Rushka BergmanFashion Editor of L'Uomo Vogue and Vogue Italia
“Only great minds can afford simple style.”
[Ed. Note: Rushka Bergman is a Contributing Fashion Editor of L'Uomo Vogue and was the personal stylist to Michael Jackson during his This is It tour. To date, she has styled seventy-nine Vogue covers, and her celebrated work has appeared in countless magazines and print publications.]
“My father said that art is something in your blood–you have it or you don’t. You can educate yourself as much as you want, but being an artist is something you are born with. Even so, he said that I had to study to be an economist and work in the bank, so I went to university and got a degree in economics. Even now my mother asks me, ‘What does it mean to be a stylist? I thought you were going to work in the bank!’ [laughs] I always say that all of us in this galaxy want things in our life to go one way, but sometimes bigger energies and bigger powers from the universe that we cannot control push us to the right place. It didn’t matter how much my father wanted me to be an economist, because my love of art is actually bigger than any kind of role I could have had working in the bank.
After studying economics in Belgrade I lived in Ghana, and I was a member of the International Women’s Club. My ex-husband was a diplomat there, and while we lived there I created thirty-five fashion shows of international designers for the president of Ghana. We did a show with all Ghanaian designers once where we collaborated with the BBC in London. Edward Enninful has a Ghanaian background, and he came to that show. He was so sweet, and I didn’t even know who he was because at that time I wasn’t into the fashion world. I came to New York in 1996, and I was standing on the street with Patti Wilson, and she said, ‘If you want to be a stylist, you should meet Edward Enninful. He is from i-D.’ When I saw Edward again we hugged and kissed each other. It was very beautiful. That’s how I started to know people in New York. I never was an assistant; I went straight to Katy Barker, she was my first agent, and my first job was at the Guggenheim. Actually before that I worked with Bjork, which was marvelous, and then the Guggenheim, and after that, it’s history. Today, I work for Franca Sozanni for L'Uomo Vogue almost full time, and I proudly can say that I have seventy-nine covers of Vogue magazines. They are all here on my bookshelves!
Being in fashion is about education; it is about life and experience, and what you want to say. I’m an academic–I have so many things to say that are more important than just dresses. I studied fine art for seven years after I studied economics, and I’m more of an art director or creative director than I am a fashion editor. All my inspiration is from art galleries. You can educate yourself as much as you want, but as a stylist the most important thing is not to be only about the clothes. Fashion is not something that only exists in our dressing; fashion is in the sky, in the street, in the gallery, in the library, in the museum, in the cinema. It is all around us. It is the way we live and the way we think. We are like encyclopedias. If you have confidence in your own place, then you can make whatever you want.
Recently, I’ve started working as a film director. I love to study every piece of making a film. I started making my own films working for L’Uomo Vogue. I was on set with Michael Fassbender, and I got a phone call from L'uomo Vogue asking for a backstage video, but of course we didn’t have a video camera. The photographer, Caitlin Croenenberg, had a tiny little camera, she didn’t even think it would work, but I went and used it. I had very good film editor to edit for me and L'Uomo Vogue loved it. Film is a very big production, but in forty-five minutes I was able to make a short film, Mystery train with Michael Fassbender.
Personally, the most beautiful thing I worked on was working with Michael Jackson. He was the most beautiful person on the inside and the outside. He was misunderstood by the whole planet. He was beyond genius as an artist. I would talk to him about art and about love, and of course I am so lucky that from all the stylists around the world, he chose me to be his stylist. It was the most beautiful thing that could have happened to me.
I worked on This Is It with Michael, and he also had his own fashion designers who worked with him for years. I do have the most spectacular Haute Couture clothes for the This Is It tour in London that they were made specially for Michael Jackson I’m working on a project now that will be one of the most beautiful things for the planet because it will show the real Michael and share with the whole world his love and his art. The first day when he met me, he wrote me a note that said, ‘Rushka you are really an artist in the highest, you are the greatest, I love you. Michael Jackson. Let’s make history together.’ This was in 2007.
I remember my photo shoot with Michael Jackson for L’Uomo Vogue was all Dior Homme. This was when Hedi was working there. Michael loved his style. I have to say, I am very happy that Hedi Slimane is at Saint Laurent now. Michael loved Christophe Decarnin as well–he was one of his favorite designers, and Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy too. For Michael’s tour he said it had to be a mix of the most expensive clothes with less expensive clothes, but at the same time very original. Christian Augadier from Ed Hardy was a great friend of Michael’s and so we always included his clothes. It was very important to Michael that he wore things that very rich people could relate to and very poor people, too, because his music was listened to all over the world by all types of people. I want to only tell you one thing: only great minds can afford simple style.” –Rushka Bergman to Shop Ghost
Rushka Bergman photographed at her studio in New York by Will Davidson.
Rushka’s Things She Cannot Live Without
“Reading for me is my number one thing. I love Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Now I’m reading The Idiot; this is my fifth time reading it. I’m also reading Freud at the moment. When I read books, I sometimes like to mix between different books at the same time.”
“I have to tell you one of my secrets; I love sunglasses. I have lost so many pairs of sunglasses–all the time I go into a taxi and lose my glasses. This means I’m always buying more! I love Tom Ford glasses and Saint Laurent glasses.”
Hermes Kelly Caleche Parfum
“My great-grandmother wore Hermes Kelly Caleche perfume, I remember it from my childhood. This is a smell that fits my skin so well. Any place I go, I put this perfume on me. Without Hermes I cannot live.”
“I am a Mediterranean girl, so I cannot live without my red lipstick. This is another thing I learned from my great-grandmother. In our culture you wear no makeup, but only red lipstick. I discovered NARS has one of the best pencil lipsticks that never fades off.”
“Of course a stylist will always love accessories. When you have beautiful shoes and beautiful bags, you can wear any kind of clothing. I love Balenciaga so much; I think I have more vintage Balenciaga than any single person on the planet. Another of my favorite designers is Christophe Decarnin. Chrisophe, if you are reading this, I need a dress to be made very soon because I don’t have anything to wear. Even if you are not at Balmain anymore, please make the clothes as Christophe Decarnin! [Laughs]. We desperately need it. I adore Ricardo Tisci, Hedi Slimane, Kris van Assche, John Galliano, all these designers I cannot live without.”