Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fashion with the X Factor; What Does It Take to Make Sure Every X Factor Contestant Looks Their Best When They Hit the Stage at the Live Shows? Katie Wright Gets the Lowdown from Style Director Gemma Sheppard

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fashion with the X Factor; What Does It Take to Make Sure Every X Factor Contestant Looks Their Best When They Hit the Stage at the Live Shows? Katie Wright Gets the Lowdown from Style Director Gemma Sheppard

Article excerpt

IT'S first thing on a Monday morning and Gemma Sheppard is, by her own admission, exhausted. Having just overseen the first pair of live shows, The X Factor's style director hasn't got any lazy weekends in her diary for the foreseeable future - and her weekdays aren't looking much better, either.

"Historically I've always given the team the Monday off but we haven't had a Monday off yet," Sheppard tells me. "And tomorrow is the album shoot. I've got to do five looks per contestant, so that's 55 looks for tomorrow morning and we start at 6am."

gemma " Not that any of this has dampened the spirits of the mum-of-three, whose vertiginous hair is as perky as her personality.

"I'm most excited about Sean, I can't lie," she enthuses, when asked who is floating her fashion boat this year. "'I keep saying, 'Less is more, Sean Miley Moore,' because he constantly wants more!" Is toning down contestants' OTT suggestions a big part of the role, then? It's not, Sheppard insists: "I massively believe my role on the show is to bring out their creativity. If they really want to wear something, I'm not going to stop them."

ax paris strap skater PS35, very.

Styling is a collaborative effort which starts with creative meetings on Tuesdays, after which the stylist and team have 48 hours to 'pull' four looks per artist, then she'll send the photos to the judges to make sure they're happy.

"We see them on Thursday at soundcheck, Friday we do a dress run, Saturday we do a second dress run with fittings, then it's straight into live show, then Sunday when we have three more looks [per contestant]."

How does one go about corralling that enormous wardrobe? "I've got 60 runner rails, which is our in-house stock. I have a really huge archive, but there is an element of madly running around the high street too," she admits. But can us mere mortals ever hope to look popstarfabulous? Absolutely, says Sheppard, you just need to know where - and what - to shop. We've got the stylist's top tips on how to up your high street fashion factor...

Sheppard TAKE AN LBD TO THE NEXT LEVEL "The beauty of the little black dress is that it's really simple and minimal, so I always say a really great up-to-date statement necklace can totally transform a look. …

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