Ezra Petronio

June 5th, 2014

Ezra Petronio

The son of an art-director-turned-photographer and the man behind the most recognizable portraits of the last decade, Ezra Petronio now wanders further outside of the boundary lines. In what seems like a perfectly organic evolution, the Paris-based Creative Director & Photographer finds himself being invited to the pages of various titles and exploring new visual language to accompany his signature style that has been a long standing staple at SELF SERVICE. As humble as he is methodical, one can’t help but be intrigued by the driving force that propels him through his entire creative process.

A Models.com interview by Christopher Michael
Portrait portfolio and animations courtesy of Ezra Petronio / Art Partner licensing for Models.com

Christopher Michael: How early did you begin playing with photography?

Ezra Petronio: It started quite early. In my early days of high school, I used to take a lot of pictures. I actually used to do a lot of summer internships in a photo lab called Picto, which is in Paris, and is one of the oldest in the world. I worked with a master printer named Pierre Gasmann, who was Man Ray’s printer. I never had any intention of developing that beyond mere passion, but I did learn all of the steps of traditional photography, which was a lot of fun. I also learned, during those days, about the relationship between the photographer and the printer, and how the photographer captures the moment, and how the printer reveals it. The kind of relationship you have today with digital, and your digital printer. My father was a photographer, too. I don’t want to say that it disappeared, but it became quite secondary as I started my graphic design and art direction career, though I always kept it in mind. Many of the traditional art directors that I worked with were also people who all used cameras along with the tools, be it illustration, typography, etc. Those were all things that we were not supposed to master, but play with and understand. When we started this Polaroid project, about 15 years ago, it was as a way to document all of the people that came through the magazine — the richness of personality and creative talent that made up all of the people around us at the time. There were no digital cameras then that were good enough, and there was a photographer called Mondino who said, “Listen, why don’t you just shoot it?” I was quite inspired by Andy Warhol — by all of his photography and social documentation at the time, and the way he used a Big Shot camera to prepare his portraits for silk screens and all that stuff. So we inquired, and we found a Big Shot which has the particularity of having a fixed frame, which is why all of the portraits that were done in the past 12 years were done exactly the same way.

I find beauty in every person, and everyone has the perfect angle that is best for them.

CM: And you just stayed with it…

EP: Year after year, I found great pleasure in it, but also, you start to understand the facial features of people. People of all kinds of ages and appearances, be it a famous actor or a very insecure musician, I’ve always managed to get these people at ease and to capture something about them that they, in turn, feel comfortable. I kind of learned to master a certain type of portrait technique. I find beauty in every person, and everyone has the perfect angle that is best for them. I’ve done at least 2,000 portraits, and after awhile, you get to know the person in a short time and find that angle. That’s something I’ve learned with a lot of practice over the past several years, and with the joy and pleasure of finding beauty in everyone. A certain type of model that I find strong, the girls I photograph, regardless of being younger or older, they have a certain kind of strength to them. Organically, I’ve been offered a job here and there, and, over the last year, I basically just opened up to new magazines and it’s blossoming right now.


CM: So, it was quite natural the decision to work outside of the parameters of Self Service, in terms of your photography, and begin contributing to other publications. Do you feel there is any sort of cross over from your work as an art director into your photography?

EP: Absolutely. Being an art director and being behind photographers all these years, you have to, of course, inform them of how you want the clothes to be, and understand the product and props and overall layout, and all of that has really given me a certain kind of strength in my work as a photographer, which has been very interesting.

Also, what was nice was when other people started asking me to shoot. I have a lot of humility and respect. Everyone has a craft, so I really had to take it one step at a time to not use my notoriety to impose myself in photography. It had to come with credibility. So, when Katie Grand asked me to work for LOVE or Melanie Ward asked me to shoot something with her, it was really wonderful, because these are people that I really respect and have different personalities, and found a certain relevance in what I was doing, which was, of course, quite exciting. Be it portraits Karl [Templer] asked me to shoot for Interview or another kind of shoot, it all meant a lot to me, and I’ve been asked to do it more and more.

In the same sense that a young butcher will follow the steps of his father, in a way, I did learn that way a lot, too.

CM: Let’s step back for a second. Your father was also an art director, was he not?

EP: Yes, he was an art director for the New York Times as well as different agencies. I was taken on shoots quite often very early on — the Kenzo shoots in the 80s, with Paolo Roversi, Patrick Demarchelier, Hans Feurer, Gilles Bensimon — and I got to see how they would work. In the same sense that a young butcher will follow the steps of his father, in a way, I did learn that way a lot, too.

CM: What was your father’s relationship with photography? You’ve mentioned that he worked with the medium, as well.

EP: It blossomed once he stopped art direction, later on in his career. He was more serious about photography for a longer period of time, on a consistent basis. I was really nurtured in photography.

As an art director, I’m behind the photographer when we do a campaign. I prepare the context for the talent to perform something, and I’m there to help the photographer navigate what to shoot. I need that support myself, as well, as a photographer, when I’m in that role.

CM: He pursued photography more in depth once he quit art direction. You are obviously not quitting art direction, right?

EP: No, I’m keeping my agency. Absolutely. That’s the balance I have, really developing that and bringing my creative, strategic expertise to clients. I do make a very big difference between the two. I won’t be choosing myself or commissioning myself to do a job for one of my own clients. You have to keep that integrity, because, if not, that becomes an unhealthy situation. As an art director, I’m behind the photographer when we do a campaign. I prepare the context for the talent to perform something, and I’m there to help the photographer navigate what to shoot. I need that support myself, as well, as a photographer, when I’m in that role.


CM: In the past several years, there has been constant talk about the stylist playing the role of stylist and art director on a shoot, which differs from years past, where that role was certainly played more by the photographer. Which, to me, makes your situation quite interesting, as a photographer with a very relevant background as an art director.

EP: Absolutely. That was not the case when my dad would talk about how he used to work with Richard Avedon on certain jobs. Sometimes, you would just have a conversation with the photographer on the phone, and say what they would want. I mean, maybe you would even do a little sketch, because there wasn’t a fax machine or anything. A conversation would be sufficient sometimes, but there was also a lot of respect. I remember photographers would send over contact sheets to make these edits, and that doesn’t necessarily happen today. There was a real sense of everyone’s complimentary talents to the process of image making. This is also something that you develop over time. It’s not something you get right away. I’ve developed that as an art director, with the photographers I’ve worked with over time — like David Sims, Juergen Teller, Inez & Vinoodh, Mario Sorrenti, and Mert & Marcus. Years and years of shoots, where you develop a relationship of trust. It’s a kind of relationship, so, naturally, there is always the question of trust, and I’ve always had that respect for photographers as an art director, to not suffocate the photographer. You create a very strong concept and do all of the preparatory strategic work with the client, leading up to the shoot, and at that point you have to give the photographer the creative space to get obsessed and be protected and have their own process. Today, even myself as a photographer, I do feel certain pressure on certain shoots with certain magazines to develop a certain amount of pictures, and quickly, with fashion that you don’t always understand. It can be quite challenging. The more I take pictures, the more it has helped me understand the photographers I work with even better, and the pressure they are under, and how they are, in a way, more by themselves. They have to find that picture, and, at certain moments, there is a lot of solitude involved. You have to be very strong when there are twenty people around you, watching your screens as each shot comes up. In the past, you had trust in the photographer, because you only had Polaroids and contact sheets. Nobody would dare tell you to do it this way or that way. Today, you have three or four screens on set, and everyone sees the slightest move. There is no more intimacy in that way.

One of the ways I work is that I like to involve the model a lot in creating the story as opposed to just being there and being told what to do. For me, it’s more successful that way, when you’re able to get him or her involved, and find more of themselves.

CM: Do you work that way, with the screens exposed for all to watch while you work? Or are they more off to the side, hidden behind some private area?

EP: I control it a bit. They are not always there. I do bring them in and out. One of the ways I work is that I like to involve the model a lot in creating the story as opposed to just being there and being told what to do. For me, it’s more successful that way, when you’re able to get him or her involved, and find more of themselves. After we are finished, I will go through the edit with the team, but throughout, it’s really in and out.

CM: It’s quite fascinating to observe that process, and how protected some prefer to work compared to others. Like you said, it can be quite disruptive to have one to five opinions every three frames.

EP: Of course. You are sharing sketches of something, and it can be quite frustrating exploring something when you already have people talking about how they would crop the image this way or the other. You find yourself saying, “Wait a minute! I’ve not even started yet.”

It’s quite hard being a model, especially for these young girls. There can be a lack of confidence. I’m not talking about supermodels and the ones that you see in this portfolio, who have such expertise that they can really deliver.

CM: I think that it’s really nice and interesting that you include the model in the process of building out the story and making the edit.

EP: Oh, for sure. In all of the campaigns I’ve done as an art director, I always have a moodboard created for the model. It’s quite hard being a model, especially for these young girls. There can be a lack of confidence. I’m not talking about supermodels and the ones that you see in this portfolio, who have such expertise that they can really deliver. Even these girls want that. I remember, one time, on a Chloé campaign, Raquel Zimmermann was going through everything in great detail, and all of the words to really grasp the character she was meant to be playing. That’s my only frustration as an art director, at times, is when the photographer has too much distance from the model, because then you’re not able to create that magic that is going to make the picture special. That is my preference. Some people really like that distance or that coldness. If you look at this edit of images that we’ve included here, for me, they are all very strong characters, and you get a lot of strength out of each one of them in the pictures. That comes back to my early portrait experience. You can make someone feel very confident and beautiful inside, and that will capture on film. This is my personal taste with models — the strength and character, championing the emancipation. There is nothing more beautiful than the process of spending time speaking to them and creating that comfort space. They feel beautiful and special, and as though they are participating in something.

