Raised in Copenhagen, daughter of Polish parents, Veneda Carter, Los Angeles-based stylist – and former teen model – had to deal with years of casting denials (because she wasn’t ‘skinny enough’) before an Instagram dm, who at first believed it was spam, catapulted her into exclusive creative circle of Kanye West, the community in which talents of the caliber of Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of the man of Louis Vuitton, Volkova fight, the stylist of Miu Miu and the design director of Yeezy / Gap Mowalola Ogunlesi.
In Calabasas, the Danish styling star also caught the eye of Kim Kardashian, also conquered by Veneda’s ability to translate musical movements into looks, light years before this became a global trend.
Veneda Carter, stylist of Kim Kardashian
© Courtesy of Veneda Carter
For Kardashian, Carter is “the coolest girl in the world”: the person she turns to for anything to do with style, in short one of the most authoritative celebrity stylist of the planet. You will surely have seen the Schiaparelli dress that Kardashian wore for Christmas 2020 (a couture masterpiece: a dress with a rigid leather bodice complete with a sculpted abs in Marvel’s superhero style). And that fantastic outfit played in shades of brown with Acne down jacket?
We tell you how the stylist has established itself, a living database of fashion movements of the 90s and 2000s, between Kelis, André 3000 and the seminal girl band Total (“for the technical jackets of Nautica”) and nostalgic references to the catwalks of the past (“Iceberg’s Fall / Winter 1999 men’s show remains one of my all time favorites”).
Styling for the most famous woman on Instagram
“It still seems surreal to me. The first time I saw her in one of my looks, I started to cry, ”says Carter, tucking her ash-blonde hair over the shoulders of her vintage Eddie Bauer hoodie (found on eBay). “She is always ready to try different things, to experiment. There’s a nice affinity ”, he adds, with his Danish accent in which at times a gritty cadence prevails that mixes the east and west coast. “I want to stay 100% true to who she is”.
Carter, who is still only 28, has worked as a stylist for Yeezy since 2016, something that until recently had not yet been revealed to his loyal followers on social media. “I didn’t say anything about what I was doing for a long time, I didn’t want to screw it up,” he says with typically Scandinavian frankness. “I was never good at school, and that was the first time I was appreciated for my ideas.”
His mentor? Kanye West
Working for Yeezy she refined her gaze on the carefully studied oversized proportions that would become an integral part of her style, and she focused totally on work. “I just wanted to work, I was unstoppable,” he adds. “With Kanye, I was there always thinking, ‘Man, you are to me really a mentor ‘”.
Today, the stylist works most of the time with Kardashian, who she started collaborating with in 2019. “If Kim needs anything, you know, I have to be there,” she says with a smile. (I can confirm that getting an appointment with Carter on Zoom wasn’t easy at all.) They are certainly linked by a special relationship, as between two sisters. And at this moment Carter, who is 4 months pregnant with her first child, looks to Kardashian as an example, who manages to reconcile motherhood with the demands of a hectic schedule.
“She is a career woman who also has four children, so she knows how it works, she really does,” says the stylist a Vogue, as she settles in better, sitting cross-legged on the floor in the quiet and bright living room of her home in Hollywood. “Kim is a very devoted mother, she is a true model”.
The darkest days
At this point, you will probably think that Carter’s existence has always been golden, but it isn’t, in fact she would be the first to tell you that things are never what they seem. Let’s take a step back, and let’s go back to when, eight years ago, Veneda, twenty, was a model in New York but was severely tested by the constant refusals at the casting. “I had fallen into a very bad depression, I was so anxious that I couldn’t leave the house for days,” she says of those terrible moments.
Carter then decided to pull the plug and move to Berlin. “All those years when I worked tirelessly with advertising to financially support my family, I hoped that sooner or later I would get a major engagement in fashion, which never happened. At the end of that time in New York, I was devastated. I simply capitulated ”.
Discovered at the age of 13 on a bus in Copenhagen, she had started working in a world, that of modeling, in which she never felt up to par. “Today there is more attention to models, they are encouraged to be themselves, to express themselves. At that time, however, a model was simply a product. They never chose me to do a prestigious job in fashion because I wasn’t ‘skinny enough’. I, on the other hand, did sports. I was not ready to go hungry ”.
