PIN ME UP, PIN ME DOWN: People who are model fans have to accept that at some point their favourite girl will slow down and take leave from the relevant runway and editorial scene. That’s been the case for me with Chanel Iman, who has transitioned from editorial model to Victoria’s Secret spokesmodel gradually over the last few years. I am glad that she is now able to earn money and have more time for herself; the constant castings and attempts to stay atop the dog-eat-dog world of ad campaigns, editorials and runways must be hell for most girls, let alone a non-Caucasian model trying to stay afloat. So it’s always nice when now and then Chanel pops up somewhere that you least expect her to. She appears in the VMan Spring/Summer 2012 calendar, starring mostly Victoria’s Secret models shot by Willy Vanderperre and styled by Carine Roitfeld (I should mention that this is also her first time working with both photographer and stylist). Unlike the other VS models who are only now branching out into editorial work, Chanel has chosen to stay out of the high-fashion world she was once part of, for the most part. So it is a surprise to see her here, especially shot by a photographer who is not known for ‘loving non-Caucasian models’. The result is beautiful though, Chanel looks sexy in a modern way yet the shot has a slightly haunting, nostalgic vibe to it, thanks to Carine’s use of varsity jackets and face-nets in the styling. I hope to get my hands on this calendar IRL; as the other models look great too. I look forward to the little surprises Chanel will continue to bring this year, no matter how infrequently. After all, quality is always more important than quantity. At least that’s my take on it.
RUSTIC BEAUTY: So I guess all of the fashion editorial/ad campaign related posts that I will be doing in the coming days will focus on YSL Rive Gauche under Tom Ford. Regardless of whether I was reviewing the amazing collections or not, I would probably get around to posting this iconic image at some point. Considered to be one of the most memorable shots from any fashion ad campaign (or ad campaign in general I might argue), this shot of Liya Kebede hunched and facing a wall in a crinkled purple jacket from the Fall/Winter 2001 collection is glorious. It is proof that the best images are often those that are so simple that you don’t focus on the surroundings but on the subject itself. It does help that this image is meticulously lit, photographed and styled, but at the end of the day, it’s Liya whose beauty and relaxed demeanour which make this shot so amazing. Together with Steven Meisel and Carine Roitfeld she created something striking, that will be admired for decades to come. Phenomenal, without trying to be.
MELTING POT: I am not the biggest fan of either Mario Testino or Carine Roitfeld’s work, despite the fact that they have reached near iconic status in the fashion game. However over the years I have come to appreciate their aesthetic, not just their early collaborations which brought Tom Ford’s Gucci to the forefront, but also their collaborations in Vogue Paris during the noughties. Plus I couldn’t resist posting another shot of Liya. This story from the December/January 2002 issue was very clean and managed to bring a bit of Middle Eastern/North African influence into it without looking ridiculous or cliché. I have always liked this shot of Liya, there is something very on point about the composition and styling of the shot, visually your eyes dart from the top of the photo to the bottom, from the turban down to the shirt. It helps that Liya looks so at ease here. I can really enjoy Carine’s work when she stays simple and keeps to the a clean aesthetic. This also goes to show why Testino should work in the studio more often, he can be just as good as his contemporaries when working there. Having a model of Liya’s calibre obviously helps a lot as well.