CM: What is your relationship with the people who spend less time in front of the camera, like the designers included here, for example?

EP: I like engaging characters. I like bringing out that inner deviant. Sensuality. The innate sense of strong character, personality and self confidence. All of that is something that you can get out of most people, even if they are not models. I’m not sure if I answered your question…

I do a lot of talking, even if it’s someone I’ve shot several times. I’m always engaging in a conversation with them, because it’s important to really create that confidence and sense of safety to open up.

CM: It’s okay. It’s just obviously going to be a different experience photographing someone whose job it is to be in front of the camera, versus those whose job is something entirely different. Portraits are amongst the most intimate forms of photography, so you must be engaging in some sort of connection and personal experience with those people, as well.

EP: Definitely. I think it’s also because I had developed that earlier on, with many of these girls. I was not even seen as a photographer when I started taking pictures. I was seen as the art director who was also taking pictures. So, there was a comfort level and a level of trust that was there. It wasn’t a situation where I was some intimidating, big photographer. I approach models the same as anyone I photograph, which is just through speaking. I do a lot of talking, even if it’s someone I’ve shot several times. I’m always engaging in a conversation with them, because it’s important to really create that confidence and sense of safety to open up. With the bigger girls, you find them trying to find what it is I want to pull out of them, because it’s interesting for them, as well. Whether it’s pure fashion or theatre or playing a character in a movie, the model always has to dominate the situation and overcome the character. It’s that inner soul, which is what makes it more difficult working with younger girls, because they don’t always have that spark yet. Without those years of experience, they are not always going to understand what you’re asking them to do. Every day of shooting is a different conversation. I shot two days with the same model recently, and the first day was amazing, but the second day was a lot more work, just because she wasn’t in the same space as she was the day prior. Sometimes it takes that extra step to pull out that something more. It’s a very interesting process.

CM: It’s funny, because you’re shooting today, but a lot of what you’re saying is so reminiscent of the conversations you hear with teams about shoots in the 90s. So, it’s interesting to hear about that experience taking place today. There tends to be more of the distance you mentioned earlier, which really demotes the girl to a mannequin, rather than being an actual model. It’s nice to hear that this collaboration is such a big part of your photographic process.

EP: Absolutely. It’s also hard for young photographers, as well. There is a lot of pressure, and it’s hard for them to do their job properly as a new photographer and to be able to get that out of a girl who may be a little green or insecure, and to figure out how to get what you need from her. Everyone is working at a certain pace, and all of that contributes to a compromise in work sometimes, which you see in the work of both new and established photographers. I grew up really observing this process before I ever did it professionally myself, and I’ve been very fortunate to have that experience, because it really helps navigate those issues along the way.

I need the woman to not be an object, but to appear in control and stunning. That, for me, is what makes a great fashion picture.

CM: You were mentioning, in a recent conversation during the Paris collections, that some of the stories you were working on were very different than what we had seen in your work thus far. Is that sort of experimentation in your work something you plan on continuing with the different magazines you’ve started shooting for now?

EP: Well, I think I have to do both. Not everyone knows my work. Perhaps they know some of the pictures, but not my entire body of work. So, I think it’s important to affirm and master my Self Service style, because that is, of course, a part of why people are asking me to shoot. At the same time, I naturally want to try out other techniques and explore things along the way. I did that story for LOVE with Anja and Comme des Garçons. That was slightly different, but there were certain things that were the same in my previous work. I think a good Ezra picture is a stunning, confident woman who looks in control of what she’s doing, despite the role or character she’s playing. I need the woman to not be an object, but to appear in control and stunning. That, for me, is what makes a great fashion picture.

CM: The portraits and the very recognizable Ezra, Self Service sort of image, is that something you will keep exclusive to Self Service, or is that something you are willing to shoot for other magazines, as well?

EP: That’s what I am, as well, and I have to embrace that, for sure, and that’s what some people want me to do. So, I will, of course, continue to do that. It’s just about opening up to more possibilities and ways of doing that, but that’s something that’s a part of my signature. If I were to change all of a sudden, that would be slightly confusing.

Related posts:

Posted in Cover story, Interviews, noresize | 4 Comments »

Elizabeth Sulcer

April 14th, 2014


Elizabeth Sulcer

With her encyclopedic knowledge of fashion and well-trained eye, rising star stylist Elizabeth Sulcer (Lalaland Artists) has had a hand in the creation of inspiring images within the pages of high-profile glossies like Vogue Italia, Numero, Vogue Japan and Vogue China. In her previous role as fashion director of BlackBook, Sulcer reshaped the way in which celebrities were presented editorially, capturing Hollywood’s finest in an avant-garde manner that showcased their versatility as performers as well as their style.

Known for her bold take on luxury and preference for a sensual vision of femininity that isn’t afraid to be decadent, Sulcer has cemented her position as one to watch. Her rise from assistant at Alexander McQueen to in-demand stylist is a quintessential fashion industry tale of hard work, undeniable talent and a little bit of luck. With her roster of top tier clients, upbeat energy and infectious enthusiasm for the creative process, Sulcer is an ideal representative of fashion’s next generation of influencers.

A Models.com interview by Janelle Okwodu
Photographer: David Roemer for Models.com
Talent & Stylist: Elizabeth Sulcer
Makeup: Frankie Boyd
Hair: Keith Carpenter
All Clothing: Balmain


Vogue Italia – Nov 2013 / Photographer: Ellen von Unwerth / Models: Stella Maxwell, Kate King, Luma Grothe, and Carola Remer

Were you always interested in fashion?

ES: I think I was always into fashion. I laugh about it now, but I used to get in trouble for dressing up my little brother and sister. I would put them in these wild outfits and borrow stuff from my grandma and mom – all their designer stuff. You know, big gold Versace belts. I would do the whole thing, even take pictures of them and polaroids late at night. I feel like it started really young. I didn’t know back then, of course, what a stylist was. That is something that just emerged, I think, in the last twenty years. But there was something inside of me, I was an artist. I wanted to create from a young age and I loved to play with the idea of a character. Back then it was just playful and childlike.

When did it start to become more of a career for you?

ES: It was super organic, I originally studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown and I was trying to be a designer. I started very young, I was a junior in college and I went over to London to intern with Alexander McQueen. That’s sort of, I guess, the beginning of my life in fashion. Working with Lee, it was a small team at that time, was a very exciting intense environment. He was a genius, he really pushed you to bring out that creative fearlessness. Even though I was an intern, I was assisting Alex Mullerr, who was one of their head designers under Sarah, and I became very close with them. I was basically their assistant – I was with them all the time.

It was intense at McQueen, we actually made many of the show pieces. That experience was amazing but it was also learning experience – I knew that I didn’t want to pattern cut and I didn’t want to physically sew the pieces. When we would work on the shows and work with the other stylists, or when we would do fittings, that’s when I really felt I was most inspired. I loved that, and I loved working with the girls. I loved the idea of taking pieces and putting them together and creating. I thought that was remarkable. You know, Lee always said, “you should be a stylist,” and I didn’t really listen I just thought, ‘oh no – I’m going to be a designer.’

…there was something inside of me, I was an artist. I wanted to create from a young age and I loved to play with the idea of a character.

Must have been intense balancing school with such a phenomenal opportunity.

ES: I was going back and forth to finish college. We had big critiques and we would design shows for our final semesters. It was intense I was flying back doing shows and working at the same time trying to graduate. But it was exciting.. such an exciting opportunity that I’m so grateful for. I was going to go back and work with them but I ended up getting a call from a friend, who was working for Art Partner at the time, and Beat Bollinger was looking for an assistant. He was just coming over from Paris and they were working on the first issue of The Great Performers for New York Times Magazine with Inez & Vinoodh. I ended up working on that project with him and it was really such an exciting project because that was the first one that they did with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson and Charlize Theron. I mean there were so many great stars. It was a really memorable, incredible portfolio.

Was that the one where Bill had the flowers in his beard?

ES: Yes the flowers in his beard! Inez is a genius, honestly, both of them, but she’s just so spontaneous and she had a lot of incredible ideas. She works very closely with the talent. I felt like some of those ideas just happened organically. Tim Robbins had brought a little portrait of himself as a child just to show her and she was like, wow we need to put that in the shot. So, that was sort of how it began. I assisted Beat and we did a bunch of great jobs. We did some stuff for V magazine, a Viktor and Rolf campaign, some stuff for Terry, Japanese Vogue. He was working a lot with Inez at the time and still living in Paris, so I wasn’t working with him full time. He had another assistant as well.

Then I got offered a position, really honestly, after assisting for probably only 4 or 5 months. I was really lucky to be an assistant at Blackbook Magazine. I did that for about 5 or 6 months and then I was lucky enough to become the fashion director there very quickly.

I was really lucky to be an assistant at Blackbook Magazine. I did that for about 5 or 6 months and then I was lucky enough to become the fashion director there very quickly.


