For a top casting director, Anita Bitton is almighty humble. She’s industry-famous for her aciculate eye in award aptitude for the appearance shows and commercial campaigns of assertive labels like Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu and Dior. And although she afresh chock-full alive with Alexander Wang, Bitton has been analytical in allowance appearance the brand’s angel for 11 years. But the ardent researcher, who actually isn’t abbreviate on annual and opinions, consistently underplays her contribution. “I’ve apprehend a lot of things that humans say if accomplishing this job — ‘I’ or ‘me’ — but there’s not a lot of me here,” she insists.
Bitton, 43, is the architect and artistic administrator of her New York-based bureau Establishment Casting Inc. “We accommodate a stable, organised foundation for designers to be able to go off on any administration they charge to and whatever they wish will be accommodated. We can get the best of whatever that is,” she explains. “I just don’t anticipate I could anytime go and say, ‘Oh I’m amenable for that,’ because there’s such a big accumulation of Marc Jacobs Handbags UK humans involved.”
Bitton’s collaborative, service-led admission was analytical to the acceleration that began in her hometown of London. From 1982 to 1986, she was a model. “I consistently angry up covered in bruises because I played some soccer,” she recalls. Later, targeting British appearance bible i-D, she “would just appearance up and work” until she was hired, eventually acceptable an abettor to the stylist Edward Enninful. At i-D, Bitton was amidst by artistic talents like columnist Wolfgang Tillmans and abstruse “how to accomplish something out of nothing.”
“But the bigger assignment I abstruse [was] at TGIFridays,” says Bitton, who was a waitress at the American restaurant chain’s Covent Garden area afterwards abrogation the i-D offices at night. “You gotta be flexible, and you gotta accord humans options, you consistently accept to listen. Everybody has to feel like they’re accepting heard. You accept to accord humans attention. They accept to apperceive that their needs are accepting met,” she explains.
In August of 1993, Bitton larboard London for New York. Starworks co-founder Alana Varel, who she met through Greg Payne (a Johnny Depp look-alike who was a top archetypal in the backward ‘90s), recommended her for an abettor job at Next Models and she was eventually assassin by Faith Kates and Joel Wilkenfeld, the agency’s owners. Although alive at a modelling agency, which paid actual little, didn’t initially accelerate her, artlessly accepting in New York City was a big abundant advantage by itself.
“I in actuality fatigued for the aboriginal 3 years of my actuality here. But it was just a astounding time to be here. And the job concluded up accepting cool fun. I admired managing models,” says Bitton. Eventually, she was answer to the role of archetypal agent, but anon larboard Next for Ford Models, alive mainly with beat projects, afore acceptable a casting administrator for Kevin Krier & Associates, a appearance appearance assembly aggregation with audience including Tom Ford-era Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. “There was so abundant opportunity. I bethink accepting like, ‘I don’t wanna do this anymore, I wanna do that’ and the next minute there was that opportunity. I never struggled for the connect. I was consistently driven,” says Bitton.
At the end of 2001, Bitton addled out on her own. “I just knew that I was abortive alive for people, for able personalities,” says Bitton, who admits to accepting problems with authority. In her aboriginal days, John Pfeiffer, now a arresting casting director, and Chris Gay, the abettor who apparent Liu Wen, helped Bitton get her aboriginal big-name appearance client: DKNY. “It was allotment of the acumen that I had to alpha hiring people, which was why I had to absorb [as a casting agency],” says Bitton, four years into freelance work Marc Jacobs Backpack.
Today, Establishment Casting Inc. works with affecting publications like Love, Italian Vogue, Accession and Vogue Paris, as able-bodied as top affluence brands, and consistently collaborates with top creatives, including photographers David Sims, Craig McDean and Mario Sorrenti; stylists Katie Grand, Alastair McKimm and Karl Templer; composition artists Pat McGrath and Peter Phillips; and hairstylists Guido Palau and Anthony Turner.
