Model of the Year Awards 2014

February 10th, 2015

Models.com 2014 Industry Awards

While the Models.com Rankings are a barometer of the industry’s favorite models, and as such are continually updated throughout the year, we felt it was time to offer a bigger picture view – Introducing the first ever Models.com Model of the Year (MOTY) Industry Awards.

The Models.com Model of the Year (MOTY) Industry Awards are the voice of over 250 voters representing a wide range of the industry’s top professionals, including many of the industry’s top stylists, designers, photographers, editors, hair and makeup artists and casting directors, and a wide range of the next generation of the industry’s emerging creative talents. Notable participants include Edward Enninful, Katie Grand, Melanie Ward, Duffy, John Pfeiffer, Anita Bitton, Andrew Weir, Angus Munro, Daniel Peddle, Bethann Hardison, Giampaolo Sgura, Melanie Huynh, Mariano Vivanco, Jeff Bark, Nicola Formichetti, Tom Van Dorpe, Pierre Debusschere, Esteban Cortazar, Sophie Theallet, Sebastian Faena, Sir John, Santiago Sierra, Benjamin Puckey, Benjamin Huseby, and many others.

Fashion’s biggest fans also got in on the fun: the Readers’ Choice section offers an up to date and often surprising selection chosen by you, the MDC readers. The people have spoken – thousands of them in fact and their choices are every bit as exciting as those provided by insiders.

The awards are broken down in 11 categories as follows:

Model of the Year Women
Model of the Year Men
Breakout Star Women
Breakout Star Men
Comeback of the Year
Social Media Star Women
Social Media Star Men
Humanitarian
Celebrity Model Women
Celebrity Model Men

Model of the Year: Women

The biggest and brightest star of 2014 aka the girl or guy who has distinguished themselves via top tier work with the best photographers, stylists and magazines, leaving the competition in the dust and standing out as the year’s foremost star.
Industry’s Vote

EdieCampbellRunnerUP
Self Service Cover by Alasdair McLellan

Readers’ Choice

Cara500
Love Magazine Cover by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Runner Up
Industry’s Vote

Cara500
Love Magazine Cover by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Readers’ Choice

karlie
i-D Spring 2013 by Matt Jones

All MOTY Women Nominees

Model of the Year: Men

The biggest and brightest star of 2014 aka the girl or guy who has distinguished themselves via top tier work with the best photographers, stylists and magazines, leaving the competition in the dust and standing out as the year’s foremost star.
Industry’s Vote

Clement500x500
H&M ad by Karim Sadli

Readers’ Choice

seanO500w
Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Fragrance by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

Runner Up
Industry’s Vote

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Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Fragrance by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

Readers’ Choice

DavidG500x500
Massimo Dutti F/W 13 Campaign

All MOTY Men Nominees

Breakout Star: Women

Like model of the year, the breakout star has had a substantial presence on the modeling scene, only their careers have just begun to take off in the past several seasons. As a newcomer to the fashion industry, these rising stars have racked up coveted campaigns and impressive editorial work in a short period of time and are set to leave a lasting mark on the industry.
Industry’s Vote

AnnaE500
Polaroid/Women Management

Readers’ Choice

KendalJenner500
Polaroid/The Society

Runner Up
Industry’s Vote

BinxDocument-500w
Document cover by Roe Ethridge

Readers’ Choice

Gigi500
Portrait by Jodi Jones

All Breakout Star Women Nominees

Breakout Star: Men

Like model of the year, the breakout star has had a substantial presence on the modeling scene, only their careers have just begun to take off in the past several seasons. As a newcomer to the fashion industry, these rising stars have racked up coveted campaigns and impressive editorial work in a short period of time and are set to leave a lasting mark on the industry.
Industry’s Vote

FilipHrivnak500
Rollercoaster Cover by Philipp Mueller

Readers’ Choice

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Polaroid/Models.com

Runner Up
Industry’s Vote

TimS-500
Cerruti Campaign by David Sims

Readers’ Choice

FilipHrivnak500
Rollercoaster Cover by Philipp Mueller

All Breakout Star Men Nominees

Comeback of the Year

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and these beauties took extended breaks from the rigors of the modeling world only to return stronger than ever. Whether they opened a noteworthy show, or found themselves on the cover of a cutting-edge magazine, these comeback stars have proven themselves essential.
Industry’s Vote

GemmaWardStyle500
Sunday Style Cover by Beau Grealy

Readers’ Choice

GemmaWardStyle500
Sunday Style Cover by Beau Grealy

Runner Up
Industry’s Vote

NadjaA500
Vogue Germany Cover by Luigi & Iango

Readers’ Choice

NadjaA500
Vogue Germany Cover by Luigi & Iango

All Comeback of the Year Nominees

Social Media Star WOMEN

If the past year has taught us anything it is that every tweet, Instagram photo, and like adds up to a powerful presence within the world of fashion. These models have leveraged their followings into key bookings and heightened influence, inciting a media frenzy with each and every post.
Industry’s Vote

Cara500
Love Magazine Cover by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Readers’ Choice

Cara500
Love Magazine Cover by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Runner Up
Industry’s Vote

KendalJenner500
Polaroid/The Society New York

Readers’ Choice

KendalJenner500
Polaroid/The Society New York

All Social Media Star Nominees

Social Media Star MEN

If the past year has taught us anything it is that every tweet, Instagram photo, and like adds up to a powerful presence within the world of fashion. These models have leveraged their followings into key bookings and heightened influence, inciting a media frenzy with each and every post.
Industry’s Vote

KONK500W
7 For All Mankind Campaign by Sebastian Faena

Readers’ Choice

francisco500
Made in Brazil by Greg Vaughan

Runner Up
Industry’s Vote

seanO500w
Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Fragrance by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

Readers’ Choice

seanO500w
Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Fragrance by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

All Social Media Star Nominees

Humanitarian

Nothing is more important than giving back to the community and during the past year these models have inspired us all by putting charity first. Devoting their time, energy and celebrity to causes big and small, these women raise awareness and bring hope to those who need it most.
Industry’s Vote

ChristyTurlington500
Calvin Klein Campaign by Mario Sorrenti

Readers’ Choice

ChristyTurlington500
Calvin Klein Campaign by Mario Sorrenti

Runner Up
Industry’s Vote

JacquelynJab500w
Elle Italia Cover by Matt Jones

Readers’ Choice

JourdanDunn50
British Vogue by Patrick Demarchelier

All Humanitarian Nominees

ChristyTurlington200Christy Turlington

As founder of Every mother Counts, Turlington works to make pregnancy safe for every mother worldwide, raising money and awareness about maternal health programs around the globe.

JacquelynJab200Jacquelyn Jablonski

Since her brother’s diagnosis with autism, Jacquelyn has tirelessly dedicated her support to autism charities. This year she brought out the stars for A Night for Autism a silent auction benefiting Autism Speaks.

JourdanDunn200wJourdan Dunn

Jourdan is an ambassador for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America and started her own campaign #CellForGratitude to help research and find a cure, an issue very close to her heart as Jourdan’s 4 year-old son, Riley was born with Sickle Cell Disease.

KyleighKuhn200wKyleigh Kuhn

Kyleigh has been working to improve the lives of children in war torn Afghanistan since her 13th birthday. With the launch of her jewelry line, Roots of Peace, Kyleigh aims to promote a sustainable business model that will provide economic support to the Afghan people.

LiyaKebede200wLiya Kebede

As founder of the Liya Kebede Foundation Liya works to advance safe motherhood and pregnancy throughout Africa. Her clothing line LemLem also supports traditional weavers in her native Ethiopia in an effort to preserve their rich history.

NaomiCampbell200wNaomi Campbell

Naomi is actively involved in many charities including Fashion for Relief, Amfar and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and is organizing two upcoming fund raising fashion shows to raise awareness of Ebola and funds to fight the disease.

NataliaV200wNatalia Vodianova

Natalia’s Naked Heart Foundation builds playgrounds for disadvantaged youths throughout Russia. Natalia is also involved in several other foundations including Hear the World and the Tiger Trade Campaign to stop trade in tiger parts and products.

NykhorPaul200wNykhor Paul

Nykhor partnered with the International Rescue Committee to raise awareness about the plight of refugees and displaced individuals in Ethiopia and Sudan.

SaraZiff200wSara Ziff

Sara’s tireless work at The Model Alliance, especially for child models; giving models a voice and a safe haven, along with campaigning against labor abuses in the modeling industry deserves acknowledgement.

Best Street Style

The sidewalk is the new catwalk and these models bring fashion to the streets with outlandish and eye-catching looks that have made them the girls to watch for off-duty style. Some have taken their street style prowess one step further, broadening their horizons by acting as stylist on editorial shoots.
Industry’s Vote

HanneGabbe500w
Street Style photo by Melodie Jeng/Models.com

Readers’ Choice

anja500
Street Style photo by Melodie Jeng/Models.com

Runner Up
Industry’s Vote

binx500
Street Style photo by Melodie Jeng

Readers’ Choice

joan500w
Street Style photo by Melodie Jeng

Street Style Nominees

Celebrity Model: Women

Celebrities have become an unavoidable presence in luxury advertising, but certain stars are every bit as captivating as the models. Putting their posing skills to good use (often honed during their career beginnings as models) and bringing with them an air of Hollywood glamour, these are the celebrities who play the role of model with ease.
Industry’s Vote

TILDANars500
Nars Campaign by Francois Nars

Readers’ Choice

rihanna500
Vogue Brasil by Mariano Vivanco

Runner Up
Industry’s Vote

LupitaLancome
Lancôme Campaign by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Readers’ Choice

TILDANars500
Nars Campaign by Francois Nars

Celeb Model Nominees

Celebrity Model: Men

Celebrities have become an unavoidable presence in luxury advertising, but certain stars are every bit as captivating as the models. Putting their posing skills to good use (often honed during their career beginnings as models) and bringing with them an air of Hollywood glamour, these are the celebrities who play the role of model with ease.
Industry’s Vote

JamieDornan
Interview Cover by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Readers’ Choice

113263-800w
H&M Bodywear F/W 12 by Alasdair McLellan

Runner Up
Industry’s Vote

PharrellGstar
G-Star Raw Campaign by Henrik Bulow

Readers’ Choice

JamieDornan
Interview Cover by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Celeb Model Nominees

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Posted in Cover story, Features | 7 Comments »

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.

