34 posts tagged "Joan Smalls"
There’s really never been a better time to be a model. Many will argue with me that the pinnacle of the profession was the glory days of Naomi, Christy, Linda, and Cindy. But they never had social media. In 2013, we witnessed the rise of a new class of supers who have since become household names. Cheeky Brit Cara Delevingne has amassed over 3.5 million followers on Instagram and is trailed by paparazzi everywhere she goes. Last week, Joan Smalls, Jourdan Dunn, and Chanel Iman became pop stars in their own right with the release of Beyoncé’s “Yoncé” music video, in which they dance like divas alongside Queen B. Hell, they’re even reclaiming the covers of fashion magazines.
This year, I was also thrilled to see a few of my favorite catwalk veterans make comebacks. Naomi herself had jaws on the floor when she opened and closed the Atelier Versace show—looking fiercer than ever—back in July. After a couple of years off the runways, Catherine McNeil walked in forty-two Fall shows (she’s kept the momentum going with a profusion of ad campaigns and editorials, in addition to an impressive Spring season), and Daria Werbowy had a cameo at Balenciaga. Who doesn’t love @dotwillow? As for the hottest newcomer? That prize goes to Edie Campbell, who was crowned Model of the Year earlier this month at the British Fashion Awards.
From the time she launched her new, self-titled album at 12:01 a.m.—without any warning, press, leaks, or buildup buzz—today has been the Day of Beyoncé. The new Beyoncé features fourteen tracks and a full seventeen videos. One in particular has caught the attention of the Bey Hive: “‘Yonce,” which stars not only Bey, but also three of the fashion world’s top models—Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, and Chanel Iman—in an homage of sorts to George Michael’s famous supermodel-filled “Freedom ’90″ video. Director, video artist, and co-head of creative at Supreme, Ricky Saiz, shot the video over two days in Brooklyn. “When I started to propose ideas and put together a visual narrative, Beyoncé responded really well,” he said. “She was open to me pushing a bit, and to trying new things, and I didn’t want it to be overproduced. I didn’t want a performance video, which is like jazz hands. This was more like an upskirt.”
“Upskirt” does set the racy tone. Saiz was inspired by Daido Moriyama’s erotic photographs as well as the iconic George Michael Video—and styled by Karen Langley, the cast dons an array of revealing outfits, including a black Anthony Vaccarello dress (for Dunn) and a bondage-inspired molded bodysuit from Tom Ford’s tenure at YSL (for Beyoncé).
Here, Saiz talks to Style.com about the singer’s most smoldering video to date, what it was like working with the one of the world’s biggest stars and a trio of supermodels, and that time on set when Smalls decided to lick Beyoncé’s breast.
How did you come to work with Beyoncé on this in the first place?
It was very all of a sudden, actually. I have a working relationship with Todd Tourso, her creative director. We worked together on the 2011 Lady Gaga for Supreme campaign that we put together. He called me out of the blue and said they wanted me to do a video for them. Four days later, we did it. It was very fast, all of a sudden, and fun. I think Beyoncé is an incredible artist—she has ability, reach, and doesn’t compromise. She’s always kind of done her own thing. But the project that they approached me with was very much in my lane, and my aesthetic. If they had me do a big, drawn-out, cinematic production kind of video, I probably wouldn’t have done as good of a job.
What was the brief that Beyoncé and her team gave you? What were they asking for?
They came with a pretty broad concept. They had the models in line, and wanted something pretty simple. The brief was in the direction of George Michael’s “Freedom” video. And I kind of took it from there. I felt like doing something really simple, handheld, lo-fi. It felt like an interesting way of doing it. It could come off so bland if filmed the other way. And again, I wanted to explore her transgressive imagery. Things that were sexual and erotic, but not cliché. I didn’t want to see Beyoncé with her tongue out, you know?
How is this display of sexuality different from what Miley Cyrus does in “Wrecking Ball”?
Beyoncé is so sexy without having to do anything. I felt like she didn’t need to be wet, or need to twerk. It was more about a mature sense of eroticism, like what Madonna expressed in “Human Nature” in the nineties. A lot of the inspiration came from still photography. Like Daido Moriyama’s really tight close-ups of fishnets—things that felt abstract but still resonate.
What was Beyoncé’s reaction to your creative process? Was she very hands-on?
She’s incredible. She was very hands-on, and everything was a collaborative effort. I think once she saw my aesthetic and references in the styling and art direction, she had full trust in my ideas for the video. I’ve never worked with anyone that gave so much, and was so willing to try new things. For example, the styling; Karen Langley brought this Tom Ford [for YSL] molded-breast bodysuit with the pierced nipple, fishnets, and things like that. It was exactly the references that I was looking for, but in my head I was like, Yeah, right. We’re never getting Bey to put that on. And Beyoncé’s so incredible, she was like, “Let’s do it.” I don’t think anyone’s seen her like that. She was into it.
Do you have a sense of why Beyoncé tapped Jourdan, Joan, and Chanel for this project?
