The Creative Direction of Sydney Ballesteros

Sydney’s blend of vintage glamour and modern style turns heads most everywhere she goes, her passion for the fashion of bygone eras has launched her into a full time career as a creative director, stylist and notable blogger.
Sydney Ballesteros Desert Chic Series © Puspa  Lohmeyer

Sydney Ballesteros Desert Chic Series © Puspa Lohmeyer

As a little girl, Sydney became enthralled with black and white photos of her stylish grandmothers and was surrounded by fashion, music, art and antiques in her home as a young child. At 14, she became an avid collector of vintage clothing and spent her free time scouring thrift and vintage shops as well as estate sales. Her fellow students noticed and voted her ‘Best Dressed’ in her Senior Class. Sydney’s keen eye and in depth knowledge of fashion history caught the attention of Desert Vintage (in the early 2000’s) and they hired her as a shop girl to assist customers and dress mannequins. This is where she got her first big gig, she was hired to travel to LA and style a young woman in 30’s garb to audition for a Scorsese film, that’s when it dawned on her that this could actually be more then just a daydream and her passion could also be a career.
Self Styled Sydney in Red Fedora © Puspa Lohmeyer

Self Styled Sydney in Red Fedora © Puspa Lohmeyer

“Vintage clothes have a certain energy about them, when I put on a vintage coat I think about history that was going on at that time, the designer, who has worn it and where it has been. Vintage provides the opportunity to reflect individualism and personal style, it’s an amazing feeling to wear something that’s one of a kind. It feels good to keep garments and their history alive and fresh in the modern world.” Sydney revealed. Sydney considers history whenever she is looking at a vintage piece, because what was going on socially or politically at the time has a lot to do with how the clothes were made, “In the 40’s seamstresses had to ration fabric because of the war, the clothes were modest and simple, by the 50’s and 60’s, the war was over and  fashion houses re-opened with new styles and an abundance in luxurious fabrics.” Sydney shared. She has studied each era thoroughly and can easily pinpoint what time period a particular piece is from.
Casual Holiday Outfit Styled by Sydney Ballesteros

Casual Holiday Outfit Styled by Sydney Ballesteros

In 2006, Sydney conceived her blog, Golden Girl of the West, which was originally used to capture outfits she wore on a daily basis, share tid-bits of fashion and history and inspiration,  as well as curated collections like the one above. As her career began to grow, her blog has also became a place to feature all of her editorial work. Zocalo Magazine  was where Sydney got her start with writing and Creative Directing for editorials. Creative Directors ideate the vision of the shoot, location scout, model scout and choose what clothing will be worn. Ideally, they assemble a team consisting of a Make-up Artist, Hair Stylist, Photographer and a Model to bring their vision to life. With their powers combined they fabricate amazing imagery such as the image below from the spread “Gold Dust Woman, a bohemian fashion story,” featured this month in Zocalo magazine.
Gold Dust Woman, a bohemian fashion story. © Puspa Lohmeyer. MUA: Tangie Duffy, Hair: Raul Mendoza Model: Becca Hammen, Creative Direction: Sydney Ballesteros

Gold Dust Woman, a bohemian fashion story. © Puspa Lohmeyer. MUA: Tangie Duffy, Hair: Raul Mendoza Model: Becca Hammen, Creative Direction: Sydney Ballesteros

With many collectable and one of a kind pieces in her wardrobe, Sydney handles, washes and stores her clothes with the utmost care. Her advise on how to treat super vintage or delicate pieces is this, “Don’t put them on hangers, instead drape them into storage boxes wrapped in acid free paper, this will keep the shoulders safe and the creases, moths and acids from damaging your garments. Always dry clean wool items upon purchase and be sure to specify that it is a one of a kind vintage item so they don’t just throw it into a pile.”
Black Cat Vintage Editorial © Stacia Lugo, MUA: Tangie Duffey, Hair: Raul Mendoza, Model: Hannan Brezezinski, Creative Director: Sydney Ballesteros