EzraDesigners3EzraDesigners2EzraDesigners1

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.

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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.


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

Elizabeth Sulcer

April 14th, 2014

ElizabethSulcerMDX

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

ES_Vogue

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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

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Charlotte Stockdale

April 7th, 2014

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Charlotte Stockdale

Charlotte Stockdale has spent time throughout her trajectory at some of the most frequently referenced publications in the world, including Dazed & Confused, The Face, POP during the Katie Grand years, and i-D, as well as mass audience magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Her brand associations have been equally impressive, and her absolute disregard for any idea being impossible has lead to a number of stories endowed with unique perspective. Her impressive wit and a smile-that-just-won’t-quit are only two of the many things for which people adore her. Since her recent appointment as the fashion director of Garage magazine, she’s wasted no time bringing that same adventurous spirit into its pages and social media projects, the latest of which was a fun and festive few days during the Paris collections, where she and the wonderful other half of Chaos Fashion, Katie Lyall, rounded up some of their favorite faces and personalities for a series of Garage go-sees photographed inside the custom painted, pink Garage magazine / Chaos Fashion truck, all around Paris. Their excitement is contagious and their intolerance for anything banal makes for a brilliant blend. Tea, anyone?

A Models.com interview by Christopher Michael
Charlotte Stockdale & Katie Lyall portrait by John Akehurst for Models.com
Garage cover/editorial photos by Nick Knight, styled by Charlotte Stockdale,
courtesy of Garage Magazine for Models.com

Chaos Fashion on Instagram

Christopher Michael: Let’s start with your love for fashion…

Charlotte Stockdale: I started working in fashion because it was something I loved, but the fashion I love is a much more expressive form of fashion, rather than a journalistic form of fashion. I like to be free. I have many facets. I don’t have a kind of one look thing, and I’ve always been very much interested in film.

CM: Is that why you’re so excited about the arrival of online platforms and moving image?

CS: The online thing is huge. Taking fashion out into a much vaster arena than the kind of brilliant fashion photographers doing film is just a whole, very different, new thing.

CM: That’s so nice to hear, because I think so many of the fashion editors coming from the print world have a little bit of a disconnect with online. Even if they want to appreciate it, they don’t necessarily know how to interact with it the same way they do with print. Although, that’s been changing quite quickly with some.

CS: I don’t think that you will succeed very easily if you’re starting from “OK, let’s do a Victorian story.” It’s a completely different thing. You have to start from the whole narrative. I think in it. I see it. I can see the shots. I know what it is I want to see. It’s hard to explain, because we haven’t really done a lot of it yet, but I think you have to think on the scale of a film, not on the scale of a fashion video. That is a very different concept, truly. It has to be storyboarded and scripted. I’d worked on preparing several movies with Rupert Wyatt, back in 1993-1996, and he got an incredible casting. He went and knocked on Roman Polanski’s door, and got him to agree to be in it. I got many of the ten top designers to agree to work with us, and you look back and think, “How did we pull that off?” Yet everyone said yes to making something for this movie. Everybody. Three times we were so close to filming, and three times the money pulled out at the last minute. When I started at Dazed & Confused, I was already working on a potential full length feature, so it’s kind of always been a part of my trajectory.

…the fashion I love is a much more expressive form of fashion, rather than a journalistic form of fashion.I like to be free.

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Georgia May Jagger / Photo: Nick Knight / Garage No.6

CM: How does that affect your taste, in terms of what you want to be commissioning for online platforms with whom you work moving forward?

CS: I’m about anything goes. There is no limit. There is no formula. There is no anything. We did that wink video for i-D, and there was really no narrative there. That was a brilliant, simple idea. Each one was storyboarded. There was a thing they had to do. It had its narrative, which was the cover line, to express through what they did: the hair, the makeup, the lighting. It’s a brave new world. No frontiers.

CM: Does that double the work of the role of a fashion director today, now being responsible for both the print and digital platforms?

CS: Absolutely. For me, the online is as important, and very much holds the same weight as the print now.

CM: I really appreciate that. Like I said, I think people want to grasp the value of digital platforms, but I think many struggle with it. It seems they don’t necessarily know how, because they still very much come from the school of print. It’s so refreshing to see your passion and grasp of that new territory.

CS: It started with Katie Lyall. We’ve worked together 11 years. When I was having the babies, and my mother passed away, and all of that, she very much carried our company, and me, and she was the one who got me going on digital. Kevin Kollenda came to us, and said that he really wanted to speak together about that. Katie had also already been all over it.

CM: Tell me more about Chaos Fashion.

CS: Chaos fashion is us. It’s our brand. It has lots and lots and lots of ambition. We kind of do everything together. Katie [Lyall] does brilliant casting and hair and makeup and research, and we kind of style together. We put everything up on a wall, and go through the entire editing process together. One wall is a complete casting wall, and the other wall is the styling wall. That’s where we have our whole editorial process powwow.

CM: So your process, in terms of styling, isn’t so much about having an overall concept about a story and bringing in the girl, and making that idea unfold on the girl. For you, it’s very much about particular looks that are created before the shoot even happens? In a way, it sounds sort of pre-styled.

CS: It’s both. We overprep. I know that there will be ten pieces that I really want, and it’s those extra twenty bits that you pull that can change the entire story completely from where you thought you were going.

For me, the online is as important, and very much holds the same weight as the print now.

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Garage No. 6 covers: Cara Delevingne & Karlie Kloss / Photo: Nick Knight

Katie Lyall: Sometimes it starts with a concept, rather than fashion, and you sort of find that place where the two come together. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s why you need the wall.

CM: Which goes back to what you guys were saying about being imaginative, rather than journalistic.

CS & KL: Exactly.

CM: Do you prefer being rooted in a particular home, such as i-D, then, or Garage, now, over being an outside contributor to numerous magazines?

CS: Yes, definitely. Having ideas is never our problem. We have lots of ideas. Focusing and doing them is probably the harder part. Being with one regular thing is much, much better.

CM: It’s always an interesting question, because people quite passionately prefer one or the other.

CS: I was a floater for nearly twenty years, which I loved. I enjoyed the freedom and the travel. I was happy. I was always freelance at Vogue, but I never had a desk at that office or anything. Even at i-D, I had a half desk, but I never really went, because the world isn’t like that anymore.

KL: Also, we travel so much. It’s nice to have our space when we go back to London, because we have our clients and the other things we need to focus on. I think it keeps you more creative and fresh.

CM: I think that’s why many people tend to prefer that world of freelance, because of everything you are saying. In many cases, there is that obligatory attendance at the office, which many creative people tend to feel hindered by.

CS: Yeah, you do. I have to say, if i-D had been little closer to where I lived, I would have spent a little more time in the office. But it was on the opposite side of town for me, and, with kids, and their school, and trying to balance it all, it wasn’t really ideal.

The politics of not using a photographer that another magazine is using, to me, is so small-minded. The world is so bloody big, and also, the magazines tend to have very different readerships.

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The Chaos Fashion London office

CM: Understandably so! While we are on the subject of working at a magazine, let’s talk about the wonderful world of politics that seem especially prevalent in the UK.

CS: To me, there shouldn’t be parameters between publications the way there used to be. The politics of not using a photographer that another magazine is using, to me, is so small-minded. The world is so bloody big, and also, the magazines tend to have very different readerships. That’s why I love Lucy Yeomans, because everyone was so on her about Porter, and she opened up The Edit, and headed straight for Carine Roitfeld, straight for Emmanuelle Alt: “I love women. I want to celebrate women. I think all of these women are brilliant. None of them make me feel insecure, because I know what I’m doing. I don’t need to worry that there should be any kind of conflict. Let’s all just be happy, uncomplicated people.” It sounds a bit naïve, but it’s actually not at all. It’s just supremely confident.

CM: I think that, right now, it sounds a little bit exceptional to have that point of view. But, due to the industry being oversaturated, the key to creating relevant work that will become timeless or be remembered in this overproduction of images is really what you’re talking about. You can’t work with such a limiting set of rules.

CS: There are no rules in the world of the internet just yet. Fashion people think in a very old fashioned way still. Much of the time, they don’t think they can go and take control. Not take control, but go to a brand and say, “This is what we want to do. Let us do it for you,” as opposed to, “You give us what you’ve already done, and we’ll support it,” which is great for the brands, but then they are spending all of this money on things that perhaps don’t have a reach to everyone. Because you can’t. The world is too big. If you are a high luxury brand, and you do want to hit those kids, it just doesn’t make sense to have your very beautiful campaign shot by the very, very rarest photographer with the rarest model with the rarest hair and makeup.

KL: Also, the reason you want to be in that magazine, as a brand, is the editorial point of view that they impose on their content. So, to come in and want to put in your very opposite look just doesn’t make any sense, really. You pay to be involved in something cool, and, instead, you end up sticking out like a sore thumb.

CS: Yes, exactly — instead of letting yourself become a part of it. Often, my only answer is, “Yeah, let’s do it.” I don’t like no. Don’t come to me and say, “No, you can’t do it.” Come to me and say, “That way is not working.” [laughs]

KL: I do, every now and then.

CS: Yeah. I know that, when you do, it’s really, truly impossible, but that’s really rare. The other thing of “what’s cool” — that’s a dead end street and one that many people walk down.

