The changing face of fashion photography

Guest post by Hafsa Hussain

In the fashion industry today, big changes have gradually occurred with the acceptance of all skin colours, body shapes and religions. No matter your background, the fashion industry is opening up to all possibilities and with the help of Edward Enninful, since becoming editor-in-chief of British Vogue at the end of 2017, he has pathed the way for creators of all genres to be part of the industry.

One young African American fashion photographer is making big strides in his career, in September last year Tyler Mitchell photographed Beyoncé at her most natural for American Vogue and has just premiered his first solo exhibition in Amsterdam at Foam. Tyler Mitchell is a talented man whose work is exploring his community and capturing people of colour. His photography style of inclusivity, vulnerability, natural and soft has many people adoring his images, including myself! Growing up I never thought the day would come when models wearing the hijab would be accepted in the top fashion magazines – globally. Tyler is already shaking the industry and I’m sure he has more to come! The exhibition will run until 5 June 2019 at  Foam Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam.

  

  

Tyler Mitchell @tylersphotos 

 

Brooklyn based fashion photographer, Renell Medrano gained popularity online showcasing raw and intimate images with Instagram icons and celebrities like Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner and is responsible for ASAP Ferg’s album covers. Starting off with film cameras, her touch of colour and impulsivity has attracted a lot of admiration on Instagram and the fashion industry alike. The March 2019 issue of Office Magazine shot Solange for their  maggazine cover and had all her followers celebrating her body of work. Renell’s style of photography has a way of capturing the youth beautifully in motion for future generations to see.

Renell Medrano @renellaice

 

Anastasiya Lisitsyna, from Russia, is a fashion photographer whose photos are wonderfully cinematographic, romantic and tender. She creates a moment in time playing with the natural light and sensuality on the skin of the model with a warm soft tone. Anastasiya’s work has been inspired a little by the French New Wave film movement and creates a beautiful and strong body of work. She allows the viewers to experience the closeness and tranquillity in her chosen women who have something to say.

 Anastasiya Lisitsyna @anastasia.lisitsyna

Furthermore, as we are talking about fashion photography the icons must be included. The British fashion photographer Nick Knight has always been powerful when pushing the boundaries and creating beautiful and innovative imagery. He has worked with an endless stream of A-listers and models globally including Kate Moss and Rihanna. Not limiting himself, Nick founded SHOWStudio which explores moving imagery and has revolutionised the industry pathing the way for new generations to take inspiration. His most recent work includes models Gigi Hadid and FieFie Sun on the first cover issue of Vogue Hong Kong in March, which was phenomenal and ground-breaking.

 

Nick Knight @nick_knight @showstudio 

Follow Hafsa on Instagram @hafsahussainphotography

Winter vintage; peek behind the scenes

The weather was not our friend, heavy rain kept us indoors so the house was transformed into something of a studio using whatever lighting we could muster! It was the usual mix of snaps, laughter, mess, music, dogs and sangria! New vintage collection on its way soon.

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Nothing less than full victory

“Nothing is ever really new in fashion… As you go back in time you would gradually find the predecessors of every ‘New’ Look.”

Seventy years ago an estimated 160,000-allied troops crossed the English Channel in an initial D-Day assault on 6th June 1944 from Portsmouth, the preeminent departure point for troops bound for Sword Beach. An attack of which not only paved the way for the defeat of Nazi Germany, but evoked the loss of approximately 2,500 allied troops in the ensue of battle. As the anniversary of the D-Day landings are being commemorated by hundreds of last surviving veterans on both sides of the English channel this weekend, we wanted to take a look at the cumbersome affect of a nation devastated by chaos and mass destruction spanning over a grueling six years of war on the fashion industry.

