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July 28 2014

styledotcom The long-rumored Kurt Cobain biopic is in bloom: stylem.ag/1tT3CBH pic.twitter.com/t18RW6vy75

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14 posts tagged "Mert Alas"

Mert and Marcus Talk Playboy, Lady Gaga, And Why They’re Better Together

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Mert and Marcus

Lady Gaga for the latest Versace campaign, but they were also responsible for Givenchy’s Spring ’14 ads-seen-round-the-world featuring Erykah Badu. What’s really got everyone buzzing, though, is the London-based pair’s unconventional Playboy cover and editorial. The spread appears in the iconic girly mag’s sixtieth anniversary issue (on newsstands now), and stars none other than the sharpshooters’ good pal Kate Moss. Below, Style.com speaks to the enduring image-makers about nudity in fashion, late-night chats with Donatella Versace, the philosophy behind their Playboy snaps, and why they’d never go solo like Beyoncé. And because our bandwidth wouldn’t possibly permit us to ramble on about all the unforgettable photos Mert and Marcus have produced for Pop, French Vogue, the Pirelli Calendar, Interview, and more, we asked the duo to send us some of their favorite work. Click through their picks, here..

You two are good friends with Kate Moss, and have been working with her for years. How was the Playboy shoot different from your previous collaborations with her? Did you have any hesitations?
Mert Alas: Oh, my God, it was a no-brainer. When Kate asked us to shoot her for Playboy‘s sixtieth anniversary issue, you know, we had to do it.

Marcus Piggott: We didn’t have any hesitations. We were all in from the start. We’ve done a lot of things with Kate—a lot of role-playing, a lot of fashion pictures, a lot of personal pictures—and when we started this project, we asked ourselves what not to do. We wanted it to be really Kate. It wasn’t about the hair or the makeup, it wasn’t about styling or fashion. It wasn’t about all the frivolous tools of our industry. It was about her—her lips, her charisma, her body, her skin, her eyes…

What makes this shoot stand out from a typical Playboy spread?
MP: She’s dressed more than the girls in most Playboy editorials. It was a bit of a striptease. We wanted to leave a little bit to the imagination, and we wanted the reader to get excited imagining what’s underneath. But there are a lot of crazy pictures that you haven’t seen…

Oh, really? What kind of pictures?
MA: They were just fun pictures—a bit ruder and crazier than what’s in the magazine. Someday they’ll come out! Marcus and Kate and I were laughing, and we told her that we’ll get them out there when she’s 60.

Kate Moss in Playboy

You mentioned that you didn’t want this to be like a fashion shoot, but you can find naked women in pretty much any high-end fashion magazine. Do you think there’s too much nudity in fashion? We are selling clothes, after all.
MA: First of all, we must appreciate what a fashion magazine is. I don’t like calling them fashion magazines. I just call them magazines. In the old days, you’d see a great article, a great fashion picture, and a great nude all under one hat. So, no, I don’t mind seeing a naked girl in a fashion magazine as long as the photograph represents something beyond meat, flesh, and sex. If it’s about an object, or creating a beautiful print, or there’s a message in it, or it inspires you, or makes you happy or angry, then it has substance. And as long as there’s substance, I think, why not? Continue Reading “Mert and Marcus Talk Playboy, Lady Gaga, And Why They’re Better Together” »

Exclusive: Erykah Badu Fronts Givenchy’s New Campaign

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Erykah Badu and Riley in Givenchy's Spring '14 campaign

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.”

Erykah Badu in Givenchy's campaignWhat 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.”

Photo: Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott / Courtesy of Givenchy

Cara Delevingne, Malgosia Bela, and Liu Wen Get Sultry for La Perla

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“When you choose your lingerie, you think about somebody who is going to look at it…” purrs model Malgosia Bela in La Perla’s latest drop, a short backstage video, debuting here, which accompanies the underwear label’s Spring ’14 campaign. “Or take it off, actually, if the evening goes well.”

Bela, Cara Delevingne, and Liu Wen star in La Perla’s newest promo to showcase “multiple styles of femininity” via their notably different personalities. Bela, the veteran, Delevingne, the wild child, and Wen, the willowy middle-grounder. Lensed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott (with art direction by Fabien Baron and styling by Ludivine Poiblanc), the ads and the video convey a new rawness for La Perla, yet they’re entirely relatable. Bela’s above-mentioned sound bite notwithstanding, each model can be seen taking a selfie or two in the clip. And despite the vid’s grayscale eroticism and somewhat ominous electro soundtrack, Delevingne’s sound-off captures the campaign’s overarching ethos: “Don’t worry, be happy, basically.”

The Givenchy Gang

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Last season, Gisele led the pack at Givenchy, but Riccardo Tisci already has a new set of stars. Replacing Bündchen is Stella Tennant, who is featured in the campaign image (above) the label released this morning, along with Joan Smalls, Stef van der Laan, Daniela Braga, Simone Nobili, Jarrod Scott, and Rodrigo Braga. Of the Fall 2012 shots, lensed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott and styled by Carine Roitfeld, Tisci tells WWD, “It is about happiness and the freedom of expressing yourself with your body. It shows a dynamic, happy, and fun world, which is what fashion needs.” Of the British stunner, he says, “Stella represents modernity, elegance, masculinity, and femininity at the same time, together with a dynamic, energetic beauty.”

Photo: Courtesy Photo

The School Of Dsquared²

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For most high school students, the books have closed on this academic year and summer is now in full swing. Not so for Dean and Dan Caten’s co-eds—the Dsquared² designers, who staged a full-on high school prom at their Fall ’12 show in Milan, continued with the theme for their latest Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott-lensed ad campaign. The short film (debuting exclusively here on Style.com today) is an ode to teen rebellion in the sixties, featuring the designers and a very good-looking crop of students, including models Benedikt Angerer, Simon Van Meervenne, Liuk Bass, Ralf Javoiss, Daphne Groeneveld, Frida Aasen, and Bette Franke. Though they are sporting the label’s sweeter-than-usual offerings for Fall, like button-downs, brushed mohair sweaters, and cropped pink pants, don’t be fooled—they are up to no good. Watch the full film, shot at London’s Ragged School Museum, to see what they’ve got up their sleeves.

Photo: Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott