Evelien Joos, the photo director of CR Fashion Book, took some time to sit and discuss with us the process of casting and enthusiastically obsess over her current choicest models; akin to asking a cinephile their favorite flick–the answer is not so simple. For Evelien, casting is just one of the principal pieces of a good story. Find out who’s on her list of the industry’s creative stand-outs and what makes a magazine interesting.
Photo Steven Yatsko for models.com
What attracted you to CR Fashion Book?
I like working for a magazine. I worked at an agency years ago, but you are quite limited in what you do there. You only work with a few artists and have to make sure they do well in their career, which I find so stressful. At a magazine, you work on a variety of things, you are on the pulse of all the new trends, work with models, musicians, stylists, photographers, actors, editors, agents. You don’t get bored easily. There is always something else to work on. Especially in the smaller independent magazines. At CR, I liked that it was a familiar group of people I was going to work with again. I knew them all from V so it was nice to go back to familiar grounds–and of course, I wanted to work with Carine. She is an icon and a great person to work for.
You’re doing a lot of casting as well–that was also something you were doing in the past?
Yes indeed. Through my sister I got into casting. I always helped Natalie Joos on her castings in NYC during Fashion Week. I never took it as a full time job though. I like the whole aspect of a shoot. Finding photographers, finding models, getting hair and makeup and studios. I love that I can talk to many people in each different aspect of this industry. It makes it more interesting. I do love casting though. I like finding models that fit within a theme rather than looking for a model because of her name. It’s more fun that way. And it’s definitely more fun if the people you work with listen to you and want to go for it. Take a risk. Otherwise we always end up looking at the same faces and that gets very boring.
Do you have any favorite models from this last season or in some in general?
Newer girls: Lineisy Montero! I just worked with Alix Angjeli at Major and she is an amazing model. Antonia Wilson is super cool. Also Tamy Glauser! Laura James, whom I found on the street while she was waiting to start her internship. She is very beautiful. Sophia Ahrens is to me the new addition to the British girls. She is smart, carries herself so well, is optimistic, beautiful–regal almost. I hope she gets the next Burberry campaign. And Laura Julie! I waited to see this girl for 6 months! Last season in September I remember she didn’t come for NYFW, then she wasn’t in London and didn’t go to Milan. And I didn’t go to Paris. When I finally saw her in New York this February I was very happy. What a cool girl! I love also Hayett McCarthy. And in general I like Candice Huffine, Liu Wen, Ashleigh Good (love her dark hair!), Anna Ewers, Lindsey Wixson, Lara Stone, Daria Werbowy, Sasha Pivovarova and Gemma Ward. In the very early 2000’s I loved Carmen Kass, Frankie Rayder, Kate Moss and Natalia Vodianova. I always loved models! There are so many girls I like; it’s hard to start naming them. I could name a 100 more!
Any models who haven’t broke out yet or is your secret you can’t share?
Barbara Gerasimova. I finally booked her for an online shoot we did for CR and she is amazing! She was stuck in Russia for a while, so I couldn’t book her for anything, until finally in January she was in Paris. She is amazing. And Poppy Okotcha at Select. We booked her for a shoot in January. I would have loved seeing her do shows!
What is it that gives a model that extra “something”?
You mostly need to have it all–hah! The hair. The body. The face. The personality. For me a lot of times that extra something you know when the girl walks in and you meet her. I like to meet the models. I want to talk to them. See how they move, how they dress, how they carry themselves. I don’t like model books. I want digitals and I need to meet them and I like to take my own polaroids. During those big pre castings for the shows it’s weird, how in a group of a 300 models there is one girl that you are WOW about. It’s when you see that perfection all of a sudden.
This last season was a big one for newcomers. Why do you think that was? And is there any room for longevity?
We live in a time where yesterday is old news and we want more and newer and unseen and undiscovered. To the point where there is no more top models anymore actually. It’s all about the next new model. We want things faster, newer and we also want to be the first person to discover a model and launch their career. Which is quite a nice feeling when that actually happens!
Is this partially a product of social media?
I think there are different categories with that. With a new runway model, usually these girls have like 300 followers on their Instagram when they start on the runway. Nobody cares really what their Instagram looks like. Even better when nobody knows them, I would say! It’s maybe when they become more famous and they have a couple of seasons working already that social media can count. It shows how popular they have become and in a way how well they evolved in this industry. For a commercial client, it will help for sure if a girl has a ton of followers. It sells their brand. And then you have the models that are the kids of some famous person. For them, social media is how they become famous mostly. I will play with that as well if I am looking for that type of model for that type of client or for that type of shoot. Just depends what you are casting for. But in general, I don’t need an Instagram account to book someone.
What happens when Instagram goes away (will it?)?
It will not go away. It can make a job easier if you are trying to find someone new. I have found a boy on Instagram before, showed to Carine, and we booked him. His name is Maarten Convens. We shot him for CR 6.
What about emerging creatives? Who are some photographers, stylists, designers and talent you think we ought to be paying attention to?
The designer Vetements! It’s exciting, it’s cool, you want every piece and it’s unpretentious. I am a big fan. For photographers: Johnny Dufort, Sloan Laurits, Theo Sion, Marili Andre, Amanda Camenisch, Gareth McConnell and Lea Colombo. For stylists: Raphael Hirsch, Max Pearmain, Ben Perreira, Constance Feral, Britt Mccamey, Christina Sulpizio and Haley Wollens. And I love my friends Tom Van Dorpe, Zara Zachrisson and Elin Svahn, of course. They are amazing talent.
What makes an interesting publication these days?
A publication that doesn’t only use their advertisers in such a way it looks like a lookbook for the brands. A publication that doens’t try to be doing what everyone else is doing and uses new and unseen photographers and models, but mixed in with some big names too! It should be both and they should get the freedom to create something without any restrictions.
What makes a particular body of work standout?
The choice in models and talent is super important. Who you are shooting. Understand what model works and I don’t mean you can only shoot top models. Just find the right person for your story. It’s also important shooting with the thought that you don’t need to please an advertiser or a brand. I don’t like “credit catch” shoots. You can tell immediately. You should be shooting for the sake of creating cool and amazing images. That’s when the work becomes really good. When you almost don’t have to use clothes or brands or a famous face to make a point!
Is it better to be modern or classic?
The now version of classic. It all comes back to the classics. What’s modern is what’s on trend and now, and what’s on trend and now is gone yesterday. So better to stick to the classics. Lasts longer.
Dream team for an editorial?
Carine Roitfeld and Steven Meisel.
Have you ever held any odd jobs?
I worked at a chocolate shop in Belgium for 6 months. And I worked at a modeling agency as an agent for 4 months… I ran away! It’s not my world. That was an odd job for me.
If you weren’t in this industry what do you think you would you be doing?
When I was 7 years old, I loved going to the dentist and I wanted to be a dentist. I also always loved acting and I was pretty good at it.
Last question: what’s the future like?
Getting married! I am taking pictures and we are slowly on our way to becoming a photo duo maybe...