D-Day Operation Neptune, Channel 4
D-Day Operation Neptune, Channel 4

In an era of desolation and ruin, communities grew to connect in abutment, the populace developing economical measures and thus demonstrating the upmost creativity and ingenuity as a result of the worldwide rationing of textiles imposed in 1940 thus forcing women to dress in a practical and versatile manner, using up as little material as possible and those of synthetic nature, like viscose and nylon. In Britain coupons were introduced where people could exchange clothes for food, with the Board of Trade controlling suppliers and fronting the campaign “Make do and Mend,” encouraging society to recycle clothes and produce makeshift clothing until 1943.  Coinciding with this, the utility scheme was introduced, providing minimum quality clothing for a highly unreasonable price.  Inspired by the term “old dress, new hat,” women began to make hats from newsprint as well as turbans in 1942, made from veiling, ribbons and other less-restricted materials resulting in the decrease in hat sales. A different story in Paris, women were infuriated by rationing, taking revenge by wearing the most enormous hats, piled with bizarre decoration! People made whatever use they could of materials they could maintain, consequently inventing the “peasant” skirt, a patchwork skirt made from an array of useful materials in terms of fabric and ribbon that was to be sewn together in patchwork squares.  A trend featured heavily on the Autumn Winter 2014/15 catwalks by the likes of Phillip Lim, who cartoon brights and whimsical inspiration as opposed to his harsher, streetwise influences. Parisian couturiers presented lines with suggestive titles like ‘False Alarm’ and ‘Attack,’ featuring military jackets and gas masks in the bag while Pierre Balmain presented evening gowns named ‘Occupation’ and ‘Underground,’ – a trend cropping up on the European catwalks this Fall with Fendi’s swish/grandeur combination of heavy duty, stiff wool parkas and army jackets and bomber jacket rendered dresses coinciding with Versace’s upright tailored jackets featuring fringed epaulettes and ceremonial buttons.

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Junya Watanabe Autumn Winter 2014/15
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Phillip Lim Autumn Winter 2014/15

Our absolute favourite look of Autumn Winter 2014/15 is that of Zadig & Voltaire, with creative director Cecilia Bönström describing the collection as a “A military winter with a bohemian feel,” encompassing androgynous masculine and feminine clashes of lace, sequins and utilitarian jackets.

Zadig & Voltaire Autumn Winter 2014/15
Zadig & Voltaire Autumn Winter 2014/15

Whilst the likes of Lucien Lelong was petitioning against the abolishment of the industry all together in Paris during the Occupation, in Britain, British Vogue was still regularly inundated, though focusing on informing women how to get the “modern makeshift” look as opposed to the next buy, with photographers like Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) making the most out of war scenes in a light humoured, rebellious manner as a source of entertainment, as well as inspiration and respect for the men of Britain at war – as well as Lee Miller, a fashion photographer who focused on women after the war. Amongst a time of desperation and despair, women were still constantly under pressure to look their best at all times in case their husbands were to return from the battle fields, though still undertaking war work which was often incredibly strenuous and dangerous.  The Hollywood ‘Golden Age’ stars were therefore tremendously influential, those of which all women aspired to be – Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth, Jean Harlow and Jean Crawford to name but a few, were actresses turned models for women everywhere, who, before Vogue, drew all fashion inspiration from the Silver screen. Americans were buying haute couture from Paris, replicating and making tons of copies, leading the world into mass production and clothing in standardised sizes, introducing us to the world of ready-to-wear and as Paris lost its position as the epicentre of fashion towards the end of World War II, London and New York designers began to establish opportunities, with American Designers starting to gain confidence therefore putting their name on their designs.

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Cecil Beaton
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Cecil Beaton