Vogue Italia Feb 2012 / Photographer: Greg Kadel / Model: Constance Jablonski

With Blackbook you really reshaped the way celebrities were presented – what was that time period like?

ES: It was an interesting time, I was super young and it was a lot of responsibility. It was very exciting, we had an amazing editor in chief. During my time at Blackbook I had two editors in chiefs – both of whom were absolutely wonderful and so intelligent. I don’t want to say we were “the beginning of the celebrity” because we, by all means, did not invent that, it’s been in existence forever. But we definitely harnessed it in a new, kind of, avant garde way. I felt like Blackbook was all about art and collaboration and creativity. Using the celebrities covered in that kind of capacity was new. I’ve never been interested in celebrities in a “Hollywood” way. I like the idea of doing something with them. You know, they’re real people. Obviously they have an image but they’re incredibly interesting and talented people – and that’s why they’re famous, we hope! So to get to know them a little bit and to collaborate with them was really remarkable and that’s what we tried to do a lot at Blackbook. We did that with artists, with celebrities and I worked with some of the greats.

You really have worked with the greats; were there any moments that really stood out for you?

ES: I loved Cate Blanchett. She embodies, to me, one of the ultimate great stars. She is an icon so to speak. She came in and at the time we shot her she was working on that Bob Dylan film (I’m Not There) and she just was so.. I don’t know exactly the word to describe it, but she was so engaged in playing the part of Bob… really method acting. She really wanted to look like Bob in the pictures and have the curly hair and she didn’t care about looking beautiful or normal, like the younger celebrities request. She was really about portraying her character and I was so moved by that. I loved it. I thought it was amazing. She had a power and a vision and she was excited about the shoot. We worked with so many great stars, she is one of many.

We did Amy Adams and that was an incredible shoot as well. Now that I look back we shot such incredible stars. We shot Naomi Watts, we did tons of really great stuff with her. Hilary Swank, the list kind of goes on. That was a really formative part of my career, it was a super small team, not everyone knew the magazine. I came from a very high fashion world and I wanted to bring that elegance and decadence and beauty and luxury from the market and into the magazine. As the fashion director, that was my job and I worked very hard to try to do that. At the same time while doing that, working on all of the ideas and working on the covers. I was also doing all of the beauty, the mens, the women’s, the accessories… it was really, sort of, 6 jobs in one. But I definitely learned a lot and learned how to lead a team and inspire people on my team to create amazing work and to work on a magazine together.

When I finally left, I always knew I wanted to do really high fashion and I felt that in my soul. I knew I wanted to work with Vogue and Numero and luckily that’s pretty much what happened.

I always knew I wanted to do really high fashion and I felt that in my soul. I knew I wanted to work with Vogue and Numero and luckily that’s pretty much what happened.


Vogue Japan April 2014 / Photographer: Ellen von Unwerth / Model: Chiharu Okunugi

Your hard work paid off! I love how you approached those goals in such a positive way.

ES: What you just said is how I embrace my entire life. I think life is a series of chance meetings, you never know who you’re going to meet. You never know their story. Everybody to me is so interesting and exciting. There’s so many opportunities that maybe seem like nothing at the time, but I think it’s about keeping your eyes open and being positive and excited and believing in your work. You have to believe in your talent or no one else will. You have to believe in yourself. Being honest and being a good person, being grounded, these are qualities that you can attribute to people who become successful. Hard work.

I always felt like I had to see my future in order to be my future. If you envision who you are and what you want and live that honestly every day you will become that, in a sense.

So true. People often have these preconceived notions of what it is to be a stylist – how do you deal with the misconceptions?

ES: At the end of the day everyone has an opinion and I think it’s constantly changing. We’re always, at least from my perspective, I feel like I’m always evolving. I’m constantly growing. I’’m constantly changing. Everyone has ideas about what a stylist is and I think it’s definitely rapidly changing in the industry right now. I think the stylist is a very powerful and important role. A lot of stylists today have become real creative directors on set and visionaries. There are so many people that I admire and look up to.

I see the role of a stylist is a lot like an art director. They create the look, they work very closely with the hair and makeup teams and the photographers and editors at the magazine cultivating trends or different iconic moments in time and we translate them into a story depending on the season and what the magazine needs or the brands that you’re working with. These are all really big tasks. I was just speaking on a general term but even stylists working with these huge mega brands today, they are really giving their ideas. They’re really helping with the full design process. They’re so involved and ingrained from the beginning and it’s only now, I think, in the last few years that stylists are getting the recognition and the power that they really deserve for all of the hard work that they do.

I think the stylist is a very powerful and important role. A lot of stylists today have become real creative directors on set and visionaries.


Numéro Oct 2012 / Photographer: Greg Kadel / Model: Karlie Kloss

It’s definitely changed a lot – what would you say is the biggest shift you’ve seen?

ES: I think my career has changed quite a lot, but also based on my interests and what I want at the time. I have a very strong style and aesthetic and I’ve always had that. That woman, she’s really glamorous and decadent and powerful, but I love the idea of creating a character. That has always been my rock in styling. Within that, there are a lot of things that have changed. You’re working with different teams, but it’s all a big family. I mean, I think I always get more responsibility as the years go on but I can’t complain about that. I love what I do so much and I’m happy to take the reins and be a leader when asked to. To have that opportunity is exciting and empowering. It’s something I’m very grateful to have.

I love the freedom that I have and the creative, artistic, challenges that I have. I never feel burdened. Credits don’t burden me, hard work does not burden me. I love hard work. I love to travel, I love the girls so much that I work with… and the boys! I mean, they’ve all become really good friends. The photographers, makeup artists, etc I feel like we’re a really big family. I feel so lucky. I’m very blessed. Everybody is amazing and it’s an honor to work in this business. I feel very blessed to have everyone’s support and loyalty and love. It’s a good thing.

Any sources of inspiration you look to when you’re crafting this character?

ES: The way that I work is sort of like a method actor, especially with women. I feel that I have to research and become that character in order to create it. It’s almost like how a director works on a film, you have to really find out who that character is and create a narrative. That’s going to bring so much more. The looks for me are important and they help tell the story, but the story starts with the character first.

I feel like I’ve always been really inspired by Helmut Newton. I love his work. I love Chris von Wangenheim as well. All of which I have prints hanging in my house because it’s my biggest inspiration. I think “she” is very powerful, she’s very strong, you know.. she’s very beautiful and not necessarily a traditional beauty. She’s powerful and interesting and strong and diverse. Depending on the concept that we’re working with, I feel that regardless of the clothes she’s wearing that will come across. So that’s sort of, “my woman.” She’s definitely decadent, she’s elegant, she’s unexpected.

I’ve just been reading recently Diana Vreeland’s book and memos and it’s just incredible. She had such a strong vision and clarity for the magazine – obviously like Anna Wintour does as well as many other editors – but it’s just really inspiring to read those notes and to see how she directed and created decades in an era of fashion. I get inspired by other powerful women and I love seeing what their take on it is, as well.

I love hard work. I love to travel, I love the girls so much that I work with… and the boys! I mean, they’ve all become really good friends. The photographers, makeup artists, etc I feel like we’re a really big family. I feel so lucky. I’m very blessed.


Vs. Magazine SS2013 / Photographer: Ellen von Unwerth / Models: Irina Shayk and Anne Vyalitsyna

Sounds like you’re going for a very take charge, strong woman.

ES: I like the idea of strength and courage in my work. There can be more of a quietness to it too. Like I said, it depends on the brand and it depends on the job. A lot of people also love that kind of cool, and it’s not about the man it’s still about the woman, kind of downtown rock & roll, a little bit Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent, French Vogue girl and I feel that I’ve been more and more asked to work in that direction or to work with brands helping them kind of find that woman. She’s young and very cool and effortless. So I have that in my work as well. Something to become a part of this “woman.” I mean, she changes based on the brand. Also where I am, kind of in my headspace or based on what stories I’ve done recently and how I evolve as an artist and change.

Why I loved doing this models.com project is because I was so inspired by the idea of something that was iconic and that lived on – because I’m inspired by all of “the greats.” Penn and Avedon and those portraits are, they’re so simple and they’re so timeless. That’s something that I not only admire but aspire to have in my work.

It’s great when you see something and you think even 40 years ago and you say “this is beautiful” and nobody can argue with it. Can you get a feel for that when you first see the images?

ES: When you look at a shoot that you’ve done you know all of the secrets behind how you created it so you can’t always look at it the same. I often feel that I need time away from my work to be able to come back later and actually appreciate it. Sometimes you’re too close to the work.

Sometimes when you create something it takes a lot out of you and I give a lot so I find that you might need a minute to go back and rebuild or to focus on a different aspect. Maybe you’re working on something really really creative and wild and then there’s another part – so it’s nice to be able to go back or take a little time just to let the project breathe and appreciate later what it was. Understand what you were trying to say with that.

What about some of the new constraints placed on stylists – some brands only want their clothes styled together, does that ever put a damper on things?

ES: To be perfectly honest, I never really feel constrained. I’ve been very very lucky. Every brand or magazine that I’ve worked with has supported me. If my biggest constraint is that I have to use a certain brand but I can pick whatever the look is, I mean that’s minor. I understand at the end of the day this is a business. I never feel constrained, I think I just try to see all of the positives and opportunities that I have within the project I’m working on.