CM: What do you mean?

CS: I think that if you’re already worried about what other people are going to think about it, you are already so vastly limited.

I think that if you’re already worried about what other people are going to think about it, you are already so vastly limited.

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Karlie Kloss / Photo: Nick Knight / Garage No.6

CM: That goes back to the point of needing to risk having a point of view in the industry today, because the moment you’re so terribly wrapped up in strategy based on this global machine it’s all become, you lose your way.

CS: What does “cool” mean? What’s cool to one is not cool to another. Is “cool” cool? Can cool be fun? Can cool be down? Up? Sideways? What is actually cool? Cool, at the end of the day, is something that makes other people want to be it. [laughs] Which is really funny, because, obviously, every single person that you show a fashion image is going to have a different reaction. I remember bringing some friends to a Victoria’s Secret show, and, after the show, I asked which of the girls they fancied, and they really liked the ones that came in the middle: “You know, the ones that danced!” I realized they were talking about the dancers, and none of the models. To them, the sexiest girls were not even these incredibly gorgeous supermodels, they were the dancers with the “real bodies.”

CM: Sexy is even more subjective than cool.

CS: Absolutely. There are times when straight, normal blokes have talked about sexy fashion or underwear to me over the past years, and they’ve said, “They are just too slim.” The hair is this sort of sexy kind of bed hair and you have these guys asking, “What’s wrong with their hair?” It’s quite hilarious.

CM: What is your preference, as far as girls?

CS: Personality is absolutely number one. We get attracted to faces, but the best is when you meet someone after you’ve spent months with their card up on your wall, loving their look and you find yourself thinking, “Oh, my God, you have a personality! I’ve actually just fallen even more in love with you.”

CM: I love that you went in that direction, rather than saying that now they’ve come in, they are actually so terribly boring. [laughs]

KL: Which has happened, too!

CS: It does, but not so often, actually. They are just young kids, and they get taken out of their little shell.

CM: The redundant conversation of the high speed turnover of girls is really the culprit behind that glowing inexperience. So few girls are ever even given the chance to figure out their angle or…

CS: …or even that she has an angle! I didn’t know I had an angle until Mario Testino told me I had to smile slightly for the paparazzi and turn slightly. [laughs] As a model? I had absolutely no idea. Then these girls get a little bit arrogant, and the next thing they know, nobody wants them in the shows and they are gone. It’s really tragic and awful, and we are all a part of the machine. But, at the same time, if I hadn’t been that tragic, tortured, pretty unhappy model, then I wouldn’t be where I am today. So, then, I guess it’s a question of what you do with the opportunities that are given to you. What sort of strength you have. Whether you can work out what you want in your life and either take or reject those opportunities.

…it’s a question of what you do with the opportunities that are given to you. What sort of strength you have. Whether you can work out what you want in your life and either take or reject those opportunities.

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Karlie Kloss / Photo: Nick Knight / Garage No.6

CM: That is what’s magical about being in New York. Sure, it’s the most competitive city in the world, but that level of competition is met, if not triumphed, by the amount of opportunity. You just need to decide how you view that.

CS: That’s why we really enjoyed doing that selfie “Style Yourself” shoot for i-D magazine — you had the chance to engage the girls on a whole different level. Despite their being top girls, it took them awhile to figure it out. It was a bit like being let out of jail: “Can I really walk down the road? Can I really choose what I’d like to wear?” It was so sweet and they were so lovely.

CM: What’s nice about that is that it goes back to when the girls had collaborative roles in the shoot, and could say what didn’t look good on them.

CS: That used to make me annoyed, and I just kept thinking back to when I was a model and, actually, if someone is happy in what they are wearing, they are going to be such a better model. Obviously, a really good model can put on something that looks like a dog’s bottom and make it look good, but there are different types of models. There are ones who want to know and be a part of a story, and then there are ones that want to know and they are going to make it work come Hell or high water — and then there are ones that just stand there, and don’t own it, and they probably won’t go very far.

CM: That, again, goes back to that whole age thing, and how long these kids are being put through the school of the industry.

KL: There is such a huge change now, with these girls being able to control their voices. They have Instagram and all of these social media outlets. They have their own personalities. The clothes they wear now matter. Their own style is recognized. Their expression of themselves is important to them now. It’s really nice. They realize that people give a shit now, because of their followers.

CM: How did the move to Garage come up?

CS: As I started at i-D, Garage launched. The same season. I remember seeing the first issue and thinking, “Oh, my God, this is so bloody cool.” Dasha Zhukova had asked me to go to the opening party, but I wasn’t able to make it, because we were on a job, and when I saw that first issue, I loved it and it just seemed to get better and better. I’ve been watching it since she first started it. Then, Terry Jones was leaving i-D, and it was the summertime, and Dasha called me when I was just getting back from Greece in August, and said, “Can we have tea?” She was talking about where fashion was going in the magazine, and whether I had any kind of advice, and I talked to her about it and she just, off hand, said, “I know you’re really happy at i-D and I know you would never be interested in moving over,” to which I responded, “I’ve had a fantastic time at i-D and I love it, but, I have to say, I love your magazine a lot. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I find that I am interested in moving over.” I went and looked at the magazine and sat down with my team and my husband, and we thought, “Yeah, why not? I think it’s a good idea.” I also find Dasha very, very inspiring. We met again to have a proper conversation after having a think about it, and what would be involved and such. Katie Lyall and I went and had a great conversation, and ended up meeting again in New York where we had 500 ideas and it was then that I just thought, “This is very much my cup of tea. I really appreciate that she has no boundaries on what’s possible.”

…there are different types of models. There are ones who want to know and be a part of a story, and then there are ones that want to know and they are going to make it work come Hell or high water — and then there are ones that just stand there, and don’t own it, and they probably won’t go very far.

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Karlie Kloss / Photo: Nick Knight / Garage No.6

CM: Which is always a luxury, for a creative to have someone at the helm of the magazine who’s so open that way. How will it work with you being able to contribute to other magazines?

CS: I am open and free to do what I want to do, with the exception of anything that might clash with it, but I don’t think there really is.

CM: You’re pretty much doing the bulk of this first issue yourself, yeah?

CS: I did three stories. Katie Lyall did one. Katie Grand, Robbie Spencer and Melissa Simpemba did one. Nick Knight, Nadav Kander, Alice Hawkins, Tyrone Lebon, Ben Toms and Phil Poynter [shot fashion for the issue].

CM: Obviously, you were already a huge fan of the magazine, as many other people were. What was the reasoning behind Dasha’s choice to bring you on?

CS: I guess she wanted someone to bounce off, and to be out there with her at the shows. We discovered a rather extraordinary similarity in our approach, taste and love of things in fashion, and all of the things you see in the new issue, we’ve done together.

CM: With such a specific realm within which this magazine exists, what sort of changes were you intent on making going into this new adventure?

CS: I wanted to bring a little bit more fashion to it. The ideas are brilliant. The layouts and art direction are brilliant. Katie Grand and Robbie Spencer — I love their styling a lot. I was so thrilled when they both said yes and actually did it. [laughs]

CM: Is it common that people say yes and don’t do it?

CS: Yeah, it can be hard, depending what time of year you are commissioning. We started at the end of October, early November, and needed people to shoot on quite a tight turnaround time.

CM: Obviously, there is already a lot of excitement from people about working with you on this new project. Will there be a theme to each issue? Or is it just sort of a cohesive edit throughout the issue?

CS: There have been themes, but we decided not to do a theme with this one and see where it went. Somehow, you always get something that kind of creeps through.

I am open and free to do what I want to do, with the exception of anything that might clash with it, but I don’t think there really is.

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Cara Delevingne / Photo: Nick Knight / Garage No.6

CM: People have been talking a lot about cracking down on shooting for publications that cost them money out of pocket. How does it work with Garage?

CS: There are small budgets, and, if you are able, you add to it yourself. Where you have the choice, I would say, “Do it.” This industry is not a regulated industry. It just can’t be — not where there is creativity, for all Health and Safety are trying. If I’m passionate about something, I’m open to putting what money I can into it, and every available hour. When Phil Poynter and I did a school girls portrait story in 1998 for Dazed & Confused, we ended up shooting about 200 models, in the end, and it cost us so much money. I remember thinking I wanted to do this. I couldn’t give a shit, even though we all had to work like dogs to make the money back. In the end, it was the story that caught the attention of Kate Betts at Harper’s Bazaar. I don’t know if this is true — I can’t remember who told me, so it might be untrue — but, apparently she said to my agent at the time that if someone had the energy to put that story together, they are worth meeting. I think it’s an investment. If I had gone, “Hmmm, no. I’m not going to spend money on this.” If you can earn a little bit, in our case, on catalogs and stuff like that, I would highly recommend to put money into a project you deeply believe in. Everything is a risk. The shoot may be crap, but if you don’t take risks in this life, then you can’t expect to win anything.

CM: So true. What role do you see Garage playing in the landscape of magazines?

CS: I think it’s the place where you can do something unexpected, which is what drew me in. She’s breaking the rules. [laughs] This is the beauty to me, as an art-driven fashion magazine. It’s about a lifestyle — there to pique one’s interest and just make you laugh. Think, or simply enjoy the visuals and information. It’s our point of view.

CM: It’s definitely a luxury publication. I think the parameters are far more broad than most magazines. Do the rules about shooting credits still apply?

CS: They do apply, but we are lucky, in that our advertisers are all people that we believe in and that is something we very much want to continue. Our partnerships are all with mutual respect, so that we can maintain integrity.

If I’m passionate about something, I’m open to putting what money I can into it, and every available hour.

