September 3 2014

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33 posts tagged "Steven Klein"

EXCLUSIVE: Daria Werbowy and Mikael Jansson on Nudity in America, Retouching Models’ Knees, and More


BLOG_diptych_1Last week, Interview leaked six different cover images from its September 2014 Photographers’ Issue, and the question is: Who isn’t covering a magazine this month? The magazine paired up A-list actresses and supermodels with major photographers: Nicole Kidman with Steven Klein, Léa Seydoux with Peter Lindbergh, Keira Knightley with Patrick Demarchelier, Daria Werbowy with Mikael Jansson, Amber Valletta with Craig McDean, and Naomi Campbell with Mert and Marcus. The fashion and culture publication turned the tables on the talent involved, enlisting its leading ladies to profile their respective lensman for the occasion.

Interview gave a sneak peek inside the issue at Werbowy’s dialogue with notoriously private Jansson, who shot his frequent subject—they first began working together back in 2003—for the accompanying 20-plus-page spread at his summer cottage on an archipelago near Stockholm. The result was a candid conversation between two industry icons, who discussed the industry’s attitude toward nudity (Jansson had Werbowy pose with a poster from the controversial 1967 film I Am Curious), Jansson’s career evolution, their shared affinity for jazz, rampant retouching, and more.

Below, highlights exclusive images from the portfolio—Interview‘s latest issue hits newsstands September 2—and insights gleaned from the article.


1. Fashion’s attitude toward nudity is backward.

Daria Werbowy: “You take a lot of nudes. For me, I’m very comfortable nude with you. You have a perception of women that I think women appreciate. It’s very different from a random picture of a woman naked. Your perspective is more romantic and more respectful of the female body. It comes from a nice place. So, you obviously saw I Am Curious when you were younger. It was banned in a lot of places.”

Mikael Jansson: “It was banned, but I think it was also the 12th most seen film in America in 1969.”

DW: “Nudity seems to be an issue that America can’t get over in general. I wonder when the day will come when we will finally be OK with it, with the human form.”

MJ: “Things are going backward, in a funny way.”

2. Jansson introduced Richard Avedon to Chet Baker.

DW: “What was that [working with Avedon for two years] like?”

MJ: “It was a fantastic experience. But you had to connect with him outside of photography. I was really into jazz, so I brought my music to the studio and he loved it. So he said, ‘Mikael is in charge of music.’ I had shot Chet Baker in Sweden once before. I showed the picture to Avedon, and he said he wanted to photograph Chet. He said, ‘Let me know when Chet is playing next time.’ I said, ‘He’s playing at a small jazz club downtown.’ He said, ‘Mikael, to be a photographer, you have to do these kinds of things.’ He sent me to the club to ask Chet if I could take his picture.”

3. The best pictures arise from unexpected moments.

DW: “When we went to your cottage by the lake, I felt like I was going back in time—like I was in an old Swedish movie with all the little boats going by. We forget that people live that way still…[that] people do live well and happily and have nice lives in places like that. When you’re taking a picture, how involved are you?”

MJ: “I like to capture the moment. I like to stand back and see what’s going to happen.”

DW: “That’s much more difficult with fashion these days, isn’t it?”

MJ: “But there are those little moments in between—like, if you’re doing hair and makeup and I steal a moment right after.”

4. It’s difficult to put a beautiful visual into words.

DW: “Why don’t you like doing interviews?”

MJ: “I think it’s because I’m not that good verbally. I like to take pictures, it’s like hiding behind a camera.”

5. Werbowy wants photographers to stop retouching models’ knees [Jansson's images here were untouched].

DW: “Where do you think the obsession with retouching comes from?”

MJ: “We get carried away with the technique and with what you can do. You get sort of blind.”

DW: “Girls don’t have knees anymore. I didn’t know people thought knees were so ugly, but they wipe out all the knees. It’s all kneeless people. I think it looks so great to see the real person. I’m not 14 anymore, and I think it’s so much more of a celebration of the human existence to see it the real way.”

Photos: Mikael Jansson / Courtesy of Interview

Assessing Alexander Wang’s Fall Campaign


Alexander Wang

Coming soon to the billboard on the corner of Lafayette and Prince Streets in Soho: Alexander Wang’s new Fall ’14 campaign, which will also appear in select print publications. Similar to Wang’s Spring ads, the new images strike a balance between naïveté and explicitness, channeling a subtle, naughty schoolgirl vibe. Steven Klein shot the series at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. When it comes to models, Wang and casting director Anita Bitton definitely like to play favorites. This time around, they brought back Anna Ewers (the star of the label’s Spring ’14 campaign, who also turned up on the designer’s arm at the CFDA Awards back in June) and Wang’s new model muse, Vanessa Moody, who opened both his Fall show and Balenciaga. Other fresh faces appearing in the Fall ads include Lexi Boling, Katlin Aas, and Kat Hessen.

Photo: Steven Klein

Backed by Nicola Formichetti’s Diesel Power, Brooke Candy Shoots for Stardom


“I own everything, baby!” sang the oft foul-mouthed stripper-turned-rapper Brooke Candy before wrapping up a phone interview last week. She wasn’t referencing any kind of newfound wealth—after signing with RCA Records in February, the formerly homeless L.A.-based artist is just finding her footing in the pop music biz. Rather, her proclamation was a line from her new song and music video, “Opulence,” which dropped at a Diesel-sponsored party in New York last night.