I think sometimes guidelines are good. If you’re working with a brand and they want a certain look for a cover or this or that – there’s still some freedom within that. Within creating the look and working with the concept and the hair and makeup. If there really isn’t freedom, I probably won’t take that project on! You have to pick your battles, but I never feel restrained. I feel that I’m always seeing the positives and the opportunities within. It’s how you see things in life.

I like the idea of strength and courage in my work.


Vogue Italia Nov 2011 / Photographer: Greg Kadel / Model: Constance Jablonski

Fashion is always changing – what are some things that you’ve noticed in terms of trends or movements that you’re really into?

ES: I think the biggest thing that I’ve seen recently is Hedi Slimane reinventing YSL and in a way, I would use revolutionize very lightly, but he’s come into a brand that is iconic, with an extremely powerful heritage. One of the most amazing brands. What Saint Laurent did in the 80’s and the 70’s… unbelievable. For me, I am so inspired by the 70’s and the 80’s I just think it’s two incredible time periods and eras. I think he’s come in and really taken a brand that’s quite difficult to just step in and design for. He’s really given it a modern, effortless, cool, kind of young take. I think it’s genius, I love it. It’s really inspiring, I feel that it’s very much “my girl.” The sequin pieces are great. I think a lot of people are really inspired by what’s happening. In a way it’s kind of like Dior Homme for women but it’s genius and it’s really great direction for the brand.

Another designer that I absolutely love and admire is Tom Ford. The powerful woman, I love that kind of makeup – the chiseled look and using color and just the fabulous nails and the whole kind of psyche of that woman and the glamour. The sequins and the fur and the decadence; it’s very 70’s and over-the-top. I think what he’s done with the beauty brand is absolutely genius. He broke off from Gucci and has his own brand he designed and then he also took a break and did a film. He’s a genius!

Absolutely, Tom Ford has really succeeded in creating a powerful aesthetic in every aspect of his brand – who else do you gravitate towards?

ES: There are so many talented designers, obviously I love Alber, I love Lanvin, I think it’s incredible. It’s always been, to me, the epitome of luxury and the jewelry at Lanvin I think is just stunning. It’s always been stunning and it’s always been statement. You know, I really love what Olivier at Balmain is doing. Talk about a young talent! He’s incredibly talented and his vision. When he did that, kind of, baroque collection… all of the pearls and it looked like old tapestries. It had a royal quality to it and that’s something that I’m really attracted to. It felt like it really had a heritage and that he really researched. It has obviously an 80’s vibe but I think the silhouettes are powerful. It’s an incredible brand as well, the heritage and the shape. I think the ad campaign with Rihanna is very cool and modern. I definitely think those are things that people are really paying attention to.

I think there’s a lot of change right now, a lot of opportunities – especially for young people. Fashion has always been a young business, but as much as it’s a young business it’s an old business too. There are a lot of really powerful, talented people that have been around for a very long time and have the most incredible bodies of work and careers that are just mindblowing.

Do you think that the younger generation has a lot to live up to?

ES: Definitely! We have a lot to live up to!

For someone relatively new it has to be daunting to work alongside legends – daunting, yet inspiring.

ES: Like I said, it’s the way you look at it. I’ve never, my entire life, compared myself to anyone. I think you just have to be you and you have to be inspired by others but also you have to find your inspiration from within. When you know that you can be your best personal you, that’s all that really matters. You’re not trying to have someone else’s career you’re kind of finding the best career that you can have and what’s right for you. It will evolve naturally through working hard and honing your talents. You use these people as mentors and learn from them, from their mistakes and also from their triumphs.

…you just have to be you and you have to be inspired by others but also you have to find your inspiration from within.


Vogue Italia Nov 2010 / Photographer: Greg Kadel / Model: Eniko Mihalik

There is so much to learn and so many of these people are still evolving.

ES: Karl Lagerfeld is a great example of someone who is a complete genius and he is constantly inspired by young people and their ideas. I think in a way that keeps him very young and fresh. That’s how he got into photography in the first place. He was inspired and I think from a man who has so many talents he figured “why not” and he does a great job!

You wonder where Karl finds the time…

ES: I think Karl probably works harder than anyone alive and he definitely states that in multiple interviews. It’s obviously hard to measure how hard somebody works versus somebody else, but there’s a passion, there’s a desire, there’s talent. I think that kind of trifecta is the recipe for success.

What are some things that you’re working on that are coming up?

ES: There are a few things I’m really excited about. I just did a very big trip to Tokyo, which is really exciting. We shot about a 16 page story for Italian Vogue. . [We shot it] with the actress, Kiko Mizuhara, sort of a day-in-the-life portrait of a woman but every image was really a different character, a different look, a different hair and makeup, so it didn’t run like a traditional fashion story, which I really loved. Obviously it was super challenging on location to change everything that much and to find this woman within so many different “personalities.” So, that was an exciting project.

Also, while I was there we shot Armani – which was really really exciting. Then we did a 16 page fashion story for Japanese Vogue, which for me was a really big milestone. I really admire Anna Della Russo – she is absolutely incredible. She is an inspiration, she is one of the hardest working women in this industry. Very inspiring, very creative, and she loves to have fun! Her, kind of, decadent and creative style – very over-the-top. I can relate to that, I mean, that’s very much my woman as well on many occasions, depending on the story of course. This was my first big story working with her and that was a real honor and I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to do that.

…there’s a passion, there’s a desire, there’s talent. I think that kind of trifecta is the recipe for success.


Vogue Italia Feb 2014 / Photographer: Ellen von Unwerth / Models: Frida Gustavsson, Wylie Hays

What would you say are some other milestones for you, or products that you’re especially proud of?

ES: Hard to answer… Only recently, when we were starting to go through my book, because of building my new website – I looked at some of my old work. I have so many little tidbits of things that are important to me… and so many people! I mean, Greg Kadel was a huge supporter of me and his team in the beginning of my career, and still is to this day. I absolutely adore him, he is one of the loveliest and most talented people and he’s really a friend as well. We created some really beautiful and amazing things together. One of which we did this, I think to this day it was one of my favorite images. We did a story with Karmen Pedaru, a 60’s inspired, kind of Jean Shrimpton a la David Bailey, in studio type of shoot. She was wearing this full sequined bodysuit embellished and she had this beautiful Philip Treacy flower, one-of-a-kind headpiece on. It really looked like a sculpture. She was sitting on the floor, it was so graphic and so beautiful. I remember saying to Greg, “This is one of my favorite images I’ve ever done with you.” And I meant it, of course. That was a real beauty.

There are so many people I’ve worked with that I love so much and have done such great stuff it’s hard to single anyone out because everybody’s so talented and different. I had a lot of fun working with Ellen von Unwerth on Guerlain with Natalia. She’s incredible such a beauty and so inspiring, Ellen is so fun she’s amazing.

As for milestones in my career, I mean, I did my first Italian Vogue with Greg, so that was definitely a milestone for me because it was sort of the holy grail of fashion. I really did that, pretty much a month or two after I left Blackbook… maybe even a few more months. That was definitely a milestone for me and I’m lucky enough to still be working with them and doing even bigger stories and creating strong work for them that’s memorable. So that was probably “the” milestone, I always really wanted to work with Vogue. Then my first big story for Numero was obviously exciting and great, too.

Is there anything that you haven’t done yet, that you really are looking forward to?

ES: There are tons of things that I haven’t done yet! There are tons of people that I haven’t worked with yet that I would love to work with. I think I’m only as good as my next project. There are so many great high fashion brands that I haven’t worked with. Incredible photographers, I’m working with new people every day that are super inspiring. It’s kind of like; you work with new people, but you never forget the old people and you always work with those people as well.

Regarding new projects, I’m open to everything. I’m definitely going in a very luxury, high fashion, direction with my career and I would like to continue that with consulting with all of the brands and photographers that I work with. I’m also interested in doing collaborations with artists and some stuff for galleries and things that keep me on my toes, keep it interesting. Even working with a great director – film is so big now – I’d love to do more amazing films and videos. That’s exciting, too.

I’m definitely going in a very luxury, high fashion, direction with my career and I would like to continue that with consulting with all of the brands and photographers that I work with.


Numéro Oct 2011 // Photographer: Greg Kadel / Model Karmen Pedaru

I can absolutely see your woman in a film, that would be definitely exciting.

ES: I would definitely love to do that. I mean, it has to be the right project. I think it could even be something strange where I work on a project for a film and maybe I act or play a part in the film as well. Doing something totally different, I’m open to as well. I think the beauty behind being a stylist, at least from my perspective, is that you don’t have to necessarily fall into the confines of what people think you are and how you have to be and how you have to live your life. I think you have to create that for yourself and you have to find out what that is and means to you and that’s, I guess, how I love my life. There’s so much I haven’t done and there’s so much I want to do.

I love your outlook on life, it is very inspiring. You have these things you want to do and you do it, and you’re open to new experiences!

ES: I hope that that’s, maybe, one of my better qualities. I think that being open in life is really the secret to success. It’s hard to be open all of the time and I have to remind myself constantly, for various reasons… maybe you’re stressed or you’re afraid to be hurt. I think the basis of all of these things is based on love and fear, and they’re two things that are really strong in our society and the more that you have love and friendship and you bring all of those things in your life – good things and good people – and you’re surrounded by that energy, the more you’ll be able to be fearless and open. Just ready for new opportunities and I think it is okay in life to not always get what you want but it’s also okay to want things. I think maybe society sometimes doesn’t allow people – they don’t want to, of course you want to be humble, but they don’t allow people to embrace their successes or what they want. I think that isn’t always good… I don’t think you have to go over-the-top either, you want to be humble… but I think people should really be proud of what they’ve accomplished was well. Especially because they’ve earned it.