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Chaos Fashion’s Charlotte Stockdale & Katie Lyall/ Photo by John Akehurst for Models.com

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Victoria’s Secret Show 2013

November 15th, 2013

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Victoria’s Secret Show 2013

The annual Victoria’s Secret show is more than your typical runway show. VS is a global media moment; with Taylor Swift performing and millions tuning in on television this isn’t your average catwalk – it’s bigger, brasher and designed for mass appeal. The mega-brand has always had its own niche within in the world of fashion – occupying the space where sexy and glitzy converge into Swarovski embellished lingerie and angel wings – but this year they turned it up a notch. 2013’s twist on the now classic holiday treat involves a whole lotta blingy, bubbly fun wrapped up in a pink bow. Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Karlie Kloss, Lindsay Ellingson, Cara Delevingne and more were all front and center, dolled up to perfection and strutting their stuff on the world stage.

Photos by Billy Rood for Models.com
Text by Janelle Okwodu

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Mary Howard

October 29th, 2013

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Mary Howard

The most prolific and respected name in fashion production design is Mary Howard. Howard is a rare talent and for the past two decades she has worked alongside the likes of Avedon, Meisel, Leibovitz, Demarchelier and Testino to create dazzling imagery. Though most are aware of the fact that each photograph is the result of teamwork and careful planning, few realize the sheer amount of work that can go into just one shot. While photographers, models, hair stylists and makeup artists all play a role in creating these portraits, it’s the production designer who provides the depth and detail that make them come alive. With her fine arts background, commitment to research and tireless work ethic, Howard has set the standard for production designers within fashion. Her vision is what can transform an empty Manhattan studio into gilded vintage train car, or chic Parisian drawing room, bringing fantasies to life and creating intricate new worlds.

Given that the ideal fashion image is a seamless final product, Howard’s contributions are a testament to the enduring importance of those working behind the scenes. On the surface, most of the credit for an image’s success is given to the photographer, but you can make or break a photograph with the wrong choice of prop, or a slight change in the set design. The fact that you’ll see Mary Howard’s name attached to some of the most iconic photos of the last 20 years is no accident.

A Models.com interview by Janelle Okwodu
Portrait by Pascal Perich for Models.com
When you’re putting together a set where do you start from? Does it start with talking to the photographer? Does it start with an idea? How does that process begin?

It depends on the job and sometimes it can be the ad agency or it can be the photographer or it can be the editor if it’s for a magazine. Sometimes the information or creative direction is pretty thin – and sometimes it’s very specific, so there’s a whole range of possibilities; each job is very different. But we always build on it and we start to build the world of that look or that idea. I feel like I have to fully understand what that idea is and what the clothes are that we’re showing before I can really dig into it and grasp it mentally. It feels important to intellectually grasp what it is. You know, I think my family still doesn’t understand quite what I do but for me it’s telling a story no matter what. So it is important that I do understand it and that my staff and my crew understand what we’re doing.

Now once you have that all settled do you have sort of a bag full of things that you pull from? Do you go shopping for the individual items – I know it’s different for each individual job but you said something earlier about having these things ready for your trip to Ireland – are you always pulling things?

For example, this trip, which I can’t talk about too specifically because it’s not published yet, it starts with picture research, so I build on that, or I might get some picture research from the photographer, editor, or ad agency but even when I get a pretty solid direction from them I need to expand on it even just for myself. Sometimes I share it with them, sometimes I don’t, depending if I think they’ll be receptive to it. They might not need it, I’m not here to mess with any body’s path in order to do my own job. So, we do extensive amounts of picture research and then what you were just saying, where does this stuff come from… the actual physical stuff- I’m trying to get Irish things locally, which is better than having to put it in a suitcase.

Even up to the minute that I am flying out, I’m going and finding things in stores or prop houses, and at this point I’m pretty familiar with prop houses so I will be adamant about telling myself don’t bother because I know what is there … Nowadays I can just go online, find it, have it ordered and have it in Dublin at my hotel waiting. I’m still a little worried I may not have the things I want, so I’m pulling things from my own stock, that I know will work because it’s already aged, it’s already broken in, already been used.

So do you create these books for each job?

Yes, we call it the binder.. we have a binder for each job.

So what you’re doing really goes beyond set design, it’s like production design.

Yes. The credit at Vogue, for example, had always been set design, up until a few years ago, when I think Phyllis Posnick made a point to give me production design credit, because she felt there was more to it than just the “stuff”, I don’t really like the word props or prop stylist, I’m trying to get people to stop saying that because I think that set designers in my field- print fashion- are doing a lot more than bringing a couple things to a shoot, so I think that’s not fair, I don’t like that word to be used, even on a call sheet I don’t like it, so we are “set designers” and “production designers”… Even credits in a movie, it’ll be the director, the director of photography, then the production designer, maybe it’s the editor then the production designer, it’s right up there. So it’s nice to get a production design credit from Vogue for example because I think that it helps tell people that we’re doing more than just bringing stuff to a set, we are thinking about what a picture is and trying to set it up. Maybe the photographer will say ‘That’s not what I was thinking’, or ‘That’s okay but let’s try this’ at least they can start with something that’s more proactive on our part.

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Prada FW13 | Photographer: Steven Meisel | Model: Malaika Firth

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W Magazine July 2005 | Photographer: Steven Klein | Models: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie

You said that every job is obviously very different, can you tell us a little about working with Avedon? What was his methodology and the process when you two were working together

I worked with him when I was with Marla Weinhoff. I assisted her at the time and I was able to go on set with him several times when she wasn’t available for example, and he was very easy. It’s a little hard to remember how detailed he would get with what he needed, but he did funny little sketches, kind of like this (Mary sketches), but they were very rough- I wish I kept a couple- then we would go off and figure out what he needed and what he was trying to describe and then just bring it to him, and then he would edit it a little right then and there in terms of what he needed. He was very direct and easy about how he did things, it was sort of done in a snap, his pictures.

Speaking of the shoots, now every one’s sort of doing a video shoot, moving more towards film, has it changed what you do?

It still seems it focuses on the print image, which is great, because I think the print is less forgiving in a way, because it has to look… resolved.. is the right word. Not perfect because I don’t like perfect images, but it has to look resolved, and everything has to have a reason to be in the picture. With a moving image, it’s a little more forgiving and the camera moves around a little bit and I don’t worry. In print, you worry about the backsides of things or even the size of things. I do need to embrace the live part of it more, I’m just not sure I like it as much as the print. I think the print is a more rigorous assignment to have to pull off. I think it’s like my painting background which is very studied, you have to again, be serious about what you’re putting in the picture.

I think the print is less forgiving in a way, because it has to look… resolved.. is the right word. Not perfect because I don’t like perfect images, but it has to look resolved, and everything has to have a reason to be in the picture.

You said you don’t like images to look too perfect, how do you go about making the items, even in the shoot it looks like someone’s incredible drawing…

Well this campaign is meant to… look like these people’s real places …. and you know it’s meant to look real, but not, there’s a lot of accessories, and the product has to look good. So if you had a tour it would be a little messier and bit more unexpected, but I like it to look real. It’s not fully in the picture it’s just an image of something. You see that fishbowl and table for example (gesturing to an image), you see the edges of things. The first thing I learned in art school is that edges are important. That was literally the first day. I’ve been thinking of that ever since.

That feels very much like a painting.

I enjoy those kinds of pictures the most that have a painterly quality to them.

For something like this, when you have this sort of, almost broken piano, are you guys sort of distressing these things yourself?

What happened is we got a cheap piano, it might have even been free, because people are giving away pianos now, they don’t want them ‘Get it out of our house, take it’ (laughs) and my two set assistants have these hatchets and hammers and axes and just went at it, to get it to that point… a lot of fun things happen while you’re there because you see what happens just before the story… To even lift the ax was heavy for them so I think that at that point the photographer said let’s just place them and you know the result is really great. That’s when the collaboration happens. It’s incredible. Really, I’m there to support the photographers more than anyone…

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Vogue Italia August 2013 | Photographer: Steven Meisel | Model: Amanda Murphy

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Vogue Italia | Photographer: Steven Meisel | Model: Kristen McMenamy

So with Avedon… he’s always had a very clear idea from the beginning?

It’s so hard to remember now, it’s so long ago, but I think he really was a director even from the beginning. He did have a picture in his head, as opposed to other people who liked to see things brought in. I think he was, even then, trying to get to something he was picturing in his head. It’s my favorite thing because it’s about color, pattern, form… I get the clothes beforehand and sometimes in MY head I try to propose, and again only propose, because it is a collaboration, propose because they can shut it down quite a bit of course, but at least it’s something to start with and bounce off of. In this case, just to go back and see what the next outfit is going to be… and at the last minute give her something to hold, funny elements like that.

How do you interact with the photographer, if you want to like, add a rose? do you propose it, do you jump on it and do it?

I just do it and get yelled at. It’s better that way, I don’t ask, because then they can’t tell.. they don’t know until you do it. Sometimes I’ll bring a lot and then in the end they only use one little thing. It’s so painful. For me, I try not to show the pain as I’m crying in the corner a little bit (laughs). I don’t care, I just want it to be a good picture, but yeah that’s quite tough when that happens and you have all this amazing stuff and you really want to make a look but the photographer has an idea that it should be something else.

Are there favorite items that you have that repeat throughout your work?

Yes, to the point where a photographer will be like ‘I just can’t look at that chair again’ or a piece of fabric that I love. Sometimes if hairpins were left on the floor from the hair stylist, they’ll just be like don’t touch it just leave it, it’s part of the picture, I mean if you make it too clean where you’re like picking lint off of everything…

It’s amazing when you do that amount of work to produce the picture even before it’s shot..

It’s labor intensive, it’s real blue collar work in a way; it’s incredibly physical. Even for me, many years later, though I’m not loading trucks or anything anymore, on set I’m moving a lot of the stuff around… you don’t want people waiting for you. I’ve actually yelled (if I see the makeup artist putting lipstick on the model), I’ll yell out like ‘I could’ve done two sets by now!’ (laughs) …. But it is fashion after all, it’s not about me, it’s about the clothes and the girl.

