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WHY HE MATTERS
Cassell styles music’s most visible crossover phenomenon, Taylor Swift, for the red carpet, concert tours, album covers and advertising campaigns. He and Swift have moved into sophisticated territory for the 23-year-old star with daring looks like her custom wine-colored Donna Karan gown with sheer side panels for the Golden Globes.
In 2008, the former A&R director — who worked for several labels but left the music business to start an imaging and wardrobe services company — was asked to do a basic “steam and press” job for a young, rising country singer. The job wouldn’t pay much, his agent told him, but it might be good experience.
“Joseph arrived with a full wardrobe of options and shoes, which was a good thing because the stylist at the shoot had dropped the ball,” says Swift, who immediately hit it off with the unassuming overachiever. Cassell has been dressing her exclusively ever since.
“He’s always two steps ahead of me with whatever I need, whether it’s a lint roller, sunglasses, shoes," the singer says. "And he has a backup option and extra panels of material just to be safe!”
HIS TOP LOOK
Swift in a sleek black Elie Saab gown with sheer panels at the 2013 Brit Awards.
“She rarely wears black for the red carpet, but this one dress popped out to me because it was sophisticated and a really good balance of covered-up but sexy,” says Cassell. “I also loved the gold belt because it showed off her teeny tiny waist.”
The strap on Swift’s silk chiffon J. Mendel gown broke en route to the Grammys. “I had to sew it back on in the car,” says Cassell, who also uses every trick in the book to keep gowns from getting wrinkled. Says Swift, “There are times that he will have just steamed a dress and put me in it, and he’ll crank the seat all the way back in the car and make me lie down all the way to the event so it doesn’t wrinkle before I get to the red carpet.”
THEY WILL NEVER EVER, EVER
The triple-platinum singer, whose Red tour kicks off March 13, isn’t a fan of denim jackets, wedge shoes, jumpsuits or anything with spikes or studs. Says Swift, “I don’t want people to ever mistake my shoes for weapons.”