It’s important to have your dreams and have your goals.

ES: Fashion, the way that I see it, is about dreams. It’s about making people dream, it’s about creating a world and a fantasy that on many levels may or may not be real. But it’s a dream and I’m inspiring readers or clients or all different people – wherever it is – that’s my job: to inspire them, to excite them, show them something they haven’t seen… if I can. That’s my goal of course. Maybe they’ll see something a little different or they’ll see something they like. Make them feel good about themselves or excited or, you know, all of the above. I think everyday, what can I do for someone else – not just for myself. I think with that mentality, when you give then you shall receive in life. That’s sort of the power and the beauty of our universe.

Fashion, the way that I see it, is about dreams. It’s about making people dream…


Halston F/W 2011 / Photographer: David Roemer / Models: Caroline Winberg and Sessilee Lopez

You might look at a picture and you might not be able to afford the whole look but it gives you ideas.

ES: And it’s not even necessarily about that. At the end of the day, yes there are women out there who go and buy the full look. But regardless, she can see that on the website, she can see it in advertising, she can see it in the stores. I mean, fashion is everywhere and on many levels it creates who we are. It’s our identity. We show that and express ourselves through that. Same with a great culture that is obviously easy to see that is in Japan they really express themselves through their style. But it’s here as well, and Europe, all over the world. It’s a fundamental in society. I think knowing that is such a powerful tool. Fashion has so many liaisons into the art world and into Hollywood. The possibilities are endless. That’s what I was saying about different projects that inspire me and I feel like I could work in film and do different projects in Hollywood – which are maybe not necessarily conventional but it’s interesting and I think that’s what keeps life exciting – taking risks and taking a chance.

Things have changed so much, there is no clear set path.

ES: There’s absolutely no correct way to do things and there’s no path – I mean of course there are fundamentals of respect and hierarchy. At the end of the day, I think that those are more about morals and values than anything.

Once you recognize that the freedom actually exists and you act upon it, then you really begin to see it more. I mean, you create your own destiny and you also create a lot of the confines of your own mind and limitations based on a lot of different factors. How you want to live and how you want to see things and your whole state of being. It’s super important.

It is an outlet and I see so many young kids that are so into fashion and they get so excited and inspired. If I could take one little moment and write them on Instagram or something small, it means so much to them. Of course, you know, you can’t do that all of the time but just a little gesture every once in a while is nice. People everywhere like to be validated and acknowledged. We’re all on the same level, we’re all here together, so I think if I can do anything to help others I’m happy to. Inspire them, excite them. Show them a cool denim jacket that they want to wear, it can be something small it doesn’t have to be at the largest level.

I think it’s a lifestyle, it’s a mindset, and what an honor it is to work in fashion. I never really planned it this way, for me, it really just happened. I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I feel that – it’s definitely, it sort of feels right and not like I’m wanting or needing anything else.

Fashion is everywhere and on many levels it creates who we are. It’s our identity.


Numéro March 2013 / Photographer: Gregory Harris (Management Artists) / Model: Missy Rayder

Related posts:

Posted in Cover story, Interviews | 1 Comment »

Wendy Rowe

November 21st, 2013


Wendy Rowe

As one of the premier talents within the world of beauty, Wendy Rowe is a fashion fixture whose modern take on makeup is both experimental and down to earth. Whether she’s serving as Beauty Artistic Consultant for legendary brand Burberry or off the coast of Ibiza for a shoot, Wendy brings a dynamic energy and innate style to each project. Celebrities like Nicole Kidman and Sienna Miller call on Wendy when it is time to look stunning and the world’s best publications – Vogue, V, i-D, Numero, The Gentlewoman and more, look to her to shape their vision of au courant beauty. Though Wendy is at ease creating otherworldly artistry for fashion’s upper echelon, she’s equally adept at sharing beauty secrets via her informative personal site, or active social media feeds where she offers the masses a glimpse into the stylish life of an industry insider.

A Models.com interview by Janelle Okwodu
Portrait by Jem Mitchell
What drew you to beauty?

WENDY: Growing up in the Eighties where everyone had a strong look, and flicking through magazines I was always drawn to the faces. I liked the way everything looked in great pictures, and I was always drawn to makeup and hair as it made me curious of how to achieve it I so began practicing on myself. To me, makeup was similar to art and painting, and I was good at that so it seemed like a natural profession. It was all about creating a look and with makeup, you are already given the face as your canvas – you just need to make it work.

Were you able to take that painterly approach and apply it to your first jobs? What was your first job?

WENDY: A fashion story for the Independent Magazine – I wanted to make a mark, so used yellow eyeshadow over the eyelids of my black model to create a paint effect. It was quite experimental and looked cool, and it got me a fashion story in i-D as it was quite different for the time.

Amazing – what would you say is the look or style you’ve become known for.

WENDY: In the industry I am known as the Master of Nudes and for creating beautiful skin – this doesn’t necessarily mean this is all I do, however all my work will make the subject look the best they can be, with whatever the brief may be. I’m either beautiful and sexy or full-on creative – there is no middle ground to my style. And even when I’m making the woman look beautiful she will always look quite strong, I never like to make someone just pretty. What I love about being a makeup artist is creating a picture that makes me want to look at it, so above all, whatever the look is it has to be attractive and gorgeous and not scary – I want you to want to look at it. So my style reflects this…

Even when I’m making the woman look beautiful she will always look quite strong, I never like to make someone just pretty.


25 Magazine – Issue No. 3 / Photographer: Jem Mitchell, Model: Eniko

What influences your work?

WENDY: I take a lot of references from growing up in the Eighties – music and fashion went hand-in-hand and everyone had a look, and I loved that during my youth. I also get inspired by films, paintings and the composition of natural colors. It can be anything visual really… I never try and take things literally, I always try and break it down to take part of it – then you can make it yours. I love graphics element with pictures too, which I suppose is why I’m drawn to magazines a lot and is why I like doing my blog.

The beauty world is always evolving, how do you think your style has changed over the years?

WENDY: I have always been unconventional with my work, as I don’t believe there are any rules – if a product or brush is made for a certain part of the face, I don’t like to be restricted by these and will use it how it best works for me. However, through years of experience I now have a much broader knowledge of product textures and pigments than I did when I started and my process is actually quite methodical and logical – previously if I had an idea I would just do it, whereas now I have the knowledge to know how it will work, when it will work and how best to achieve the look the quickest that will also stay on the longest. I understand the extremities and different environments, so I have the experience to create looks as quick and easy as possible without making product mistakes anymore. I’ve also learnt how to work with a team and to consider every element of the image, and how to work with brands to understand their vision and portray it.

I have always been unconventional with my work, as I don’t believe there are any rules.


Burberry Beauty 2012 Main Campaign: Jourdan Dunn, Edie Campbell, Cara Delevingne by Mario Testino (Art Partner)

You’ve gotten to work with everyone and done so much, but what stands out to you as a defining career moment?

WENDY: Doing the Prada campaign was a massive achievement, as Prada is renowned for being at the forefront of fashion and is very well respected. Becoming Creative Consultant for Burberry made me extremely proud, as it’s always been one of my goals to consult for a brand and Burberry is a great brand to work with – I was with the brand from the beginning of their beauty line too, so it’s an amazing opportunity to develop and make a footprint. And my French Vogue cover with Gisele – I always wanted a French Vogue cover and even though it’s not so much a makeup shot, it’s an iconic image that will stand the test of time, I love it.

You’ve made such an impact at Burberry as Beauty Artistic Consultant – how did you first get involved with the brand?

WENDY: I was working on Dutch Magazine with Elliott Smedley, who was the fashion editor there. Elliott became Creative Consultant for Burberry and so when Christopher Bailey asked him who he liked to work with he said me. We grew together as Burberry developed – luckily my aesthetic was the same as Christopher’s so it all worked out really well, I couldn’t have asked for a better match. We have worked together for Burberry ever since. It’s been over twelve years working on campaign images and the Prorsum show.

What is it like creating those looks each season – not just for the runway, but for the beauty line as well?

WENDY: It’s much more complex than I ever imagined – there’s a lot more to take into consideration than just creating colours and having a product idea! You need to understand how things work in packaging and you need to consider the whole world too – different skin tones, understanding what’s fashionable in one continent that may not necessarily be fashionable in another. It’s about making it work for everyone but in a Burberry way. You also have to work two years in advance, so it’s very busy and fast-paced. It’s super exciting too, especially to come up with ideas and have great team of people that can make them happen. It’s brilliant to work with such an amazing visionary like Christopher Bailey too – it really pushes you creatively.

You need to understand how things work in packaging and you need to consider the whole world too – different skin tones, understanding what’s fashionable in one continent that may not necessarily be fashionable in another. It’s about making it work for everyone but in a Burberry way.


Anja Rubik by Camilla Akrans (Management + Artists) for Vogue Italia September 2012

You’re always one step ahead of the curve – what look are you loving right now?