You know it’s a service industry, so you have to deliver something that will inspire them and fulfill their needs. It’s very visual. A lot of nuts and bolts, about putting the stuff together and really thinking about it.

What would you say are some of your most challenging shoots that you’ve done? The most vigorous?

I think that there are physically challenging ones and mentally challenging ones… the physical ones are hard, because you’ll maybe be on location with this one particular photographer that people can barely even keep up with. But mentally, I think is even harder, if I haven’t intellectually grasped what I’m doing and don’t really get what the direction is from the ad agency, or the photographer, or the editor, you know, that feeling of being lost, and not quite knowing…You know it’s a service industry, so you have to deliver something that will inspire them and fulfill their needs. It’s very visual. A lot of nuts and bolts, about putting the stuff together and really thinking about it. A lot happens when it’s like midnight and I’m trying to go to sleep. I’m trying to just have it cook and incubate a little bit more in my head what I’m supposed to be doing… I guess that’s more challenging… I can’t think of one specifically, they all have their challenges. Sometimes it will be the simplest ones that end up being the one object out of two truckloads of things there. I’ll be sitting outside and not really get what we’re doing, but then when you see it published a couple months later you think ‘Oh that was that, it makes sense now’, and I kind of feel bad that I wasn’t kind of caught up with everybody else. That doesn’t happen so often anymore. It’s always a surprise though. That’s something about image making, you want it to be a surprise but it’s also a little bit painful, it’s kind of like giving birth; you know you don’t know what it’s going to be, even when it happens.

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Vogue Italia February 2013 | Photographer: Steven Meisel | Model: Naomi Campbell
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Louis Vuitton S/S 10 | Photographer: Steven Meisel, Stylist: Marie-Amélie Sauvé, Hair Stylist: Garren, Makeup Artist: Pat McGrath, Model: Lara Stone

How much do you usually bring to the shoot? Is it usually like two truckloads of stuff?

In the olden days we’d bring one truckload, and now it’s starting to be like two and over, and I feel bad about that. I think it needs to be more refined, and my staff will often say.. well you brought this extra stuff… If I’m on a location and it’s 5 flights up, my crew is not so happy about bringing 2 bags of velvets and 20 different pillows up when I don’t really need them. It’s a lot about communication, you really need to communicate a lot about what’s needed, but if it ends up being too much stuff it gets a little overwhelming. But at the same time, it’s also nice to have the stuff there when that piece of fabric or pillow ends up being that perfect thing that you never thought you would need. My coordinators are thinking about the shoot too, and might have a different interpretation; I love having people’s different takes on any given job, because they may have something I didn’t even think of… I like having stuff there but sometimes it gets a little claustrophobic with too much stuff. Even packing this suitcase for the trip abroad I must be really specific. I think, how many Sharpies am I bringing? The tape I’m going to bring… the blankets and little prop things that I’m going to bring… I have to be careful because I’m going be lugging that thing around.

When you’re on location is there a difference between that and dealing with this outside world, or is it kind of the same too when you’re on set?

On set has much more control. It’s hard to say if I prefer one to the other. If I thought about it I’d probably much prefer to be in a studio and in control, but it’s also really inspiring to be on location in some beautiful home, or some shed in the middle of nowhere, or some gorgeous landscape. I mean it’s kind of amazing about the sort of job I have that I can go to all these different places. Sometimes it’s tricky to figure out if some things should be studio or location, because sometimes you have to build this train in a studio, like the interior of a train because you just won’t be able to find a train like that, I mean it copied the one in Paris.

So the entire Vuitton train set was recreated?

Yes that was built from scratch and thrown right in the dumpster after it.

Do you ever keep things from these sets? You said this went right to the dumpster after, do you ever hold on to stuff?

I do for some things in this house I hold on to. In my studio I try to keep a couple backdrops that I’ve painted if I feel like I could recycle it because, the carbon footprint for set design is pretty hideous. There’s actually a group of us who are people in the industry, film industry/fashion set designers, where everyone’s in touch constantly… ‘I’ve got leftover flats, come pick this up tonight’… So you know if we need extra flats the next day we just pick up the flats. (Ed. note: Flats are movable sections used in staging). Extra paint, this and that… we’re making a lot more than we used to. Things have sped up… for online/digital needs, social media needs.

How do you deal with that? You were talking earlier how you have over 300 jobs a year, and there’s so much more to do with digital and all this stuff, how do you sort of keep up with that pace of things?

Well, my company has grown and we have other stylists, if I can’t do the job I like to propose it. We have 7 stylists, in Miami, London, LA… and New York, so that’s how we do so many…

When did you move in to that? and to also having representatives…

Probably like in the past 2 maybe 3 years

It is a very different side of the business, no?

I like growth and I hate turning jobs down. It’s fun because we all sort of collaborate. We all contribute our input to help each of us get through our jobs.

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Vogue Italia October 2009 | Photographer: Steven Meisel | Models: Karlie Kloss, Rianne Ten Haken

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Vogue Italia March 2011 | Photographer: Sabina SchrederSteven Meisel | Model: Saskia de Brauw

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Prada FW08 | Photographer: Steven Meisel| Model: Linda Evangelista
Do you have a warehouse where you store everything?

Yes it’s in the city, it’s a good size… The back is like a set building so we can make flats and these guys spend many late nights there making the last minute things we might need.

Do you have people on staff that will like fix furniture and repair things?

Yes! You’ll see it’s like a little army there. It’s not just what you’ll see in the office; there’s other stuff going on.

I think you mentioned you worked as a costume designer at one point?

I worked in Macy’s special productions which, you know we had to outfit a couple hundred clowns and deal with celebrities in the parade. It was a funny job but it was a good training ground because it HAD to happen Thanksgiving morning, there were no delays. So it was a very calm production office. I really learned a lot. To get into float building you cannot be afraid of big things, like the Statue of Liberty float in the parade and having to dress that many people and then get them undressed and pack all the stuff when the parade’s over.. that whole day of madness.

That’s interesting, it sounds kind of like the best training you could imagine…

The funniest thing is you know, I was taught there- and this happens in the studio all the time- you get a box that you ordered and you think it’s what you ordered but it might not be. I learned at the parade office to open the thing right then, and you might see one thousand of the wrong clown noses. So yes, you need to make sure you have the right noses… that’s a big deal.

You also did some stuff with Saturday Night Live at one point?

I did, after I was at Macy’s, I did some freelance props for SNL with this funny prop builder for a couple of years. I was probably in my late 20s, we did a clay car and funny things like gag props..

It’s also really rigorous, really hot in the Louisiana sun and involves stamina, which I think you really need on many of the fashion shoots. I mean the shoots can be mentally tough, sometimes I think it’s like being in surgery. It’s not a life or death thing though, we have to remind ourselves of that all the time.

It sounds like before you got into fashion you had a lot of training for this sort of, basically everything you’ve done led to this point, everything before kind of contributed to where you are at this point…

I grew up a tennis player, my family’s in the Tennis Hall of Fame. There’s something about tennis that feeds more in to what I do about anything. Tennis, which was all of my childhood and every single day, had a huge influence on my thinking. I think just hitting the ball back to the opponent. That’s my whole childhood with art classes thrown in. Just to stay focused on what you’re doing at every given moment, I think that has helped me with my business quite a bit.

It’s also really rigorous, really hot in the Louisiana sun and involves stamina, which I think you really need on many of the fashion shoots. I mean the shoots can be mentally tough, sometimes I think it’s like being in surgery. It’s not a life or death thing though, we have to remind ourselves of that all the time. You feel like it is, and you’re sweating but the big personalities make it so colorful and so fun, I mean just the combination of people in the room, if you’re a people watcher, which I am, it’s great.

Do you ever do shows?

I’ve worked with Nicolas a lot on his last Balenciaga show. I went to Paris last August where I consulted with them about some of their painting and decorative finishings and stuff.. and when Alber ( Ed. note: Alber Elbaz from Lanvin) comes here for his pre-collection, I’ve worked with him for the past several seasons. But I would love to do more, I don’t know why that’s not, I just think the word’s not out that I do that but I’ll do anything.

The shows are becoming even more theatrical, and they call it a media event… a major media event.

Yes, everyone’s watching it. Sometimes it gets connected to the campaign. Sometimes, we study the shows to kind of see what the art direction is there, and steal little bits and alter things.

A good show can be almost a bit like performance art.

It is! I mean that’s my background…. now I’m kind of sad I don’t do more of those. I do like live events, the film I don’t care about as much, I do love the print because I’m a painter. I like the live event and the whole concept of moving through space and the models moving through space.

There are so many designers whose collections that would be enhanced by having a more theatrical presentation. Most just go for the usual…

Yes, with the usual catwalk. I have to say the creativity in London and Paris is amazing. They make things so beautifully; to have a studio platform made overnight is just the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I’m just astounded by the things I’ve seen.

Being from New Orleans and growing up with Mardi Gras, I loved looking at things, we rode around and saw different colors, it was and still is so inspiring… That’s why I keep doing this work, that’s why we have so many jobs, it’s the thrill of the final image, I think.

Is there any set that you haven’t done, or haven’t gotten the chance to do yet that you would just love to do? Like any sort of idea you haven’t had a chance to use for a shoot, or something that you’d personally love to do that haven’t gotten to yet?

I think that performance art that I showed you might have been the one, because I studied performance art for my MFA and I got to go back to that world where I studied at Rutger’s Mason Gross (School of the Arts).

If I could throw glitter on everything I would, I do it even when it’s not appropriate. Being from New Orleans and growing up with Mardi Gras, I loved looking at things, we rode around and saw different colors, it was and still is so inspiring… That’s why I keep doing this work, that’s why we have so many jobs, it’s the thrill of the final image, I think.

