What does Kate Moss dream about? That was the question on Stella McCartney’s mind when she cast the iconic model in her Mert & Marcus-lensed Winter 2014 ad campaign, which debuted today. “Kate epitomizes the Stella McCartney woman and I wanted to capture her dreams and the moments we have shared over the years,” McCartney said of Moss, who has now appeared in her ad campaigns seven times. “I wanted to escape into something surreal this season, and fashion should make us dream, sometimes.” These particular dream-like images depict Moss inside zippered frames, which are surrounded by abstract landscapes of glaciers, forests, and the cosmos. The campaign will debut in the September issues of major international magazines. A short film titled Kate Dreams is set to follow in the coming months.
Christopher Owens Talks Shooting Photos With Hedi Slimane, Going Country, and Modeling to Fund His Art-------
Two years ago, indie-rock figurehead Christopher Owens and his friend Hedi Slimane found themselves in the same position, tasked with starting new chapters in their careers: Owens had just announced the dissolution of his band Girls and Slimane was newly in charge at Saint Laurent, so they turned to each other for help. Slimane recruited Owens for his first campaign at the storied fashion house; that project doubled as Owens’ coming-out party as a solo artist. It was a mutually beneficial move that allowed Slimane to establish the rock-and-roll vibe he’s since maintained and gave Owens greater visibility as an artist and model. (Owens has since starred in an ad for Isabel Marant’s capsule collection for H&M, and has lent his looks to other photographers, including Logan White who snapped the shot above.)
A year later, Owens has settled into his solo career and reinvented himself again—this time with spurs and Stetson hats. His next solo album, fittingly titled A New Testament, has more of a country lean than anything he’s done before and, with it, comes Owens drawing from his days spent working on a ranch in Amarillo, Texas—cowboy attire, to boot. While preparing for the announcement of A New Testament—out September 30—the San Francisco-based artist took a moment to talk about his friendship with Slimane, his new country look, and his reaction to how musicians are turning more to fashion to fund their art.
Had you been thinking of exploring country music in a more overt way for a while?
On the first Girls album, Album, there’s a song called “Darling” that I feel is a little country. On Broken Dreams Club, we tried to do things that were pretty country—we even had a pedal steel player. It was something I hoped to do in a more focused way. Then when I actually put my shoulder to the boulder on this one, I found all of these great elements coming out from people I had asked to work with me and I didn’t try to suppress those things. At the end of the day, I thought, We’re not coloring in the lines of the country aesthetic, but it would be a shame not to use it.
It seems like you’ve committed to that aesthetic all around. In promo photos, you wear country gear.
There is a bit of a story behind that. I lived in Amarillo for nine years before moving to San Francisco. I worked on a ranch, and the hats I’m wearing in the photos come from that period. One was a parting gift I got when I left the ranch. On various Girls tours, I’ve stopped in Amarillo and bought a new pair of boots—not thinking, One day I’ll use this for an album aesthetic. It’s just fun to get to do all of this stuff, image-wise. Modern country people are doing everything from dubstep to rapping; I think there’s room for me in there.
Has your wardrobe expanded a lot since you’ve taken on these modeling jobs with Hedi Slimane and Isabel Marant for H&M?
In the H&M shoot, I only wore one T-shirt and jeans, so I didn’t get any kind of wardrobe expansion, but Hedi was nice enough to send me a few things that I really liked.
Interestingly, when I signed up for H&M I was a little bit scared—it was very different from Saint Laurent. As much as it was whirlwind, when it came time to do the editorial photos for Saint Laurent, I had already shot on a personal level at my house, walking around Golden Gate Park, and Hedi’s house in L.A. as a friend—photos that weren’t to be used for anything, just photos for photos’ sake. We had become friends, so when he said, “Do you want to do this?” it was easier to say yes. Jeez, Yves Saint Laurent was a pillar of fashion, and I kind of fancy myself as a young David Bowie dipping my toe in the fashion pool.
The H&M thing was something where I thought, Maybe it’s not really me. I don’t know anyone there. At the same time, the music industry is changing. People don’t survive on record sales anymore. I had done a boutique-y album with my first solo album and said, “I’m only going to play small rooms with good sounds. I’m not going to play any festivals because they throw you up on stage five minutes before your set with no sound check.” Coachella was going to pay me for a short set whether it was good or not, and I said no to that. So the H&M thing seemed like the right thing to do at the right time. They were happy to pay me for my time. I lost money touring because I took a nine-piece band on a theater tour, and this was a way for me to recoup with my label and have money to do this album.