WENDY: I love the grunge trend that’s come back for Autumn this year, that’s kind of disheveled and not considered. It’s more about the attitude and it takes me back to where I started. I also loved the gold feeling we created at Burberry for Autumn with the Trench Kisses collection, and so far from the shows it looks like the gold trend will continue into Spring next year as I’ve seen lots of gold coming through. I also think blue will be a big color for Spring which I also love.

Beauty and fashion are so linked right now – what do you think is the future of beauty in fashion?

WENDY: I think fashion brands are understanding that they want to complete their woman, so I think we’ll continue to see brands trying to offer the complete package – they’re selling a lifestyle, it’s not just only about the clothes anymore. Multimedia has contributed to this, as people can now be much more aware of everything – previously what we were doing in London would take ages to translate over to NYC or Paris and as with Chinese whispers it would change by the time it got there. Whereas now everything is instant and people find out globally the same day. Because of this I think more brands will have a stronger identity of who their woman is.


Jimmy Choo cruise 2014, Nicole Kidman by Camilla Akrans (Management + Artists)

You do quite a lot with celebrities as well – who are some of your favorites to work with?

WENDY: I really like working with Nicole Kidman – she has a great presence and is a nice energy to be around, plus I like the fact that she’s a great actress. She’s also quite funny and a little bit out of the box, which I like. I think most creative people are a little bit unconventional. I also love working with Sienna Miller, who’s also talented – she’s beautiful, warm and super funny. I love her style and think she’s cool.

You’re active on social media and you’ve got a website as well – why did you feel it was important to engage with your audience that way?

WENDY: I feel like you need to move with the times and the new generation look at social media and websites a lot. I think it’s good to be part of a new movement and you need to be progressive rather than stagnate. I also like the fact that I can be my own voice and I think it’s important for people to learn, so it’s nice to be able to give people some of my experience. I can also make it very visual and instant, which appeals to me as I’m quite impatient and a very visual person.

Do you feel the role of behind the scenes talent is changing now?

WENDY: Yes, totally. You are no longer just a makeup artist in today’s world, you’re also an expert, a personality, a voice, a teacher. You need to be able to communicate what you do, whereas you never had to do that before. It used to be all about the end result – now it’s more about how you achieve that.

Is there anyone whose makeup you haven’t done yet that you’d like to?

Madonna – I have watched her change throughout the years and I reference her imagery a lot, so she’s inspirational to me and iconic. Plus Kate Middleton!

I think fashion brands are understanding that they want to complete their woman, so I think we’ll continue to see brands trying to offer the complete package – they’re selling a lifestyle, it’s not just only about the clothes anymore.


Chloe Fragrance 2012: Camille Rowe by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

Related posts:

Posted in Cover story, Interviews | 9 Comments »

25 / Eniko X

September 8th, 2012

25 Exclusive short film: X

25 Magazine has never shied away from showcasing female sensuality in all its glory and with their latest film, the magazine ups the ante. Eniko Mihalik bares body and soul in X by Jason Last & Jaime Rubiano, a sexy and artistic take on the body beautiful: experience it first in our exclusive preview – only in MDX.

Related posts:

Posted in Cover story, Exclusives, Magazine Previews, Videos | 5 Comments »

Document Journal Exclusive Preview

August 28th, 2012

models.com presents an exclusive preview: Document Journal

NYFW brings with it the launch of Document Journal, an ambitious NYC fashion and culture glossy with a global perspective. Focusing on a singular ideal the magazine aims for “a blending of viewpoints with a variety of aesthetics and backgrounds that share a similar fascination: Beauty.”

“We wanted to “Document” aesthetics in this moment in history, allowing people to sit down and enjoy different aspects of life on paper. Something collectible but not consumeristic, an intimate moment in this hectic life to discover, and be inspired by, things our readers are attracted to but not necessarily informed about. We wanted to create something inspirational for different kinds of people with a variety of aesthetics and backgrounds with a similar attraction: beauty. All of this with a point of view, current and nostalgic but also forward-looking.” —James Valeri, Creative & Fashion Director

“People are ready for a new approach. Everything about Document will be different. It’s a wide-ranging platform for art, portraiture, men’s and women’s fashion, both looking forward and cognizant of the past. Document moves easily between luxury and popular culture and is astute, unexpected, minimal, and timeless.” —Nick Vogelson, Editorial Director & Publisher

Boasting 200+ pages of art, fashion, and cultural content from renowned and up-and-coming names in the visual arts, fashion, film and literature, Document raises the bar for September issues. The curated content selection features a variety of contributors – top photographers; Collier Schorr, Jeff Burton, Jack Pierson, David Armstrong, Paul Wetherell, Benjamin Alexander Huseby, Maripol, Catherine Servel, Sofia & Mauro, and Miguel Reveriego, A-List editors Sabina Schreder (Purple, i-D, AnOther), Samuel François (Numéro), Jodie Barnes (Fantastic Man) and of course top models like Liya Kebede, Eniko Mihalik, Bette Franke and Hanne Gaby Odiele, who takes on styling duties in a special story. Take in Day 1 of our exclusive introduction to Document and its rousing blend of fashion, art and culture only in MDX.

Follow Document Journal on twitter @documentjournal

Document No.10 | Automatic Watercolors, by Jack Pierson

Document No.172 | Liya Kebede, by Pierre Alexandre de Looz | Photography by Collier Schorr | Fashion Director James Valeri | Casting Daniel Peddle | Makeup Gucci Westman at Art + Commerce | Hair Deycke Heidorn at See Management

DOCUMENT No.64 | Photographer Maripol snaps with Stylist Hanne Gaby Odiele, as the curtain rises. Models Andie Arthur, Kate King, and Anais Mali at Ford Models

Document No.110 | Photographer: Catherine Servel | Fashion Director: James Valeri | Model Adrien Sahores at Ford NY | Makeup by Chiho Omae using Chanel Beaute for Frank Reps | Hair by Shin Arima using Redken for Frank Reps

Document No.98 | Photographer: Paul Wetherell | Fashion Director: James Valeri | Model Bette Franke at DNA Models. Makeup by Pep Gay at Streeters | Hair by Enrico Mariotti at See Management

Day 2: Bela Borsodi + Collier Schorr + Eniko

Document No. 142: Photographer Bela Borsodi And Stylist Sabina Schreder Sublimate The Unconscious Affair Of Fashion And Art | Models Anais Pouliot and Maria Palm at Trump Models | Hair by Pasquale Ferrante at ION Studio | Make-up Angie Parker for Nars

Document No. 224 Photographer Collier Schorr Frames Arresting Youth Sliced To Perfection By Hair Stylist Holli Smith | Styled By Jodie Barnes | Hair stylist Holli Smith at Total World using Oribe hair products | Makeup by Alice Lane at Jed Root | Casting by Barbara Pfister Casting

Document No. 206: Photographers Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello And Stylist Samuel Francois Walk Us Through An Afternoon Of “Solitude, Sunshine And Glory.” | Model Eniko at Marilyn Agency NY. Hair Romina Manenti (See Management) at Airport Agency | Makeup Rie Omoto (See Management) at See Management

Day 3: Miguel Reverigo + Carlotta Manaigo + David Armstrong + Valerjia

Document No. 190: Photographer Miguel Reveriego And Makeup Artist Ozzy Salvatierra Travel The Landscape Of Human Nature | Model Tara Lynn at IMG | Hair stylist Luke Baker

Document No. 182: Photographer Carlotta Manaigo And Fashion Director James Valeri Mine For “Elemental” Ore | Hair by Laura de Leon at Joe Management | Makeup by William Murphy at Joe Management | Model Matt Perry at Ford NY

Document No. 127: Photographer David Armstrong Catches The Still Of Morning-After With Stylist Trevor Stones | Models Jake Schultz at Click Models and Jordan Torres at Soul Management

Document No. 136: Photographers Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello, Together With Stylist Chloe Kerman Summon “Valerija Of The Spirits.” | Model Valerija Kelava at Oui Management. Makeup Morgane Martini at Artlist Paris.

Related posts:

Posted in Cover story, Exclusives, Magazine Previews | 8 Comments »

Teaser: 25 Magazine

May 8th, 2012

models.com presents an exclusive teaser: 25 Magazine

In 2010 when Anja Rubik and Sasha Knezevic assumed the reins of 25 Magazine, the Vienna based publication logged a storm of press. Two years later the team is set to launch the latest edition of 25 and this time expect the storm to turn into the full deluge. Consider the staggering list of contributors :

Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Paola Kudacki, Emma Summerton, Camilla Akrans, Mary McCartney, Katja Rahlwes, Catherine Servel, Yelena Yemchuk, Annie Leibovitz, Roxanne Lowit, Sheila Metzner, Liz Collins, Corinne Day, Ellen von Unwerth, Alex Prager, Caitlin Cronenberg, Delphine Achard, Anna Bauer, Helena Christensen, Melanie Ward, Keegan Singh, Karl Plewka, Myrzk + Moriceau, Alejandra Mendoza, Yi Zhou, Iman, Veronika Varekova, Elettra Wiedemann, Coco Rocha, Petra Nemcova, Summer Rayne, Liya Kebede, Zuzanna Bijoch, Karlie Kloss, Carmen Kass, Arizona Muse, Aline Weber, Abbey Lee, Crystal Renn, Eniko, Natasa Vojnovic, Jessica Miller, Dita von Teese, Derek Blasberg, Wendy Rowe, Lady Amanda Harlech, Christiaan Houtenbos, Barnaby Roper, Kanye West, Louis Marie de Castelbajac, Eddie Borgo, Victor Demarchelier.