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Mary Howard at Fort Defiance in Red Hook Brooklyn, photo by Pascal Perich for Models.com

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Tom Pecheux

October 8th, 2013

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Tom Pecheux

As one of the most powerful names in beauty, Tom Pecheux is the man behind many of history’s most memorable makeup moments. Princess Diana beaming on the cover of Vanity Fair, the inky black lips of Stefano Pilati’s finest Yves Saint Laurent show, the enigmatic glow on the models of Tom Ford’s Gucci campaigns – just a few of the dynamic images Pecheux had a hand in crafting. While his influence is certainly felt within the pages of glossy magazines and on the runways of New York, Milan and Paris, Pecheux’s most far-reaching role may be that of creative makeup director of iconic cosmetics brand, Estée Lauder. As the force behind color collections and products for the beauty giant, Pecheux quietly shapes the look of millions of women globally – no small feat, but a role Pecheux takes on with modesty and grace. Talking to the makeup artist is like a guided tour through the last few decades of fashion history and a welcome glimpse behind the curtain and into those now legendary moments.

A Models.com Interview by Janelle Okwodu
Portrait by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin
How did your amazing career in makeup artistry begin?

It started when I was 19. I had just moved to Paris from the countryside where I was born and grew up. I was a pastry chef discovering Paris by night and it was a certain time. I went out quite a lot to different parties and clubs. I met this girl and she told me she was going to makeup school and I was like, “What?? Make up school? People do that for a living??” Fashion and makeup was all around, but I didn’t know anything about it. Two months later the idea was still stuck in my head and I ran into the same girl again and asked her all of my questions. I went to see the school and fell in love with it. I talked to my parents about it and they were shocked, but they were amazing parents and said if you need support we are here. I think they could feel that I had a passion. I still love pastry and cooking too; I love the connection it gives to people and friends.

I went to the school and learned a lot. They gave us a list of products to buy- I didn’t know what they were. I was asked to do a demonstration and I dabbed a bit of lipstick on the cheeks with my fingers- I basically did all of the things my mother does when she puts on her makeup! Then the teacher screamed at me and said ‘you can’t do that!’ but it is still one of my favorite tricks for healthy cheeks. It’s a creamy blush! Even though I loved the school I quit after 6 months, because the last three months of the course didn’t interest me – it was mainly on theatrical and special effects makeup and I knew that wasn’t my interest.

How do you think the industry has changed since you’ve started? The beauty industry specifically.

When I started I was at the bottom of the pyramid. When I started there were fewer magazines and I think on my side, it was a passion that became a job. Back then there was no international… every country stayed within itself. There was a connection with the top people, but at the bottom the borders were very intense. It took me a while to grow. I was trying to get appointments to get some work by testing girls with modeling agencies. Sometimes models are not that beautiful but with hair and makeup they are amazing. At the time testing was very little money- just enough to buy makeup products. I climbed a little bit and was able to work. People started asking me to do editorials.

My dad was a wine maker and I had never met anyone from fashion. I was far too shy- but then you meet one person and they introduce you to a young photographer, or model and you can connect with another person and that’s how you build relationships. I started working with a little French magazine and this and that.

The big change was the one day I worked with Mario Testino and Carine Roitfeld together. Between those two (and I won’t say which) one of them didn’t want to work with me, and the other convinced him or her. The day was amazing. From that day on, and for 18 years, we worked pretty much every day together.

The big change was the one day I worked with Mario Testino and Carine Roitfeld together. Between those two (and I won’t say which) one of them didn’t want to work with me, and the other convinced him or her. The day was amazing. From that day on, and for 18 years, we worked pretty much every day together. It was incredible. Mario and Carine have become very dear friends of mine over the years. I also met Orlando Pita. It was basically the four of us working together, with Mario and Carine and Orlando. I then left Paris and flew over in the cheapest jet and slept on couches in NYC with friends not in the business. That’s how I started in America. In Paris everything was so bourgeois then and that is not a compliment. In NYC everything was ON, and London was heroin chic.

We came up with this girl that was healthy and a little bit more sweet in spirit. Mario was shooting them with a glow- curious but not free. Carine was doing her magic with the fashion and we started a new trend. Nobody had done anything like it: A girl that was cool and easygoing, having fun with her body and enjoying life. Not stiff in front of the camera. That look went on to become all of the Gucci campaigns; Hermes and Burberry campaigns as well. Amber Valletta, Kristen McMenamy, Shalom Harlow, Kate Moss and Stella Tennant and that generation… it was just a big,big bang, but that’s what everybody wanted and we were shooting pretty much every campaign. That’s when I first started consulting for L’Oréal in France.

We were working every single day and we were had huge fights sometimes, but we had a connection and there was no ego with each other. We were working as a team; we were sharing things and saying yes and no to each other. If one of the people on the team didn’t like the idea we would tell that to each other and work at it until we found out something that everybody liked.

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British Vogue | Photographer – Mario Testino | Stylist – Lucinda Chambers | Hair – Sam McKnight | Model – Catherine McNeil

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Vogue Paris | Photographer – Mario Sorrenti | Model – Sasha Pivovarova

That’s awesome that everybody has input and feels open enough to share with each other.

Yes. That dynamic is something that I miss. Sometimes you arrive on set now and everything has been plotted out in meetings and there is no room for change. There is not always room for trying something outside of the box, no time to take a little road only you know; everybody is on this big highway. (laughs)

That’s the truth. Things are very decided by committee nowadays.

But you know, I have no regrets. I’m very lucky. My friends from the beginning, we don’t work EVERY day together anymore, but we still do work together and otherwise speak and have dinner when we are not.

It’s always good to have a rapport with someone to sort of be able to know that they trust your input as well.

Yes and you know I don’t mind when people say ‘Well you know what, maybe the purple eye shadow… no it’s not a good idea’ and I’m like “yes, sure” but I’m going to show you the purple anyway and we can move to another color or to no color, that works best. That is how it happened you know a couple of years ago when I did the black lipstick for the Yves Saint Laurent show. Stefano (Pilati) said ‘Well, we have to do something around our lip color but I don’t know which one’. And straight away I voted for the black. He liked it but was worried at the same time and right before the show called me and was like ‘What do you think? Should we try any other color?’ Red is going to look too abstract. Blue’s are whatever… pink is going to look tacky and so… black. And he goes ‘Yes, okay you’re right, let’s do that tomorrow’. These are the kind of conversations that happen. Sometimes we are insecure when we’re creating images, we have to put all of this on the table. That’s why it’s important to know the people you’re interacting with. You can take your insecurity and become secure and that way you do the best job.

And it’s wonderful to hear the story behind that show because I always remember the hair and makeup and that was such a striking look on the runway.

It’s definitely a process but it’s the most exciting process. As much as I love to do fashion shoots and things like that, my favorite thing to do are still shows. I love that energy of putting something together, something where somebody has been working on it for months. So it’s amazing for us to arrive, discover the connection, find the glamour or idea of whomever I’m working with. What makeup are we going to do, what hair are we going to do? It is a puzzle- the makeup has to fit with the hair, the hair has to fit with the makeup, and those work to fit with the clothing and with the choice of the models and the runway and we have to communicate. We look at all of those details and that’s how we create the image of the show, and it’s fun to be part of it.

As much as I love to do fashion shoots and things like that, my favorite thing to do are still shows. I love that energy of putting something together, something where somebody has been working on it for months. So it’s amazing for us to arrive, discover the connection, find the glamour or idea of whomever I’m working with.

You mentioned your first consultancy earlier, how does something like that work? Do you come to them with ideas, do you help them choose colors? How does that come together?

Well, usually when a company requests me to work with them, they want me to bring in, I believe, my knowledge. It’s been pretty much the same with every company that I worked with, so far. It’s becoming a little bit of a multi-function in a sense, where I look at the main line, the main product, the image and I look at the face of the company. I look at all that, and I will work on the beauty shoot for the campaign, I will look at all the products to see which product I like and which product I don’t like, what picture I like, what picture I don’t like. So, I do a little bit of a checking in… what is there and what is good and what is not good… since you need to be definitely the best you can be, I think the key to work is always to remember that I am not an artist, I’m not a painter, working by myself in my little studio where I paint whatever I want. I am always working with someone or for someone and to start it is with the face of the model, so, you need to have respect for those different kinds of people.

When I’m working with Estée Lauder or when I work with L’Oreal, it’s different. It’s a different mentality, a different market, a different face between Constance and Arizona, between Liu Wen and Joan Smalls; when we worked on Estée Lauder as you know Hilary Rhoda or Caroline Murphy. It’s beauty yet different personalities, and each one needs to be treated separately. It’s the same thing when we are creating and working on a show, we have those girls; 30 models are coming to do the show, inside the group of 30 girls there are brunettes, blondes, fair skin, dark skin, Asian skin; you have a girl with big eyes, a girl who has small eyes, big lips/small lips, and all of those girls need to fit the same makeup, and that’s what I learned through the years that’s what I’m trying to teach my assistants – you need to adapt each makeup look to each girl. That is really my main goal. Putting my ego on the side, or not to appear too much because at the end of the day, the show isn’t mine. I’m proud of the show but the show is the designers. The product I’m creating isn’t mine they are for a designer. So every time I need to create, I’m thinking of that, that it’s not for my ego, it’s for other people.

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Ray of Light album promotional photo | Photographer – Mario Testino | Madonna

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Vogue Paris | Photographer – Patrick Demarchelier | Stylist – Carine Roitfeld | Model – Natalia Vodianova

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Gucci | Photographer – Mario Testino | Stylist – Carine Roitfeld | Models – Carmen Kass,Louise Pedersen

It’s very interesting to hear that side of things. When it comes to beauty advice, what do you consider the basis of good makeup?