Sky Ferreira, another musician who has modeled for Hedi, has also talked about how modeling can be a good way to fund art.
I think it’s a very genuine issue right now for artists to find other ways to make money. People stream your music on Spotify and you get zilch back, and you’re expected to make videos and do a lot of things that cost money. I think it’s important to have some moral template that you keep in mind. I wouldn’t want to say, “Just hand over the rights of a song to a company to do whatever with.” I’m happy to take a photo. I like doing that. I think we will see more of this.
On the flip side, have you thought about why brands are more interested in using musicians instead of models?
You could be right about that, but, for me, I don’t really see that. I remember when Pete Doherty was Hedi Slimane’s muse. Back in the day, Mick Jagger and Bowie and Liza Minnelli were in fashion. I think it’s something that left during the post-punk alternative craze of everybody having to make a point and say “I’m not a sellout,” but I think that’s going away again. People are saying, “I like to work with other people on other things that’s not my work,” whether that’s being in a movie or being in fashion. I want to have budgets to make exciting records. I want to do things even bigger than I’ve been able to do.
Before the Saint Laurent ads, you weren’t in the mainstream public consciousness. How did you deal with being the face of a massive campaign?
[Hedi] followed it up very quickly with photos of Marilyn Manson, Courtney Love, and Beck, so the focus was taken off me very quickly. I feel like my photos that happened in the beginning were a bit anonymous. People were like, “Who is this Macaulay Culkin type with bad teeth in the new ads?” And it didn’t really matter who it was. The comments I saw were more on the aesthetic rather than directed toward me.
I really enjoyed that whole experience and I would do it again. Hedi was behind the camera. It wasn’t like I came in and shook his hand and he handed me off to some crew. It was very relaxed. The model was very professional and helped me to understand what to do in a photo shoot. I like to think of Hedi as a friend. He’s a very personable guy. No airs of greatness. He just likes to do his work, and he seems to work a lot, which I respect.
The timing was really interesting because both of you were kind of in the same place in different industries.
Yeah. It was while I was on the ranch that Hedi called me to ask about doing the campaign. I was on a little trip that was designed to get away from things—after I made the announcement that I was leaving my band—and I went to see my family and went back to Amarillo and stayed on Stanley Marsh’s ranch. The timing is bizarre, but isn’t that the way it goes? Sometimes things just line up right.
Let the rumors begin! According to WWD, word on the street is that behind-the-scenes star Nadège Vanhee, who cut her teeth at Delvaux and Maison Martin Margiela, worked under Phoebe Philo as the design director at Céline, and is now the design director at The Row, is Hermès’ top pick to succeed Christophe Lemaire as the head of womenswear. It would be nice to see someone like Vanhee, who has a wealth of experience and an eye for clean, sophisticated luxury, get a mega-gig like the one at Hermès—goodness knows she’s paid her dues. An announcement may be made as early as this week.
When I first heard this rumor, it reminded me of Jil Sander’s choice to hire Rodolfo Paglialunga—a designer who, save a stint as the creative director at Vionnet, earned his stripes working behind the scenes at Prada for 10 years. And then there’s the case of Julie de Libran’s appointment at Sonia Rykiel. Another under-the-radar gem, Libran designed the pre-collections for Louis Vuitton, but was, of course, not as well known as the brand’s creative director and face, Marc Jacobs. Sometimes it makes sense to have a big name head up a big house. But it’s nice to see that the work of talented, though less famous, industry vets does not go unnoticed.
Believe it or not, the Spring ’15 shows are just around the corner, which means it’s time for us to reveal the trio of up-and-comers who have earned the support of Lulu Kennedy’s young designer initiative, Fashion East. This season, whimsical maximalist Edward Marler, a Central Saint Martins grad who already counts Katie Grand and M.I.A. as fans, will join returning talents Helen Lawrence and Louise Alsop. All three emerging designers will present their collections in the Fashion East group show during London fashion week. “Our lineup represents the ideas, energy, and boldness of the London scene right now,” Kennedy told Style.com. “Each designer feels totally relevant and on message.” Considering former Fashion Easters include Meadham Kirchhoff, Jonathan Saunders, and Simone Rocha, you can bet that, come 1 p.m. on September 16, our eyes will be glued to the Fashion East runway.