Friday, February 6, 2009

Michelle Tomaszewski, JB's Stylist

One of the things that the Jonas Brothers are known for, besides being the pied pipers of tween girls, is their sophisticated sense of style. We’re always grateful to see three-piece suits in lieu of t-shirts and leather pants, so we tracked down the woman responsible for Joe, Nick and Kevin’s sleek looks, stylist Michelle Tomaszewski. She filled us in on the guys’ individual styles, the designers looking for some Jonas love, and what we can expect to see at the Grammys.
Natalie Broulette: How long have you worked with the Jonas Brothers?
Michelle Tomaszewski: I’ve been working with the Jonas Brothers for the last two and half years. I started working with them at the end of 2006.
NB: Are you surprised at the amount of attention that’s been placed on their style?
MT: Yes, it’s very surprising to me because when you work so hard at something that you really love and then you get recognition, it’s surprising and it’s also an honor that people like what I do. It feels like my job is fulfilled. It’s more of an honor than anything.
NB: Can you talk a little bit about the idea of the modern dandy since that’s such a huge part of their look?
MT: When I first started working with the boys and we were discussing what we wanted to do with their look, they told me that they wanted to be fashion icons. That was a goal they had, besides being great singers and performers. So, for me, that was like a dream come true. I think it’s special because a lot of people their age, like young kids their age, are a little bit more afraid to dress up. I think it’s why people gravitate towards them now because they do look very modern and chic but very tangible, like you could actually wear that too. I think that there are some people, some performers that look very, very nice, but sometimes it’s not too tangible for other people to kind of go, ‘Oh, I could look like that.’ So I feel that’s what helps make them stand out. Because they do look high fashion, but in a very kind of real way, like the clothes don’t wear them, they wear the clothes.
NB: Can you talk a little bit about each guy’s individual style?
MT: Even though they’re brothers, they really like to stand out as being individuals. I think it’s important for them to stand out, but they are brothers and they are a band so it still has to look like there’s a common thread. Kevin — he’s the older brother — he likes to definitely wear the more fashionable clothes. He likes to kind of be a little bit more grown up in the way he dresses. Joe, he’s the one who likes to take a little bit more risk in what he wears. He’ll wear a bright color and he wears it really well. Purple is not really a masculine color, but Joe makes it masculine. It’s strange how you put a color on Joe that you wouldn’t think would look good on a guy and he wears it well. And then, there’s Nick. He’s the old soul, but he’s the youngest. He definitely has a more gentlemanly feel about him. Even though he looks fashionable, he’s more serene about the way he looks. Each stands out with their personality, and I think that’s what makes them look good.
NB: Are there designers that you use over and over again?
MT: Well, each brother has his favorite designer. We also like to mix it up as much as we can. We’ll pull a handful of designers, but we also like to make it [about] their personality. Some of the designers that we use are Ralph Lauren — Nick is a favorite of Ralph Lauren. Dior Homme is a designer that Kevin really, really loves. Joe really loves D&G and Jon Varvatos, and lately we’ve been getting more calls to work with other designers, which is very, very honoring. Burberry is one that’s been working with us. Burberry dressed Nick for the Golden Globes and brought us the trend of black-on-black tuxedos. That was something Nick and I decided would be a good look and it went over really well.
NB: Do you also style them for concerts?
MT: Yeah, basically I work everyday with the Jonas Brothers on everything that they do, which is a huge honor, to be a part of it all. I work on their TV show, all the magazines and publications that are out there. I also work on their tour clothes. That’s a little bit different from their everyday clothes and the red carpet events, because on a tour the fabric has to be durable. So everything, basically, is custom-made. We come up with ideas if there’s a color scheme to match the stage, or for one concert, Nick wanted his sleeves to rip off. It’s just a matter of whatever inspirations they have and how they want to feel on stage — you just build it upon that. We get things custom-made all the time for when they’re on stage. There has to be like five of everything they wear because of the turnaround time of going to the next show.
NB: So were you in D.C. with them for the inauguration?
MT: Actually, we did the fitting beforehand and I sent the clothes with them. I got to stay home, but I heard they had a great time.
NB: Since the guys have so many young female fans, can you talk about some ways to translate their looks for a female wearer?
MT: Being female myself and working with male clients, I really like to mix the feminine and masculine side of things, kind of like Kate Hepburn, how she was the first woman to wear pants in Hollywood. I feel that men’s clothing on women makes it very, very chic. It goes back to Yves Saint Laurent when she came out with a woman’s tuxedo. Girls can actually wear a vest with a tie and a nice jean. Something that the boys love to wear is a three-piece suit and that’s perfect for a woman. It makes you very sophisticated in a very tangible way.
NB: Can you give us any hints about what they’ll be wearing to the Grammys?
MT: We’re in the process of working with a few designers. We haven’t even done our fitting yet. It’s a big day for them, probably the biggest of their career, so we really wanna make sure that everything is spot on. They’re going to be performing as well, so we have two looks for the Grammys. Right now it’s just a matter of pulling things in from the designers and waiting for things to come in. The men’s shows just finished so they’re kind of seeing what’s out there that they can give us. But, definitely on the red carpet, it’s going to be tuxedo looks.