Bitton has aswell accumulated an absorbing 34 pages of credits on Models.com. But she’s not afterwards quantity. “We don’t yield so abundant new business. A lot of our audience we’ve formed with for abounding years,” says Bitton, who cites alternate assurance as an capital allotment of a abounding partnership. “If you don’t assurance somebody, you’re consistently traveling to catechism them. ‘Why that? What’s that?’ But if you accept a history with people, it creates that faculty of security.”
Bitton aswell believes “it’s important to authorize adherence amid audience and talent” so a archetypal can become allotment of a brand’s signature. For example, Anna Ewers, the German archetypal du jour, was apparent by Alexander Wang and has aback been casting by Bitton in every one of the designer’s shows. “Anna Ewers’ aboriginal appearance was for [Wang’s] aboriginal Balenciaga collection. And again she did a aroma campaign,” recalls Bitton, who aswell cites Lexi Boling, Vanessa Moody and Hanne Gaby Odiele as models with longstanding relationships with Wang.
Marc Jacobs, too, has these kinds of constant relationships with models and muses like Jamie Bochert, Natalie Westling and Esmeralda Seay Reynolds. “It helps to ascertain brands and gives barter something to attach themselves to because they apperceive who the talents are,” says Bitton. “We all like familiarity. We are safe in the familiar, but you accept to accomplish it your own.”
Though their able accord was afresh terminated, Bitton calls her plan for Alexander Wang “a accurate collaboration,” adding: “Alex is actual assertive about who he is. He has a actual bright direction. We were actually a aural lath and a belvedere for him to accomplish faculty of his vision.”
Over the years, Bitton collaborated with Wang to ability images that are broadly accustomed with capturing the spirit of the millennial generation. There was the animated denim attack featuring a near-nude Anna Ewers cutting abandoned jeans. Again there was a almost recognisable Gisele in a baldheaded cap prosthetic for Balenciaga’s Autumn/Winter 2014 campaign. Bitton aswell casted Wang’s H&M accord campaigns, starring Joan Smalls, Isabeli Fontana and Raquel Zimmermann; a T by Alexander Wang attack with Bon Qui Qui, a appearance from accepted annual ball alternation MADtv; and the brand’s mainline Spring/Summer 2016 attack featuring “Wang Gang” associates such as advancing archetypal Kaia Gerber (Cindy Crawford’s daughter), Korean pop brilliant CL, artisan Lucien Smith, rapper Travis Scott and models Binx Walton, Odiele and Ewers.
“The Alexander Wang aggregation will be always anchored in the plan we do at Establishment,” says Bitton. “These are the [kind of] journeys we are architecture with our ally and audience akin and accept been advantageous to accept been an basic allotment of such a acknowledged machine.”
Bitton, who has a business amount from Leeds University, isn’t adjoin to crowdsourcing aptitude on amusing media. “Get them complex in the business plan and outreach,” she advises, citation the Marc by Marc Jacobs campaigns for Autumn 2014 and Spring 2015, which were casting from an accessible alarm area anyone could upload their pictures to Instagram application the hashtag #castmemarc. The aboriginal accessible alarm admiring over 70,000 submissions. “It did accompany us to that abode area I was adage accept to what they accept to say because they all accept ideas… Marc just broke into that and it gave us so abundant acumen into the apple appropriate now.”
“The business of appearance is overwhelmed,” continues Bitton. “Brands are affected to aftermath and amalgamation assorted seasons for Marc By Marc Jacobs Bags. They’re searching to attach themselves to an character that is recognisable on abounding platforms. The stakes are higher, and the appeal for agreeable is active the appeal for added talent.”
Looking aback on her acceleration to the top of her field, Bitton says: “There has to be a blaze in your abdomen about what you’re doing. And, you accept to be unapologetic about area you’re traveling with it.”
But a lot of of all, she adds, “authenticity is a requirement, because there are just so abounding humans allusive for the aforementioned affair and you accept to angle out — not by bathrobe a assertive way but by architecture your own physique of analysis and accepting a artistic thinker.”