Caring, sharing, wearing and preparing; Benjamin Canares is the lilac haired, fashion forward assistant and right hand man to elegant womenswear stylist and i-D regular Cathy Kasterine.
First happening upon Cathy’s work whilst visiting the Tate on a school trip, this young fashionista found his way to a stunning portrait of Kate Moss shot by Corinne Day and styled by Cathy. Inspired, obsessed and intrigued, Ben was to spend the next few months immersed and surrounded by shoots dug out from i-D, Harpers Bazzar and various international editions of Vogue.
Today this Hackney-living, Ladbroke Grove grafting lad has worked on front covers of the world’s most glossy, high fashion publications, spending his time flying all over the world and dressing fashion’s most beautiful women. i-D Online caught up with the fellow to find out if it’s all champagne and Chanel behind the bright lights.
What is your first fashion memory? Playing with one of those fashion wheel design things. That wheel you put paper on and trace?! You know the one to make outfits? Oh and styling up She Ra and Barbie dolls in custom made clothes!
How did you first get into assisting? I interned at i-D which was a great introduction to being a fashion editor/stylist. I learnt not only practical skills such as shoot call-ins, sourcing specialist pieces, and securing the best accessories, but also the importance of building relationships with people in the industry, supporting new designers, developing relationships with PRs and finding the right photographers, hair and make-up teams to collaborate with and create amazing work. Also I now know how important it is to enjoy and be yourself and be happy whilst wearing gorge clothes!
Describe a typical day in the life of Benjamin? A typical day involves waking up in my pink Hackney bedroom and going over to Cathy’s office in Ladbroke Grove. Here I work with two amazing interns and we work on shoot prep for i-D, Harpers and Vogue Italia or advertising/consulting jobs. They hang up the clothes and I usually have a play around and dress up in them (whilst working hard of course). When not in the office we are shooting in really diverse locations from standard North London studios, quirky houses in Greater London suburbs, Parisian streets and most recently Lanzarote. Oh the glamour!
How do you feel when you look in the mirror? God I look tired and/or hungover/need a facial and/or a punch in the face!
Do you like to attract attention to yourself through your style? Yes and no. It’s nice to feel good about yourself through clothes. An amazing pick me up, and it’s great to have clothes to communicate with: smarter dressing on jobs, casual dressing or hungover dressing where you look like you got dressed in the dark.
If you could change one thing about the world what would it be? Get rid of all the anger and hatred and general bad things and bad nasty people. Oh and for London to be cheaper!
What are your top five best-kept fashion haunt secrets?
Mairead’s Vintage in West London: appointment only vintage that has the most divine things ever.
Rockit Warehouse in Seven Sisters: Massive selection of retro.
Paks Dalston: Hair weave city!
Topshop in Oxford Circus: Not a secret but Topshop girls clothes are the best and the secret is buy in bulk then when it’s gone, it’s gone!
Nelson’s Head Columbia Road: As after all this fashion you need to unwind to get over it!
Click here to see our full i-Assist series.