Black Cat Vintage Editorial © Stacia Lugo, MUA: Tangie Duffey, Hair: Raul Mendoza, Model: Hannan Brezezinski, Creative Director: Sydney Ballesteros

Sydney found herself being sought after got the position of Creative Director at Black Cat Vintage. There she produced a fabulous monthly editorial look book using clothing from the shop. The crew would put in thirteen hour days to produce these spreads and each image is meticulously designed to assure the clothes their best as well as the overall aesthetic, “As the photographer is adjusting lighting and the models pose, I am making sure the necklace is facing the right direction and the clothes are laying in a way that compliments the garment. We work together to make sure everything is just right.” Sydney explained. “Everyone on the set has mutual respect for each other’s talents and that helps create an environment for success. I’ve  been on sets before where that is not the case and you can see it in the results of the photos.” A bit of good advise from Sydney.
Black Cat Vintage Editorial © Stacia Lugo MUA: Tangie Duffey, Hair: Raul Mendoza, Model: Lisa-Marie Lipscomb, Creative Direction: Sydney Ballesteros

Black Cat Vintage Editorial © Stacia Lugo MUA: Tangie Duffey, Hair: Raul Mendoza, Model: Lisa-Marie Lipscomb, Creative Direction: Sydney Ballesteros

When asked what advise she had for aspiring Creative Directors, Sydney said, “Keep a notebook handy all the time! I am one of those old fashioned pen + paper people that has to write everything down. Sometimes ideas come at the most inopportune time, be ready to save that idea for your inventory. Also, Keep doing! Never give up, even when it seems like your dreams are taking forever. You are always learning, growing and making moves, even when it doesn’t feel like it. A full circle comes when you are not sitting around waiting for it. Work hard and stay humble, good things take time.”
Black Cat Vintage Editorial © Stacia Lugo, MUA: Tangie Duffie, Hair: Raul Mendoza, Model: Lisa-Marie Lipscomb, Creative Director: Sydney Ballesteros

Black Cat Vintage Editorial © Stacia Lugo, MUA: Tangie Duffie, Hair: Raul Mendoza, Model: Lisa-Marie Lipscomb, Creative Director: Sydney Ballesteros

As her portfolio became robust, Sydney started getting published in some independent magazines and fashion websites such as www.FashionEditorials.com and New York Times fashion + style section.  In the Fall of 2012, she began to work with New York publication,  Matchbook Magazine.  She continues to work with them on projects and will be featured once again in Spring with another dazzling editorial.
Matchbook Magazine Editorial © Puspa Lohmeyer, MUA: Tangie Duffey, Hair: Raul Mendoza, Model: Jessaca Haag, Creative Director: Sydney Ballesteros

Matchbook Magazine Editorial © Puspa Lohmeyer, MUA: Tangie Duffey, Hair: Raul Mendoza, Model: Jessaca Haag, Creative Director: Sydney Ballesteros

What happened next was a dream come true for Sydney, a spread that she had worked on was submitted to Vogue Italia and it made the cut! Goes to show you that even if you live in a small town, if you have a dream and some persistence, you can make it all the way to the top!
Vogue Italia Editorial © Stacia Lugo, MUA: Tangie Duffey, Hair: Raul Mendoza, Model: Paige Pacheco, Creative Direction: Sydney Ballesteros

Vogue Italia Editorial © Stacia Lugo, MUA: Tangie Duffey, Hair: Raul Mendoza, Model: Paige Pacheco, Creative Direction: Sydney Ballesteros

  Sydney is excited for what 2014 will bring and is working on creating a shop on her website, so that people can peruse and purchase her vintage items. She will most certainly keep producing editorials and hopefully more of them will have the VOGUE logo on the bottom! So be on the lookout for Mrs. Sydney Ballesteros in 2014!    

2 Comments

  • Reply January 27, 2014

    Sarobi

    Ur blog looks very interesting I would like 2 plug-in and check U out. I am a fashionhead on the cusp of a new venture. Ur blog look interesting and rewarding.

  • Interesting read! Ahhhh . . . to be young and thin again to be able to wear those clothes . . . (:

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