Add to that the issue’s unabashed erotic theme and what you have is a sure fire sell.
MDX caught up with the editor for an outline of the new 25, including these exclusive teaser videos.

Teaser videos by : Santiago & Mauricio Sierra
Starring: Abbey Lee Kershaw

Follow 25 Magazine on 25Magazine.com or on Twitter @25magazine

1. This being the second issue of 25, how does it differ from the
first one and how would you say it has evolved?

This is really my first issue of 25 since I took over. The vision of
25 is a very strong minded, intelligent, sensual woman. The content
will be beautiful visually with an erotic twist.
The magazine approaches sex in an imaginative way and is filled with
beautiful images, great fashion, and irreverent stories. 25’s
inaugural issue is dedicated to the talent of female photographers and
celebrating strong women.

2. We love this new logo, what was the idea or inspiration behind it.

The inspiration was the woman’s body, her sensuality and her
strength …. I’d also like to think of it as the new 69 – but on a
woman’s terms.

3. Given the theme of the issue, did you feel the need to draw a line
or a limit as to how far it could go with the idea of eroticism?

I think it came very naturally, the magazine has the erotic touch but
it’s all very sensual and within good taste.. the people that I have
chosen to be a part of the magazine have a very specific sensitivity
to beauty which is far from anything vulgar.

4.Does being an editor change or influence the way you see modeling?

Not really, I still enjoy modeling and it is my main focus. I have a
even greater appreciation for the importance of team work..and how
important it is to choose the right girl for the right story.

5. How much autonomy did you give each photographer to create the visuals.

I spoke with the photographers about the vision of the magazine, we
discussed the story and inspiration… from there, they had all the
creative freedom.

6. When and where does the magazine launch and where will it be
available for sale?

The magazine launches in Cannes :) We are all very exited .. it will
be available online and at Colette, Corso Como 10, and a few
selected places in NY.

Related posts:

Posted in Cover story, Interviews, Videos | 30 Comments »

Apollo Rising

April 3rd, 2012

Apollo Rising

Laura Egan‘s evocative dreamscape, Apollo Rising is filled with the kind of imagery that pushes boundaries. Inspired by Jack Dempsey, the gentleman fighter of the Prohibition era, the film explores the dual nature within us all. Darkness and light, good vs. evil, the full scope of epic drama shot in a dreamy style that shifts between gritty reality and ethereal fantasy. Experience it for yourself – only in MDX.

Directed by Laura Egan
Director of Photography: Sam Heesen

Eliza Cummings at Women Model Management
Eniko Mihalik at Marilyn Model Mgmt
– Kate Nauta
Crystal Renn at Ford Models
Cory Bond at Soul Artist Management
Arthur Sales at Soul Artist Management
Seijo Imazaki at Soul Artist Management
Oraine Barrett at Soul Artist Management
– Giannis Marais at Soul Artist Management
Brittain Ward at Wilhelmina New York
– Kaylan Falgoust at Red Model Management

Producer: Laura Egan
Executive Producers: Ruy Sanchez & Brent Langton at B2Pro

Gaffer: Ryan DeFranco

Edit provided by Swell NY

Post-production services provided by Industrial Color
Color grading and flame VFX by Michael Dwass
Additional sound design by Andrew Toews
Post-production supervisor James Demetri

“The Fighters”
– Aldo Uribe
Ryan Mertz at Next Models NY
German Ruiz at Next Models NY
– Matheus Strapasson at Next Models NY
Kadeem Fisher at DNA Models
Makin Curry at Next Models NY+
– Raymond Irving at Next Models NY
– Shane Sather

Makeup: Ingeborg at Opus
Makeup assistance: Sokphala Ban & Elle German
Stylists: Masha & Anda at The Wall Group
Hair: Hugo Ferozzi at Artlist
Art Director: Romain Leroy
Set Designer: Tiffany Porter
Stunt Cordinator/Choreographer: Aldo Uribe
Original Music: Sleeper Cell
Storyboard Art: Mark Barrett

Electric provided by Pier 59 Studios
Additional Cameras: Markus Mueller & Ryan DeFranco
Camera Assistant: Michelle Watt
Grips: George Lois, Ben Carey, Tyler Chong
Best Electric: Milton de la Cruz
Lighting Department: Mark Jenkinson
Lighting Support: Jason Geering, Jared Roessler, Dave Schecter
Assistant Directors: David Lombroso & Kristy Jordan
Production: Salome Buelow, Benjamin Katz, Melodie Jeng, Claudine Eriksson
On Set DJs: Mess Kid, Madison Stewart, Jasper Stapleton

Wardrobe Provided By:
Calvin Klein
– Hisham Oumlil
– Marlies Dekker
Armani Exchange

This film is dedicated to the memory of John Krevey, in remembrance of his courage, vision, and imagination.

Related posts:

Posted in Cover story, Videos | 24 Comments »

Rodarte SS 2012 Casting Call

October 8th, 2011

Ever wonder what your favorite girls are thinking? Catch up with the models of Rodarte’s S/S 2012 casting as they answer the tough questions: coffee vs. tea, Beatles vs. Stones, football vs. soccer. This lighthearted film by Jennifer Venditti, captures some of modeling’s biggest stars giving candid and witty answers to cheeky queries.

Frida Gustavsson / IMG
Mirte Maas / Women
Beegee Margenyte / Supreme
Samantha Gradoville / IMG
Codie Young / DNA
Fei Fei Sun / Women
Kristina Romanova / Women
Karlie Kloss / Next
Julia Frauche / Next
Monika Sawicka / Marilyn
Patricia van der Vliet / Marilyn
Kinga Rajzak / IMG
Vika Falileeva / DNA
Eniko Mihalik / Marilyn
Jourdan Dunn / Women
Nimue Smit / Next
Melissa Johannsen /Wilhemina
Karo Mrozkova / Marilyn
Liu Wen / Marilyn
Valerija Sestic / Women
Madisyn Ritland / Silent
Marleen Gaasbeek / IMG
Caroline Trentini / Women
Mila Krasnoiarova / S
Corinna Ingenleuf/ Ford
Saara Sihvonen / Silent
Lindsey Wixson / Marilyn
Josephine Skriver / Marilyn

Spring/Summer 2012 Casting Call

Follow Rodarte on Facebook

Rodarte by Laura and Kate Mulleavy
Director: Jennifer Venditti
Casting: JV8 Inc.
Editor: Kiki Allgeier
Camera: Salome Oggenfuss
Sound Mixing & Finishing: Shellac

Related posts:

Posted in Cover story, Fashion, Fashion Week, Videos | 52 Comments »

Glen Luchford

January 11th, 2011

Glen Luchford is the creator of some of the most cinematic imagery in Fashion Photography today and in addition gives some really great sound bytes. While we all serve an industry that seems to be pregnant with revolution, listening to the thoughts of one who’s lived through a number of significant changes in the business is a more than welcome pastime. Fantasizing about the glorious tales told and all the while intrigued by one man’s ability to remain current and always evolving, I couldn’t get enough of Glen’s opinions on the subjects we all seem to be contemplating on a daily basis. Photographer and philosopher, he left me with much to think about and filled with excitement on the possibilities of what explosive change will arrive next.
ONE INTERVIEW // Glen Luchford

An interview by One Mgmt‘s Christopher Michael for models.com
All photos courtesy of Glen Luchford for models.com

Top photo: Eva Herzigova / Vogue Italia June 2010

Magdalena Frackowiak / Interview Magazine (Alber Elbaz story)

Christopher Michael: What did the beginning of Glen Luchford the photographer look like?

Glen Luchford: I was living in Brighton at the time and a lot of my friends were fashion students at the college there who were obsessively collecting blitz and i-D magazine, so I was really surrounded by that whole thing. I used to buy The Face and one of my friends was going to go up and show their collection to the magazine so I said “Well I’ll go with you.” It was at a time where you could just walk in and meet the art director and it wasn’t such a big deal, unlike now. I used to hang around there and try and get a meeting, then David Bradshaw said to me, “Oh you should get a job as an assistant and he ended up taking me on a photo shoot. The photographer said you can assist me but I won’t pay you, so I did that which lasted about a week and then he fired me because I kept looking through the camera. (laughs) The day I was fired I was walking home and could see flashlights going off on Old St so I went and banged on the door and asked if they were looking and got a job that way, it was kind of like that in the 80’s. That lasted about two weeks then I got fired from that guy and ended up meeting Norman Watson who was working with Ray Petri at the time doing all the buffalo stuff. I worked with him for about a year, catching the whole end of that was interesting, then Norman fired me. I wasn’t a very good assistant because I never wanted to do the work; I just wanted to watch all the time. I think they thought I was lazy but really I just wanted to learn and watch so I could absorb everything.

CM: Well clearly you did, at which point did that turn into your first commission for a magazine?