For me the technique is very simple, you know, you have two types of products. You have the type of product that you want to use, you need to use, but you don’t want the product to be seen. You don’t want anyone to say to you ‘Oh my god I love your foundation’ you want people to say ‘Oh my gosh you have gorgeous skin, what are you doing?’ When people say ‘You look so good, you look so well rested, so healthy what are you doing? Are you just getting back from vacation? Are you in love? I think you look so good!’

Concealer is another product that you need to use very lightly, sometimes when people have heavy bags under their eyes they put too much concealer, and it’s kind of wrong because so many people are going to look at them like ‘oh my, look at this one- she’s wearing a lot of concealer… she must have very heavy bags under that concealer’. So use just enough concealer so that you may still see a little bit of bags but people will not see the concealer and people will think ‘oh, well maybe she’s a little bit tired, you know, somebody that may be working hard’. It works, it’s better than ‘oh my god look at those heavy bags under that heavy concealer’. It’s better to look not at 100% than looking all wrong.

After, you have all of the makeup products from eye shadow, to lipstick to everything else that just brings… what I like to call… an upgrade. That’s when you don’t really see the makeup but it looks like the makeup you use is all very gentle and that gives you a wonderful upgrade to your face. That’s when you need to be confident with yourself… you need to like yourself… you are not hiding anything. I think that’s what women should do every morning: bring an upgrade, and when you have brought that upgrade to your face, I think it depends on individuality, that’s where people should start with eventually playing with color.

Eyeshadow, lipstick, liner, these are for me, like the little black dress with accessory. If you put the little black dress with the flat shoes or the big high heel shoes, the attitude isn’t the same… if you don’t put any belt or if you put a shoe with a belt or big leather belt, it changes the meaning of the dress. I think that’s what lipstick and powerful makeup does for you. Sometimes it’s great to use a lipstick that matches your personality, or an eye shadow, to make yourself up, to bring fantasy or bring sexiness or all those things.

In a way that is why I say it’s very important to have respect for the people you are working on, because you know if you make those people look good, you also make them feel good. I think when you don’t feel good, you can’t look good.

…it’s very important to have respect for the people you are working on, because you know if you make those people look good, you also make them feel good. I think when you don’t feel good, you can’t look good.

Now what would you say are some of your personal favorite things that you’ve worked on or shows that you’ve done or looks that you created over the years… things you just look back on and you love?

I’ve been so lucky, there are so many things that I do love. Marni is one of my favorites, I’ve done every single show since they started except one, but I did work on every show! I love the entire team and working with them to create an image each season is amazing. The show is in Milan and the call time is 6 AM. People arrive exhausted, but guess what… nobody is complaining! Everybody has a big smile and that tells you everything. It’s working. People are coming back and with joy instead of ‘dammit I have to wake up at 5 to be there at 6′ and you know it’s a true, true pleasure. It’s all about healthiness and looking your best; the girls are totally into it. They love it… they love to look beautiful you know?

For me working with this many companies is amazing because I guess from my background of cooking, I always have mixed products and textures together to get the right texture of the right color… I can create my color, so that’s why I keep my makeup kit very small because I know that if I mix the blue and the yellow it creates a green and if I add a little bit of red with maroon lipstick I’ll create a deep red lipstick so if I add a little bit of pink it’ll be more fuchsia or violet… so you always have the right product, the right color you want, and working with a big company, that’s what they ask me to do…. to create color, to create texture…. I would never do something that I don’t like to do. I created, to my eyes, the perfect red lipstick.

That’s amazing. I think people search for years for that one, so to have the ability to create it…

Yeah. It’s amazing to work with such a huge company, like Estée Lauder…. It’s amazing to have such a huge company, that means so much to so many women, not only in America, but all around the world, give you the right and will trust you to do it. It feels very, very good.

kate_cropped

Vogue Paris | Photographer – Mario Testino | Stylist – Sarajane Hoare | Hair – Orlando Pita | Model – Kate Moss

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Vogue Japan | Photographer – Hedi Slimane | Stylist – George Cortina | Hair – Orlando Pita | Model – Karlie Kloss
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Allure Magazine | Photographer – Mario Testino | Model – Carmen Kass

It’s wonderful and what you’ve done there has been absolutely amazing, I mean some of the new products that have come out have been absolutely beautiful.

Why thank you! I do love perfect skin, healthy skin. When I work on the makeup for a fashion show I’m thinking of the blondest and fairest skin, to the darkest hair and darkest skin. When I create for Estée Lauder I like to think that we are in the same world, but people with different skin and different color and different character… there’s not one product to fit all of those women. Someone who would never wear red lipstick, well it’s fine, we have maroon color or pink color, or we have every other color you want, and my job is not to impose anything on anyone. It’s really to propose when I create at Estée Lauder; I like to create things that I love that are a proposal. If you don’t like this brand new lipstick then don’t buy it. Buy things you love.

That’s a good way to approach it because some people are so much about pushing the new, latest thing.

Well I think it’s also good to push you know; you see so many women who find “their” look when they are 20 or 25 and 25 years later they’re still wearing the same look.

Very true.

That doesn’t look good. Times change, your face has changed, your clothes have changed, your weight may have changed, your hair color may have changed, you can’t be wearing the same makeup that you have been wearing for the last 25 years. That does not look good at all.

People definitely can get stuck in a rut and start to look too dated.

Yes. Especially today with the Internet and how fast everything changes. You look at models.com, you can learn very quickly that your look has become dated! As much as you need to get your computer updated every so often, you need to refresh your makeup.

TomPecheux18

V Magazine | Photographer – Regan Cameron | Model – Gisele Bundchen

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

Document #2 – Exclusive Preview

February 24th, 2013


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Document Journal #2 – Exclusive Preview Pt.1

With its first edition‘s intelligent commentary on culture, art and fashion, Document Journal offered a powerful and fresh take on what a magazine can be, and this second issue is sure to cement its position as the best read in fashion. Each issue is filled with impressive visual content, but unlike many magazines beautiful editorials aren’t all Document has to offer. Editors Nick Vogelson and James Valeri continue their exploration of collaborations between artists, authors and intellectuals. This must-view edition of which this is but a small sample, includes photographer Mario Testino talking about his art collection on one page and a thoughtful profile of PS1 founder Alanna Heiss on the next, and Rick Owens interviewing his personal muse, groundbreaking performance artist Kembra Pfahler, in a story that provides insights into both personalities. Document also catches up with Larry Clark on the eve of Kids’ 20th Anniversary, enlisting the film’s star fashion legend, Chloë Sevigny to interview.

On the fashion side the four covers with stars Karlie Kloss, Jamie Bochert and Lindsey Wixson are looking stellar. Inside new editorials from of the moment names like Jack Pierson, Maripol, Catherine Servel and Will Davidson are simply stunning. Photographers Bela Borsodi and Daniel Sannwald push visual boundaries with their work using unusual techniques. Have an exclusive first look at the issue only in MDX.

Cover photos:

Collaboration between Jamie Bochert, artist Bjarne Melgaard art directing, Proenza Schouler (casting and clothing), and photographer Cedric Buchet. Fashion Editor Sabina Schreder. Hair stylist Charlie Taylor. Makeup Pep Gay.

Karlie Kloss by Collier Schorr Fashion Director James Valeri. Hair stylist Holli Smith. Makeup Jeanine Lobell

Karlie Kloss by Daniel Jackson Fashion Editor Benjamin Bruno. Hair stylist Didier Malige. Makeup Francelle

Lindsey Wixson by Paul Wetherell Fashion Director James Valeri. Hair stylist Kevin Ryan. Makeup Pep Gay

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Spencer Sweeney: A Self-portrait for Document / Curated By Parinaz Mogadassi

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Photographer Bela Borsodi | Models Patricia van der Vliet, Katlin Aas @ Marilyn | Fashion Editor: Sabina Schreder

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Karlie Kloss | Photographer Collier Schorr | Fashion Director James Valeri


Film by Micah Perta & Ana Sanchez | Photographer Bela Borsodi | Models Patricia van der Vliet, Katlin Aas @ Marilyn | Music Zebra Katz

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Ashleigh Good @ Ford | Photographer: Daniel Sannwald (New York: Management + Artists, Paris: Management + Artists) | Fashion Director: James Valeri

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Julia by Maripol | Fashion editor Tom Van Dorpe (New York: Management + Artists, Paris: Management + Artists)

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Photographer Jack Pierson | Fashion Editor Victoria Bartlett (Paris: Management + Artists, New York: Management + Artists)

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Marie Piovesan by Photographer Maciek Kobielski | Fashion editor Joanne Blades

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Artist Bjarne Melgaard

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Posted in Cover story, Exclusives, Magazine Previews | 12 Comments »

Self Service n°37 guest-edited by Charlotte Casiraghi

September 24th, 2012

self service n°37 guest-edited by Charlotte Casiraghi – Teaser preview

 
models.com presents an exclusive teaser of Self Service n°37 guest-edited by Charlotte Casiraghi

Cover images:
Charlotte Casiraghi photographed by Mario Sorrenti
Styling by Suzanne Koller
Hair by Jimmy Paul
Makeup by Aaron de Mey

Photos courtesy of Self Service for models.com


Karlie Kloss photographed and styled by Venetia Scott | Hair by Sebastien Richard | Makeup by Sharon Dowsett


Lara Stone photographed by Alasdair McLellan | Styling by Suzanne Koller | Hair by Anthony Turner | Makeup by Lucia Pica


Hilary Rhoda, Malgosia Bela, Sigrid Agren, Daphne Groeneveld photographed by Ezra Petronio | Styling by Suzanne Koller | Hair by Sebastien Richard | Makeup by Marion Robine

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Posted in Cover story, Exclusives, Magazine Previews | 17 Comments »

Last days in Paris

June 21st, 2012

Last days in Paris

Paris is abuzz with life and energy during fashion week and no one experiences it quite like the models who walk the shows. After four weeks of traveling around the world and bringing the finest designs to life the girls are ready for one last hurrah and the calm the follows the storm. Photographer Daniella Rech captured the season’s most fashionable stars – Karlie, Magdalena, Daphne, Daria and more – during those precious minutes of downtime between shows. Enjoy this candid and strikingly beautiful look into the moments behind the glamour.

