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Hedi Slimane takes great photographs. Period. I love the play on transparency here. The subject of a lot of his photographic work is skinny teenage boys. Whatever floats ton boat, Hedi. Actually, I think hair is the strongest link if you look closely and bypass lazy generalizations. It acts almost as a veil around his subjects. Subtle but integral to the image_

Funny how things slot into place. The penultimate post was a photograph of an accidental “8” formed by electrical cables, the result of stage designers preparing for a show at the Hackney Empire in London. “8“. Model size. “8“. Hourglass. Bombshell. Perfect symmetry. Goddess. “8”. Past tense of the verb to eat.

It brings me round nicely to some articles I’ve been reading over the weekend. I came across a post on the New York Times blog that referred to a recent shoot in V Magazine where “real”, womanly girls – how paradoxical does that sound – modelled in a series of shoots. The Size Debate has been raging on for a while now and that’s a good thing – it needs to be discussed.

I guess we have to thank the Beth Ditto cover shot on the Love Magazine’s debut issue for the focus on “bigger girls”. A part of me is quite cynical – we’ve had Italian Vogue’s black girls issue and now this. A part of me is cautious. All women are as “real” as each other so to be critical of skinny women is wrong. Also, even though weight is not a direct signifier of health, to suddenly start promoting overweight models wouldn’t be correct either.

The women in the following shots aren’t overweight. They’re curvy alright but quite beautiful and aspirational. I applaud this. What would be great is if we started seeing this sort of variety on a regular basis without fanfare because there really shouldn’t be an issue.

Interesting to note is that even though these models are larger than the norm none seem more than a size 16, which is the maximum size most designer clothes come in anyway. What never seems to be involved in the debate is the issue of fit. Once you step into oversize territory how do you cut clothes to flatter all body types? Its insane to criticise the fashion industry for this. Some women might be size 22 on top, 18 on the bottom, large around the torso but with relatively slim legs. The permutations become endless. It’s mission impossible to do this. One thing the slimmer and larger girls have in common is a defined waist. The mean. It’s all about proportion. The hourglass. The “8”. In that sense size doesn’t really matter, shape does.

images from and


“Fur Play”

Photography_ Inez an Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin

Styling_ Emmanuelle Alt

Vogue Paris, November 2009

Pages 174-187

Fur Play Redux_ French Vogue had stopped feeling fresh to me for a while. I guess I got bored of the Helmut Newton references that plagued the magazine for so long. What I liked about this shoot was that it did fur, Africa and savagery in way that was arresting and contemporary but quite classically beautiful. No doubt they took their cue from Marc Jacobs tribal collection for Louis Vuitton I still feel that this is more than just a lip sync or lazy “homage”. There’s a feeling of Peter Beard and touches of Sam Haskins from his African Image period [See my earlier post on that book.] The images you see aren’t exact copies – I messed around with the exposure and tone. I quite like the way the model seems like she’s had her body painted. It seems even more tribal to me. Bravo, guys. Love it!

Vogue "Red Alert" Shoot

“Red Alert”

Photography_ Emma Summerton

Fashion editor_ Charlotte Stockdale

Location_ Dover, England

Pages 226 – 243

Vogue "Red Alert" Shoot 4Vogue "Red Alert" Shoot 7


I thought this shoot was incredibly beautiful: unexpected, modern and out of this world. Shoot red clothes on the white cliffs of Dover. Simple, precise and clever. Lara Stone may rock the issue’s cover and stars in the headliner shoot by Mario Testino but this wins hand down. The editor’s letter talks of Vogue representing ” fashion, style, extreme beauty and a sense of the contemporary.” This shoot does it. The Lara Stone shoot, “Stone Age”, doesn’t. How can a faithful pastiche of a Norman Parkinson shot from 1952 of a model in a ballgown reclining on a chair read as contemporary? Even if shot on the model-du-jour, Lara Stone. Lovely? Yes. Escapist? Ditto. Old-fashioned? Un-huh. It totally misses the point. The “Red Alert” shoot, however, does extreme beauty, shows us winter in a fresh way, is achingly glamorous and yet alien at the same time. It doesn’t make sense but the strongest fashion imagery doesn’t. The red against the white, greys and cool blues is graphic. You wonder where these creatures have come from. Latter day castaway mermaids? Pale and interesting never rang truer. And the cinch? Its shot in Dover for crikes sake! HOW MUCH MORE BRITISH CAN YOU GET?


Stone Age shoot

Pretty Obvious: Lara Stone shot by Mario Testino

Vogue "Red Alert" Shoot 10