting on fashion just for the sake of fashion," says Metzner, who studied communications and art history at the College of Wooster in Ohio. "I love that SELF has a great mixture of fashion, reality and fantasy. When you work for magazines like Vogue or Bazaar or InStyle, it's more about the fashion than about whether someone is going to really wear it or where they can wear it. But I like both!"
And Metzner, who has worked with such legendary photographers as Annie Leibovitz, Arthur Elgort, Bruce Weber and Carter Smith, recently began Tweeting, which she also likes ("It's been a really interesting learning experience!").
The Fashion Informer spoke to the busy mother of two before the last round of shows to dish on dream jobs, the difference between a stylist and a Fashion Director, and the secrets to producing a great fashion shoot.
What's on your nightstand?
A photograph of my Dad and a photograph of my children. A shell, heart-shaped jewelry box. David Sedaris’s A Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Wicked Bestiary, which has replaced my Hunger Games novels. And an iHome to play music to wake up to. It's cluttered.
Favorite time of day?
Morning. I get to hang out with my kids, make breakfast and run around like a crazy person.
What's your idea of a perfect meal?
Something I don’t have to cook, like Thai food.
What part of your job do you love the most? Least?
I love working with photographers, traveling, seeing new things—like clothes, jewelry, something sparkly or neon. I love it! And [I love] my assistant, Jackie. What I like least is having no control over the weather.
What's your all-time favorite location to shoot?
That’s a toughie. I’d have to say Scotland. I love the rolling hills and the roughness of it. And the people. And I also love New York City. But every place has a special memory and a story to tell.
What was your favorite subject when you were in junior high school?
English. I love to read.
What's your go-to feel-good song on a shoot?
It changes all the time! We shoot outside, so it depends on the vibe of the shoot and where we are. Beyoncé is always a good stand-by. Or Michael Jackson.
What is your computer desktop/screensaver image?
A picture of my kids and I at the beach.
If given the chance, what one question would you ask God, assuming s/he exists?
“Why?” Or, “What happens to someone when they die?”
What will we never see in an Evyan Metzner-styled layout?
A guy wearing women’s underwear in a fur coat. Or a girl looking super strung out.
Name one thing I'll always find in your closet and one thing I'd never find there.
I have a million little fitted blazers and sparkly tops. You could play dress-up easily in my closet—it’s got everything from a gypsy skirt from India to five pairs of Wellies. It's pretty crazy. So I can't really say you’d “never” find anything in there. Though maybe not anything Snookie would wear...
Who is your all-time favorite musician?
The Rolling Stones are my favorite.
What's your favorite form of communication?
Telephone. If face-to-face isn’t an option.
What's your cell phone ringtone?
I think it’s the classic iPhone one. I’m not that tech-y.
What's the difference between a Fashion Director and a stylist?
A Fashion Director oversees the whole fashion department in terms of all of the stories that are shot and the complete look of the fashion pages in a magazine. You are responsible for going to the shows and seeing the trends and figuring out what works best for your magazine and then directing people. It's about being part of a group, working with photographers and art directors and seeing a fashion story from the beginning through the middle, to the end. As a stylist, you can just dress somebody like a celebrity. Or you can work freelance and do a story for a magazine, but not necessarily be a part of the story from beginning, to end. You style it and you’re done. As a stylist, you can also work with more than one magazine or client. As a Fashion Director, you work for one magazine. Both are great jobs. One just has more “big picture” responsibility, and one is more story-to-story responsibility. Some people are better at working within a team, and some people are better working on their own. I’m a team-er.
What would you like to be doing if you weren't SELF's Fashion Director?
I would love to have a flower shop or nursery. I love flowers and gardening.
What are your top three must-haves for a successful shoot?
A great girl, which means casting is everything. A good concept for the fashion. And a great photographer.
What keeps you awake at 3am?
Worrying about the weather, the world and my husband snoring.
When are you happiest?
I am happiest doing something with my family, whether it's skiing, walking on the beach, or just hanging out.