Photos by Daniella Rech

Daria Strokous
Daphne Groeneveld
Jacquelyn Jablonski
Ginta Lapina
Emily Baker
Ashley Smith
Magdalena Frackowiak
Karlie Kloss
Rose Smith
Ruby Aldridge

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Posted in Fashion, Fashion Week | 35 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.

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

Victoria’s Secret 2011

November 10th, 2011

VS angels can’t help but be sexy, the moment the music starts and the lights go on they are there to bring good ol’ fashioned seductiveness back to the runways. Before that all happens though, there is the calm before the storm. The moments when they’re just carefree girls getting ready to do the one show that lets them share their beauty with millions of viewers. For a glimpse at what happens before the wings come on, MDC takes you behind the scenes of the world’s biggest show.

Photos & Video by Billy RoodFig Photos

Casting by John Pfeiffer
Hair by Orlando Pita
Makeup by Tom Pecheux

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Posted in Videos, Womenswear | 81 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.

CAST (IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE)
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

Rodarte
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

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

Viktor & Rolf Sneak Peek S/S 2012

October 2nd, 2011

An exclusive models.com sneak peek straight from the Viktor & Rolf studio, at the Spring/Summer 2012 collection fittings.

See the complete Viktor & Rolf Spring/Summer 2012 coverage here

Viktor & Rolf
Spring/Summer 2012

Photos & Animation: Stephan Moskovic
Executive Producer: Andrew Weir for ACW

With a very very special thanks to:
Karlie Kloss
Frida Gustavsson
Viktor & Rolf

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Marc by Marc Jacobs S/S 2012

September 13th, 2011

Little Marc is looking very grown up this season. Though the kilted designer never fails to infuse his diffusion line with preppy touches, spring saw Jacobs in a minimalist mood. Save the segment featuring obligatory plaids and prints, the collection focused on strong colors and sharp cuts. Youthful doesn’t have to mean ostentatious and Jacobs’ finest moments were those that involved subtlety; a hint of orange peaking out from a slate macintosh, a ruffle accentuating the waist; simple touches crafted with a deft hand. The addition of these elements (and that killer price point) is what keeps Jacobs at the top of the heap.

Marc by Marc Jacobs
Spring/Summer 2012

Photos: Stephan Moskovic
Text: Janelle Okwodu

Casting Director: Michelle Lee
Hair: Guido Palau
Makeup: Dick Page
Production: KCD

1. Karolina Waz
2. Erik Andersson (not pictured)
3. Nimue Smit
4. Gertrud Hegelund
5. Victor Nylander
6. Kate King
7. Baptiste Radufe (not pictured)
8. Mirte Maas
9. Fei Fei Sun (not pictured)
10. Bette Franke (not pictured)
11. Klaus Vaivars
12. Jac Jagaciak (not pictured)
13. Karlie Kloss
14. Julia Nobis (not pictured)
15. Lais Ribeiro
16. Henry Pedro Wright
17. Maud Welzen (not pictured)
18. Hind Sahli
19. David Hlinka
20. Lindsey Wixson
21. Valerija Sestic
22. Hailey Clauson
23. Bruce Machado
24. Anais Pouliot (not pictured)
25. Jackson Rado (not pictured)
26. Nyasha Matonhodze
27. Marike Le Roux (not pictured)
28. Andrey Smidl
29. Juju Ivanyuk (not pictured)
30. Tian Yi
31. Sara Blomqvist
32. Jourdan Dunn
33. Abiah Hostvedt
34. Shena Moulton
35. Daphne Groeneveld
36. Jessica Clarke (not pictured)
37. Milo Spijkers
38. Constance Jablonski
39. Ruby Aldridge
40. Frida Gustavsson (not pictured)
41. Johnny George (not pictured)
42. Colinne Michaelis
43. Josephine Skriver
44. Daria Strokous
45. Anthon Wellsjo (not pictured)
46. Julia Frauche (not pictured)
47. Kate Kosushkina (not pictured)
48. Yannick Abrath
49. Zuzanna Bijoch

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Posted in Collections, Cover story, Fashion, Fashion Week, Menswear, Womenswear | 5 Comments »

Girls of Autumn/Winter 2011 Fashion Week

March 10th, 2011

Sorry, this video is currently unavailable

To celebrate the close of the Autumn/Winter 2011 season we have a very special and fun treat. We are very excited to present an exclusive collaboration between models.com and video director Justin Wu with the very kind support of LaneCrawford.com.

models.com and Justin Wu take you on a whirlwind tour of fashion week in Milan and Paris, from castings to backstage, the shows and the models off-duty, lip-synched to the classic fave of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes off of You’!

Video directed by Justin Wu (see more of Justin’s videos at www.jwuvideo.com)

Cover photo: Marija Vujovic, Natasha Poly and Candice Swanepoel backstage at Dolce & Gabbana

Models in order of appearance in the video:
Natalia Osikova (Why Not, VNY)
Martha Streck
Magdalena Frackowiak
Tali Lennox
Constance Jablonski
Hailey Clauson
Josephine Skriver
Zuzanna Bijoch
Emily Blunt
Alessandra C (Why Not)
Julija Steponaviciute
Melodie Monrose
Samantha Gradoville
Carola Remer
Caroline Brasch Nielsen
Suzie Bird
Debora Muller
Julia Saner
Liu Wen
Alessandra Ambrosio
Candice Swanepoel
Karlie Kloss
Lindsay Lullman
Jacquelyn Jablonski
Joan Smalls
Mirte Maas
Natasha Poly
Irina Kulikova
Marija Vujovic
Hanne Gaby Odiele
Laura McCone
Maud Welzen
Hildie Gifstad
Flaviana Matata
Anja Rubik
Daphne Groeneveld
Myf Shepherd
Jourdan Dunn
Hanna Samokhina

A very very big thanks to Justin Wu, all the models, their agencies and LaneCrawford.com who have made this possible. To see Behind-the-scenes pictures, and learn more about Justin Wu, please go to www.lanecrawford.com




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Posted in Cover story, Exclusives, Fashion, Fashion Week, Features | 78 Comments »

Rodarte Fall/Winter 2011

February 16th, 2011

Rodarte kicks things into high gear with their fall collection. Citing Terrence Malick’s influential film, Days of Heaven for a prairie and plains themed show filled with homespun charm. Mixing literal and arcane references within their designs, the sisters Mulleavy featured wheat field prints and nubby knits with geometric patterns. The muted color palette and clean cuts, hinted at a return to basics after several seasons of high concept excess. Of course fans of flourish will never find themselves disappointed at a Rodarte showing; a pair of sequined red skirts added a touch of playful girlishness into the mix, while sky high Kirkwoods embellished with tribal prints seem destined to become editorial favorites. All in all the show marked another in a long line of triumphs for two of America’s most influential young designers.
Rodarte
Fall/Winter 2011

Photos: Stephan Moskovic
Text: Janelle Okwodu

Casting director: Jennifer Venditti
Hair: Odile Gilbert

Rodarte
Fall/Winter 2011

Casting director: Jennifer Venditti
Hair: Odile Gilbert

models (in order of appearance above):
Caroline Trentini
Melissa Johannsen
Linnea Regnander
Anne-Sophie Monrad
Aline Weber
Antonella Graef
Edita Vilkeviciute
Kamila Filipcikova
Madisyn Ritland
Codie Young
Patricia van der Vliet
Nimue Smit
Gwen Loos
Iselin Steiro
Jourdan Dunn
Karlie Kloss
Fei Fei Sun
Agnete Hegelund
Maryna Linchuk

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Posted in Cover story, Fashion, Fashion Week | 19 Comments »

Altuzarra Fall/Winter 2011

February 13th, 2011

After last season’s exercise in minimalist severity, Joseph Altuzarra lightens up for fall. Eschewing monochromatic color palates and structured separates in favor of flowing silhouettes and chunky parkas, Altuzarra hit all the right notes with his latest collection. Inspired by innate style and the sort of girls who roll out of bed looking pristine (Kate Moss was an inspiration) each look aims for effortlessness. While comparisons to the work of Marc Jacobs during his grunge phase are sure to abound, this isn’t a rehash. The sophistication of the color palette, combined with the sexiness of the sheer blouses and body conscious dresses makes for an adult twist on grunge’s youthful standards. Throw in luxurious materials like tweed, fur and satin, expertly layered by stylist Melanie Huynh and you have the makings of a zeitgeist moment; 2011, this is your look.

Joseph Altuzarra
Fall/Winter 2011

Photos: Stephan Moskovic
Text: Janelle Okwodu

Stylist: Melanie Huynh
Casting director: Kannon Rajah
Makeup: Tom Pecheux
Hair: Paul Hanlon

Joseph Altuzarra
Fall/Winter 2011

models:
Karmen Pedaru
Hailey Clauson
Karolina Kurkova
Arizona Muse
Toni Garrn
Samantha Gradoville
Juju Ivanyuk
Frida Gustavsson
Karlie Kloss
Melissa Tammerijn
Hanne Gaby Odiele
Fei Fei Sun
Edita Vilkeviciute
Jac Jagaciak
Kori Richardson
Ashley Smith
Daria Strokous
Britt Maren
Constance Jablonski
Sigrid Agren
Aymeline Valade
Kasia Struss
Caroline Brasch Nielsen

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Posted in Cover story, Fashion, Fashion Week | 5 Comments »