GL: Well I eventually went back to The Face and that was when Karl Templer was just starting to work there, the art director showed my pictures to him and wanted us to do some pictures together, so we did. Actually, just prior to that, I gave them the number of the local nightclub I used to hang out at in Brighton because I didn’t have a telephone at the time, and they ended up leaving a message. So I called them back and they said “Tomorrow you have to photograph this band called the Stone Roses” which I’d never heard of, they had just done their first demo tape. I was thinking “shit, how can I take a good picture of an LA rock band?” So I hired an 8 by 10 plate camera and thought that I’d do a very statuesque Avedon kind of portrait of them but I’d never used one before. The magazine had hired it for me but it was sent to the studio in a box, here I was never having done a commission before and here was this camera I didn’t know how to put together, luckily this assitant in the next studio took pity on me and came in and set it up. Then the band walked in which was very confusing because they were these very handsome interesting looking guys about 20 years old rather than Guns and Roses who I was imagining in my head, so I realized I made a mistake. Anyways, I shot 10 plates of them and they are still some of the best pictures I ever took and the magazine loved them, after that they gave me regular commissions.

Karen Elson / V Magazine

CM: So you really just learned as you went along?

GL: Pretty much everything I did after that was a disaster, I really had to make all of my mistakes in public. It took me a good couple of years to work it out but it was fantastic that they gave me the opportunity to shoot for them. In those days you were not required to use the certain girls you are now, it was about being experimental and doing something new, which was celebrated by the magazines rather than feared as it is now.

CM: Do you see a difference of breed between your generation and the arrival of digital reliant photographers today?

GL: Well recently I was working with this advertising client and there was an enormous wall of people that wanted to have an opinion on what we were doing. So after all of the work that I had done with the Art Director for the weeks prior and the whole day of pre lighting, it was all scrapped by this plethora of individual opinions who all had a different idea of what would be good for their market. I think in a situation like that, if you don’t have a good understanding of lighting and such, it can be quite the disaster. Prior to the arrival of digital, photographers had to learn those skills so that still makes a difference. What’s happening now of course, which is definitely going to separate the men from the boys is you have to shoot stills and film at the same time. Suddenly you’re expected to be a cinematographer and a photographer, in the last two seasons we’ve been expected to deliver the film and stills all in an 8 hour day.

CM: I thought it was really funny and also a little balsy what you said in that interview with Another magazine, which was that you were not so sure you liked that everyone was doing moving image. I think that most people would be afraid to say that because they wouldn’t want to be less appealing to the clients who are commissioning now….but also the fact that everyone in the film industry sort of turns their nose up at the idea of fashion photographers tackling the moving image medium and you already having done a short film, so what is it that you don’t like about moving image in fashion?

GL: Basically it’s just that the constraints are getting tighter and tighter, every new level of stress that they put on the situation means less creativity. I hate myself for saying it because it sounds so romantic to look back and go ‘oh the 80’s and the 90’s when we went with 10 rolls and nobody was in the studio but hair, make up, model, stylist and photographer. That was it and you just had fun for 2 days in the studio. It was a great time, but at the same time, at that period we were all just moaning about what shit it was in comparison to the 70’s so I hate myself for saying it now. When you are in a situation where you have to live out so much in such a short period of time, the girls and the objective changes, it’s not about how much time you’ll get to be creative, it’s about how much time you’ll get to achieve all this stuff and if there is any time left at the end to do something creative then you’re lucky. Creativity is now a luxury bi-product. I believe that the clients are going to start putting more of a value on the film and they will create an extra day for it, that will be more interesting because they will be prepared for it and have more money for it and ultimately more respect for it. You’ll be able to do the photography and then think about the film portion separately, up until now it’s not been done that way, it’s all just being shoved on to the end.

Iris Strubegger / Vogue Italia Sept 2009 “Good Looking”

CM: Speaking of film, your photography always has a cinematic feel to it, are you big on references or is that just your natural aesthetic?

GL: I do reference films a lot but I’ve been trying to move away from that because I’ve done it for so long and it gets tedious looking at the same thing over and over again. You can’t be a photographer anymore you have to be an image maker which means that you can work in any genre, just learning photography skills is now only 50% of it. I was reading this interview with Wes Craven and he said, “When I teach film making, I’m never looking for film makers, because a really good film maker has such a strange unusual group of skills. You have to be a really good people person and you have to be a diplomat and you have to be able to do all of these things in order to get 50 or 100 people to do what you want and you have to be a dictator and a mother to someone and have lighting skills and it’s this big odd mix.” So I then wonder when you’re at these schools where they are teaching kids photography, if they have made that transition in teaching them now that this isn’t going to be enough. It’s now turning into something very very different. What people have realized is that just being a model, photographer or editor or whichever is no longer enough. In order to sustain something, you really need to turn yourself into a brand, which Terry [Richardson] has done very well, Olivier [Zahm] also. It’s a commodity basically, so I’m a bit divided about that because on one hand it’s sort of become the norm and once something becomes the norm people tend to backlash against it, but on the other hand if you don’t brand yourself then you don’t have longevity so is everyone then going to be forced into a situation where you have to start being more than a name on the bottom of a page.

CM: Wow, well when you put it like that…

GL: There was a period of time where all of those photographers were not really obsessed with the past they were just interested in trying something new whether it worked or not; and the industry was just looking for something different so it opened a few doors of opportunity. I also think that Margaret Thatcher had a really enormous effect on my generation because it was so stifling and the country was in such dire straits in the 70’s. She really supported the rich and middle classes, the schools became over populated, there was a lot of unemployment and there was this whole feeling of political strife to the individual, a lot of chaos was going on. So her gift, if you want to call it, to everyone was the realization of “Well the state is not going to take care of you so you better start taking care of yourself,” and they started this scheme which was called the enterprise allowance scheme. If you start up your own company you get a thousand pounds and they will help you sustain that to see if they could inspire people to get thinking and create new business. That mentality really got absorbed by everyone around at that time, nobody really spoke about money. It was “can I make money doing something that I love to do every single day, rather than ending up in a factory somewhere?” Or basically getting another job. So to be able to work for The Face magazine and get paid 100 pounds for a picture was an amazing feat, it felt like a real luxury, plus I got my allowance money so it was great.

Eniko Mihalik / Vogue Italia March 2010

Kate Moss / Harper’s Bazaar 1993

CM: And that was what really woke up the creative minds and efforts of the then arriving generation in England?

GL: It really installed fear in people and made them start fighting for themselves. I think that everyone that came out of that period became really ambitious and all of the photographers and stylists that came out of that time were really really driven, I never heard people talking about money, it was always about ideas and being creative. I remember giving a talk in London and I gave this whole slide show at the end of which I asked if anyone had a question and this one kid put up his hand and said “when I do my first advertising campaign, how much can I expect to make?” I said “Based on that question, you are never going to make it because if you are doing it for money it will never happen. You should really be eating sleeping and drinking fashion photography day and night, the money is irrelevant, you do it for love or you’re just never going to make it.” The point of focus has shifted and has suddenly become really corporate in its mentality and again I’m falling into the trap of romanticizing the past but it wasn’t like that before, there was not a lot of money kicking around so you did it because you really loved it.

CM: I’d like to think that same principle applies to now when so many are struggling to get into an over saturated industry, the most passionate no doubt have to rise to the top…

GL: The fashion industry like everything else is mutating, so quickly that it’s not what it was even 5 or 10 years ago. I think you need to accept that and get on with it or move over to another industry. I think in my generation there were very few photographers wanting to be fashion photographers which a lot of them stayed, some went off and did other things. Now, there are 100’s of thousands of people that want to be a photographer. A friend of mine who teaches at the London School of Fashion said, in the late 90’s early 2000’s, everyone wanted to be a fashion designer and nobody wanted to be a photographer and now it’s the complete opposite. There is a bit of a chicken or the egg thing going on right now. Before, nobody was trying to do what was in the magazines, they were trying to do their own thing, whereas now you look at young photographers’ books and it’s their effort to imitate what is already in the magazines. So the question is, are the photographers forced into a situation by the magazines to deliver that sort of work otherwise they are not interesting? Or is it that everyone has decided that it’s best to just try and imitate what is happening to see if they are able to break into it. It’s a hard question to answer.

Related posts:

Posted in Cover story, Interviews | 26 Comments »

All dressed up and nowhere to go

February 8th, 2010

UPDATED: Bregje and Arlenis added

All dressed up and nowhere to go: 82 girls / one casting director.
All photos by: Kannon Rajah
Animation: Stephan Moskovic
Supporting the impossible project

Are you ready for show week?

Here’s our choice to get you pumping, let us know what’s your soundtrack for this season in the comments!


A very big thanks to Kannon and all the girls, in order of appearance:
Julia Stegner
Abbey Lee
Anna J
Anna S
Hanne Gaby
Karlie Kloss
Karmen Pedaru
Catherine McNeil
Liu Wen
Olga Sherer
Alana Zimmer
Aline Weber
Clara Alfonso
Daria Strokous
Erin Heatherton
Irina K
Izabel Goulart
Shannan Click
Mirte Maas
Lisanne de Joong
Toni Garrn
Taylor Kraemer
Hannah Holman
Ieva Laguna
Constance Jablonski
Charlotte di Calypso
Ali Stephens
Amanda Noogard
Anastasia K
Emily Didonato
Emma Maclaren
Lyndsey Scott
Shu Pei
Jacquelyn Jablonski
Julia Hafstrom
Karolin W
Katlin Aas
Lindsey Wixson



All photos copyright Kannon Rajah, please do not reproduce without permission

Related posts:

Posted in Cover story, Fashion Week, Features | 48 Comments »