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Edited by on February 13 2012 at 3:58 PM

At 11 A.M. today, Exit Art was bustling with t-shirt-flannel-n-jeans guys with ladders, gold paint, real leaved branches and tree trunks sitting apart, and two Swarovski crystal chandeliers hanging from a rolling rack. This team of set builders were being kindly and meticulously directed by Stefan Campbell, the man responsible for translating Michael Bastian‘s collection into a three dimensional space that garners an emotional reaction from the audience before the clothes hit the runway.  Earlier this week, he removed the front row so Chadwick Bell could have a 14 foot-wide glowing fuchsia runway instead of seven. Today, he’ll be scenting Michael Bastian’s show with Aedes. After speaking with Stefan today, we can confirm that he knows the tricks to making a runway show magical. See Stefan Campbell’s secret tips and advice at the end of the interview. And we’ll go see the show now. 

INTERVIEW: Creative Director Stefan Campbell Makes Magic at Michael Bastian

Michael Bastian’s set is looking natural, but a little bit lavish. 

I love that you used the word lavish!

How does your aesthetic change between a show with the classic American prep of Michael Bastian versus some of the more wild designers?

It was important to give Michael Bastian a refined look, as soon as people walk in the door. They’re used to him being a little big sporty, but this season it’s very refined. I approach all my shows with same intensity. People always ask, what has been your favorite show? They all become your babies when you’re in the middle of making them. It’s a constant evolution from the minute you have the idea till the lights go on.

What past experience led you to being the Creative Director on so many top shows like Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, and now Michael Bastian?

I come out of the fashion magazine world. I was a fashion editor for many many moons. I always felt my job was not just get people excited by the clothes, but to almost make the clothes feel legendary within the picture. I was coming up in an era where we were making clothes famous.

Story by Jessica Lapidos

I impart my daily love of light layering, thick-as-thieves platforms and undiscovered fashionable gems. I love to turn a phrase, and in truth I'm a designer at werq.