In 1947, one of the most revolutionary lines in fashion history, the ‘Corelle’ line (named from a vision of huge skirts spreading like ‘petal cups’ from fitted bodices) was presented, revealing an entirely new image for women after the war, constituting of full blown hips, neat shoulders and slim waists and contradictory exceeding a vast amount of material and freeing the imagination from years of rationing.  Christian Dior was greatly disturbed at the new fashions women sported throughout the war, stating that “everything about their attire spelt misery, suffering and sham – clunky shoes with cork wedge-heels, a fake stocking seam drawn skilfully onto the leg, short skirts with a split, and on top of it all a harsh square-cut jacket.” He wanted to abolish the profound effect the war had on women, emphasising the beautiful femininity and elegance that had surrounding the female population pre-war.  Hemlines were dramatically dropped nine inches, made from contrasting, flimsy wartime materials in velvet, taffeta and satin and using hip padding and boned, bustier-style bodices, creating the ‘hourglass’ silhouette with the neat, sloped shoulders featuring in the first collection of Dior’s former colleague, Balmain in 1945. After achieving worldwide population in a very short period of time, this line was deemed the ‘New Look.’ However, such lavish and elegant style did not go opposed, on a visit to the states in 1947, Christian Dior came up against expressive play cards when arriving in Chicago, stating “Christian Dior, go home!” of which he joked “it was as if we had narrowly escaped an assassination attempt.” On another occasion, a Dior model was attacked by housewives on the Rue Lepic in Paris.  Not phased, Dior’s luxurious and elegant sculpture structures went on to influence countless designers and has since secured the continuation of Maison Dior. Combining Christian Dior’s classic ‘New Look’ and Cristobel Balenciaga’s 1950s ‘Sack,’ such monumental silhouettes have found themselves in the full front of fashion over past seasons, with Proenza Schouler paying homage with preppy crepe jackets and metallic midi’s for Spring Summer 2014.

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Christian Dior’s ‘New Look,’ 1947
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John Galliano’s interpretation of Christian Dior’s ‘Corelle’ line
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Proenza Schouler Spring Summer 2014

View our full collection of 1940s vintage clothing here or at www.thestellarboutique.com.

1943 Vintage Original M43 Womens US Army Jacket
1943 Vintage Original M43 Womens US Army Jacket

The spirit of the new Gypsies

When I recently stumbled upon Iain Mckell’s book ‘The New Gypsies’ I was instantly charmed by the whimsical beauty and sense of freedom captured in his photographs. This new culture of free spirited gypsies and their elaborately decorated horse-drawn caravans captured my imagination and I simply had to share these beautiful images with you.

This renegade tribe of new age travellers come from our culture rather than from true gypsy blood, but have chosen to live with the freedom of the open road rather than living within the ideals of our western Capitalist society. Interestingly though, they juxtapose their nomadic, bohemian way of life with certain modern trappings such as mobile phones, internet and facebook!

And of course a post about Iain Mckell’s New Gypsies wouldn’t be complete without including the enchanting photos from V Magazine’s fashion shoot, taken by Mckell with model Kate Moss in 2009. Although she could easily pass as a fellow traveller, don’t be deceived, the styling is actually made up of high-end designer labels including John Galliano, Kenzo and Dsquared²…..a world away from the humble wardrobes of the real gypsies!

Corinne Day, photographer of our time.

On August 27th 2010 the fashion world lost one of it’s greatest photographers of a generation. Corinne Day, known as the woman who launched Kate Moss’s career, sadly died aged 48 from a brain tumour after a long struggle with cancer.

A self taught photographer and previous model, she became one of the most influential photographers of our time. Her pictures were original, provocative and often controversial. Shying away from the high glamour trend of the 80s, she took a more documentary approach to her photos.

In 1990 she teamed up with a young, fresh faced Kate Moss and headed down to Camber Sands, Kent, for a series of candid and intimate portraits for The Face magazine’s ‘3rd Summer of Love’  editorial. I will never forget how I felt when I first saw those iconic black & white images. Unpolished, raw, natural beauty unlike anything I’d seen in fashion before, she captured a moment in fashion history and inspired a whole generation of people, me included. Credited for pioneering the Grunge movement, the images spawned a new era of fashion and fashion photography.

Three years later she was causing a storm once more when Vogue magazine published the somewhat seedy pictures of Kate Moss in a grubby bedsit wearing mismatched underwear and looking pale and forlorn. Gritty, hard edged and real, the shoot caused international outrage and the radical new wave of photography, labelled  ‘dirty-realism’, paved the way for the ‘Heroin chic’ trend that was to follow.

A revolutionary in fashion image making, Corinne Day changed the way we viewed fashion photography.