They came to me with these three women in mind. It just felt very of-the-moment, very iconic. You know, they’re all supermodels, they stand on their own, they’re such powerful women. And when brought together, it created a whole dynamic. We definitely weren’t trying to put together a “girl group.” But the chemistry on set was amazing. People just came in really excited about the project, and I tried to keep things loose and fun. I wanted you to see something you maybe weren’t supposed to see.
The “Freedom” video worked because the girls were supermodelséthe first generation of so-called supers, in fact. Do you see these women as the new generation?
Absolutely. I think that in addition to being extremely beautiful, they have their own characters, and their own personalities that they brought to the table. They were anything but casted models.
Did you have any favorite moments on set?
When Joan Smalls licked Beyoncé’s boob. I’m probably not going to forget that anytime soon. To be honest, I didn’t even see it happen. I was in between monitors. I saw it in playback. My director of photography came up to me and was like, “Oh, my God, did you see that?” It was totally spontaneous. [Smalls] just went in. It was fun. We had a good time.
Riccardo Tisci is known, among other talents, for having one of the keenest eyes in casting. So when he puts an unexpected face in his ad campaigns for Givenchy, the world takes notice. Expect tremors on this one. Presenting the new star of the label’s Mert & Marcus-shot campaigns: neo-soul singer Erykah Badu.
“Erykah, she’s an icon—come on!” Tisci said by phone from Paris. “What I want to do with my advertising campaign is spread the love. Already now it’s been three seasons that I’ve been using people that express something—they are great artists, or beautiful women, or stylish women, or models that I really believe in. It’s kind of a family portfolio.”
Tisci had known Badu slightly but had never worked with her. Still, he said, he’d had her image in the back of his mind when he was designing the Spring 2014 collection, a mash-up of African and Japanese influences. “She’s one of the most stylish women I’ve met in my life,” he said. “She’s got such a good sense of proportion, of colors.”
What may attract as much attention as the unexpected Badu cameo is the fact that all of the campaign’s female models are women of color (the models Maria Borges, newcomer Riley, and Asia Chow). It follows a season with a noticeable uptick in the use of models of color on the runway, following scathing condemnations of homogeneity in fashion from Bethann Hardison and Iman, sounding off from certain casting directors, and coverage of the issue in The New York Times.
“There was a lot of talk this season in fashion,” Tisci said. “Me, I was one of the persons who ended up not being touched by this. I discovered Joan Smalls, I discovered Maria [Borges]. I discovered a lot of black girls, and I’ve been always supporting them. For me, I grew up in a family and I grew up in a culture, an education, that we all are the same.” (He was already working on the collection, and had Badu in mind, when the first articles came out.)
It’s true that Tisci has been active in promoting women of color on his runway and in his campaigns. (Besides Smalls and Borges, he has championed Grace Mahary, Dalianah Arekion, and Daniela Braga, among others.) Does he think the world will catch up to his lead? “I hope so,” he said. “It’s 2013. Everybody’s being so cool about Instagram, about Facebook, any media—everybody’s being so open. At the end of the day, why are not so many black girls or Latin girls in shows? When you have an American president who is black! When I see this happening, it’s quite sad, I think. People can be so avant-garde, so advanced, but actually not, because people are still making differences between skin color.”
Mario Testino has photographed everyone from Joan Smalls and Gisele Bündchen to Jay Z and Jennifer Lawrence—plus, he’s lensed countless covers and editorials, for everyone (and we mean everyone) from V Magazine to Vanity Fair. The legendary Peruvian photographer was not, however, on Instagram—until now, that is. We well know that if there’s any place to leak behind-the-scenes footage, it’s on the Internet. And with his esteemed roster of collaborators, who knows what filtered finds Testino’s account might bring. Needless to say, he deserves a “Follow.”
If the Fall ’13 campaigns and Spring ’14 runways have left you craving more surprise appearances from nineties supers (Christy Turlington starred in Fall ads for Calvin Klein Underwear, Jason Wu, and Prada; Naomi Campbell strutted her stuff down DVF’s Spring runway; Kate Moss was printed across Giles Deacon’s Spring dresses, etc.), look no further than Katie Grand’s latest Hogan short for your next fix. To showcase her Spring ’14 collaboration with the label (the third installment of the ongoing series), Grand asked Dan Jackson to direct a film featuring Linda Evangelista and Stephanie Seymour, as well as Joan Smalls, Sam Rollinson, Edie Campbell, Georgia May Jagger, Liu Wen, and more, dancing about in the new collection. As for the Spring range, it boasts soft leather jackets and accessories kissed with Grand’s signature Pop aesthetic. The lineup, which Grand describes as “slick, sexy, straight-to-the-point practicality,” includes stark white creepers, polka-dot pouches, slim stilettos, and duffel bags and iPhone cases embellished with the collaboration’s heart motif—a nod to Grand’s Love magazine. See it all in the flick’s exclusive debut, above.