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LAist Interview: Houston Sams

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Houston Sams is a fashion stylist who prefers to work in print doing editorial and advertising, but once in a while relents for a cool project, like Weezer's videos for "Beverly Hills" and "Perfect Situation." She says "I love fashion for the art of it, for the art of expressing one’s ideas through clothing, and the fact that it’s form and function together."

Age and Occupation:
37, fashion stylist

Home Town:
San Antonio, TX

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How long have you lived in Los Angeles and where?
Since 1989, that’s 17 years. I live in Silverlake. I've also lived in Hollywood.

What was your first stylist job?
My first styling job was Bill Pullman for the NY Times; Nathaniel Welch was the photographer. Pullman only wanted to wear Levis and white t-shirts. As I was packing up my stuff and loading my car, somebody ran into the parking lot and asked if I was a stylist. That's how I got my second job, which was with Charlize Theron modeling for Dakota Smith Eyewear.

What is the best thing about being a stylist?
Always working on new projects. My last job was in San Francisco.

What was your worst job costuming/styling?
Washing the strippers’ costumes on From Dusk Till Dawn. They were made out of lamé, so we couldn’t dry clean them — they had to be handwashed.

The film shot here in LA, Barstow and Palmdale. Tarantino was like a pesky older brother, who would tackle and tease me. But he was also lots of fun. I loved working with George Clooney — he was more like the protective older brother.

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What photographers do you enjoy working with as a stylist?
Sean Murphy, Reggie Casagrande, Daniel Hennessey and Kiino.

You've been working with Weezer a lot lately. What's that like?
They’re all wonderful to work with. They’re fun, and they have great taste, and they’re really different from each other. There’s a part of me and my life that’s similar to each one of them. There was a time of my life when I was little bit more rock and roll, like Scott, a time when I was more mod like Brian; the indie rock part of me is like Pat, and I've always been a bit of a geeky schoolgirl and that’s Rivers. So I can relate to each one of them. For their look I mix high-end designer with casual sportswear and vintage.

How has LA fashion changed since you became a stylist?
It's exploded with designers, and publicists and PR agencies. A lot of the major, corporate designers have opened up showrooms here. People take LA stylists more seriously now because they realize that the celebrities have a lot of power. It's not just the celebrities — sometimes it's where the celebrity is going to be. People are realizing that to see a celebrity wearing a particular designer is more powerful than to see the clothes in editorial.

What's one of your favorite places to shop?
I love Scout LA on 3rd street.

What's the favorite thing in your closet right now?
My Paul & Joe stretch cord jeans. And my Pucci dresses.

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What's your favorite book/movie/TV show set in Los Angeles?
Entourage! I love that show. It's so sick!

What's your all-time favorite LA band?
Possum Dixon, Spoon (not from Texas) or Lutefisk.

What's your best celebrity experience?
We were at George Hamilton's house for a fitting. His house is all one room; his bedroom doors are electric and slide open. He's got a bar and mixed us all martinis. Working with Esther Williams was really cool. I saw Sophia Loren at Barney's - she'd got this energy, this aura around her. You do NOT invade her space. I saw David Lee Roth hanging out after an art opening at Zero-One Gallery, on the make, sitting on a bus bench. I met Tina Louise in the bathroom at a charity function.

So did you identify with Ginger or Maryann growing up?
Ginger!

If you had $1000 to spend on clothes right now, where would you go?
Barney's.

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If you had just $10 to spend?
BBC, a thrift store on Sunset in Echo Park. I find stuff there all the time to use In shoots all the time. I bought my 18-month old son a pair of vintage/thrift dolphin shorts there, size 6 months.

LA has the best:
Weather. We do have really good music, but there's also good music coming out of Canada.

You haven't really lived in LA until:
You've been up all night partying with Pauly Shore and a bunch of Beverly Hills brats.

What is your LA pet peeve?
Everyone has a headshot.

What is the "center" of LA to you?
Right now I'd have to say shopping on 3rd street between Fairfax and La Cienega.

Describe your best LA dining experience.
LA has great food. One time my dad and I went to the Four Oaks in a residential part of Bel Air. It's in a house; it was casual, unpretentious, beautiful and delicious. At Prizzi's in Hollywood and I had a steak with gorgonzola sauce that blew my mind.

Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?
Palm Springs.