© Courtesy of Veneda Carter
The discovery of a new way of expressing oneself
Around that time, Veneda had downloaded a new photo sharing app, which had become famous through word of mouth, and had been able to feel better by creating a virtual moodboard. And soon his page Instagram he had begun to get noticed. “I wasn’t posting only photos of myself, but also photos of a building, of cars. A mix of things, a bit random ”, he laughs. And her “baggy” style also attracts attention, those second-hand oversized garments she already wore as a young girl to imitate her older brother, a hip hop fanatic.
“When I was little we didn’t have a lot of money,” explains Carter. And she learned to choose and buy used clothes as a young girl, in the Red Cross shop where her mother did her second job, and her brother’s 90s rap idols were her style icons. “He is the true inspiration of my style, even if today he is much more refined, of course, but that’s where he came from, that’s where it all started.”
In 2016, Carter made a final attempt to work as a model in New York, this time accompanied by her older brother to give her moral support. Facing what would have been the last “no”, she was overcome by an all too familiar sense of despondency. That evening, at the hotel, he checked the private messages on Instagram as usual.
© Courtesy of Veneda Carter
Success at last
“There was a direct message that went something like this: ‘Hey hi, I’m from Kanye’s team, we’d love to meet you.'” His first thought? “What the fuck, it’s spam”. But the Yeezy team didn’t give up. “They wrote me again, and this time I replied, I agreed to go to LA the next morning. The next day, when a friend accompanied me to Calabasas for this meeting, at 10 in the morning, I remember that I arrived in front of this building, which was still under construction, and I thought: ‘Could it be a rip off?’
Carter’s eyes widen as he remembers that moment, it’s like he’s seeing that building for the first time, again. The first meeting with the Yeezy team was electrifying. Her 5-day trip to California turned into a two-week stay, at which point West asked her if she was willing to move there to work full-time. “I’ve never felt so appreciated in my entire life as when I walked into that room. I’ve always wanted people to recognize my creativity. And in the end it was one of the greatest artists in the world to see it ”.
What’s on Veneda Carter’s moodboard for 2021.
The new stylists to follow now
“Technical clothing has always fascinated me. As a child I spent a lot of time on the outskirts of Poland, where my parents grew up. A place to wear a suit was a question of identity. Today, even when I dress elegantly, I want my look to always have that same energy.
“The technical garments for women created by today’s brands are often predictable, they lack authenticity. The English brand of Paria Farzaneh is the opposite, creates elegant outerwear, in an authentic way. Its wide but feminine silhouettes are often inspired by its Iranian origins, for example combining long nylon skirts with practical zip-up sweatshirts, also rethinking the use of sports fabrics. His creations have a purpose, the proportions are fantastic, the colors beautiful. When I first saw her Instagram, I thought, ‘Man, here’s someone who has it all figured out’ ”!
“For those obsessed with sneakers like me, Ancuta Sarca’s shoes (born in Romania, based in London, Editor’s note) are truly special. The heels she creates are super original and incredibly sexy, but also fun. And I really like that you notice this immediately, as soon as you walk into a room ”.
Galilee (aka @Galilee_By_Sea)
“It’s my friend’s brand Marq laughed based in London. The sartorial work is extraordinary, it is utilitarian, but very refined. The Marq brand is destined for great things “.
The must-have item for 2021: hiking boots
“Right now I’m obsessed with Timberland boots, they’re my favorite shoes. I have tons of pairs that I searched and then found on eBay. You know the shoes that Manolo Blahnik created inspired by Timberlands? They are my largest online purchase. I have a lot of regular Timberlands, but I’m always on the lookout for styles in unusual early 2000s colors. The hiking boots they make today are also among my favorite shoes. I bought identical models for me and my baby ”.
© Courtesy of Veneda Carter
Must see now: the Hype Williams films
“I went to see many of the videos that Hype Williams made for OutKast, Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott, and also his 1998 film, Belly. The way Williams creates his films, as well as the styling and the stories, are very inspiring for me. “