The flick is lensed by Steven Klein and styled by Nicola Formichetti, who, after discovering Candy online in Grimes’ “Genesis” video, has taken the starlet under his wing. In October, he cast her as the face of his Diesel accessories campaign and flew her to Tokyo, where, flanked by gyrating exotic dancers, she performed at a bondage-themed sex party to fete the collection. “I wasn’t really looking for anybody. I wanted to just focus on Diesel,” admitted Formichetti, Diesel’s artistic director and former stylist to Lady Gaga. “But when I saw her, I couldn’t resist.”

Before teaming with Formichetti, Candy, 25, already had a sufficiently severe look, one that involved braids down to her calves, velvet bikinis, platform sneakers, and more bare skin than Miley—a deliberate and independent choice, according to Candy, that she believes expresses feminist power. “I have an agenda, and I’m not selling anything,” she said of her penchant for nudity and raunchy dance moves, adding that not all pop stars fall into the same category. “I don’t want to say any names, but there’s a difference between being knowledgeable about what you’re doing, and doing it because someone is behind you, telling you to do it. You don’t have to be the most genius fucking person in the world to tell when a woman taking her clothes off is authentic, and when it’s sad.”

“I see her as a blank canvas, and I just want to elevate her,” said Formichetti. “I love who she is. She’s very involved, and I don’t want her to suddenly become a new person.” Indeed, Candy has maintained her raw, sometimes shocking appearance. But these days, the braids have been traded for finger waves, the teeny bikinis for custom Olima Atelier bustiers.

“She’s queen of the freaks!” laughed Formichetti, when asked about the video wardrobe, which includes upwards of twenty-five ensembles, among them a Gareth Pugh trenchcoat, bespoke Alexis Bittar jeweled masks, and leather Diesel duds covered in plastic gems that the stylist found in Chinatown.

The “freak” element, as well as the overall concept of the film—which traces Candy’s evolution from a skinhead exacting revenge on a man who’s just robbed her, to a glammed-out queen of the night who becomes a gluttonous, glitter-covered monster—both stem from Candy’s primary inspiration, Paris Is Burning, the cult documentary about gay voguers in the 1980s. “That movie changed my perspective on everything,” raved Candy. “And I really related to this one moment when they’re describing opulence. Basically, the idea is that you show off so much confidence and poise that you create the impression that you’re the wealthiest, most intelligent, powerful person on the planet, and you own everything. And when those people were performing at the balls in their costumes, they were safe,” said the singer, noting that she feels most at home in underground gay clubs. In fact, the video’s theme was conceived with Formichetti at a drag bar in Tokyo, and was shot in a Bushwick warehouse filled with Candy’s friends, namely a transgender woman, a gaggle of drag queens, and her loyal posse of gay men. “We’re all freaks and outcasts, and this was meant to empower them.”

Though she asserts she “can’t predict the future,” Candy doesn’t foresee herself turning into the materialistic creature depicted in the video—mainly, she says, because she hasn’t forgotten where she came from. “I literally lived on the street and was wearing outfits made of paper because that’s all I could afford,” said Candy. (Side note: She actually grew up in the L.A. suburbs but fell on hard times after her mother and father—the CEO of Hustler Casinos—didn’t quite understand her artistic pursuits.) With that in mind, she and Formichetti aimed to champion other outré up-and-coming talents, like Nasir Mazhar, Charlie Le Mindu, and Natasha Morgan, by incorporating their designs in the film.

Even so, Candy has undergone quite the transformation—aesthetic and otherwise—since she set out to become a star. Best known for songs like “I Wanna Fuck Right Now,” the artist has toned down her lyrics in “Opulence,” the first single she’s released under RCA. “I worked with Sia and she felt the vibration I was putting out, but she said to me, ‘You have two paths you can follow. You can keep doing what you’re doing, or you can tone it down and go that much further.’ I don’t really let anything cloud my head, but I thought, If that’s going to help me speak to a broader audience, that’s fine. I’ll just ramp up my imagery.” And ramp it up she did—in one scene, Candy rolls around on the screen covered in blood, touching herself, while wearing lingerie, three crowns, and a fur coat gifted to her by Formichetti.

So did she sell out? “No. The lyrics were my decision. It’s a smarter way to go. And it’s just a different vehicle.” It’s a vehicle that Formichetti supports. “I like that I can sing along with it now,” he said. “And we need more freaky people in the mainstream.” No doubt, Candy is pushing her way into pop culture—she has another Diesel campaign in the works, and she’ll be starting a small tour this May. Naturally, Formichetti will be making the costumes. But is pop culture ready for Candy? “I think so,” said Formichetti. “I hope so. She’s in between edgy and crazy and pop, and that is where the magic happens.”

The Brooklyn Museum’s Going Head Over Heels


LouboutinWe’re the first to admit that heels are a powerful thing. Each season we manage to add a few (or a dozen) must-have pairs to our overstuffed wardrobes. And why? Is it because heels are sexy? Flattering? Outfit-making? Or just fun to wear? The Brooklyn Museum will explore these questions (and many more) with its upcoming exhibition Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe. On view from September 10, the exhibit will feature 160 heels from as early as the 17th century to today. A main focus will be the sculptural, architectural, and artistic qualities of high heels, which range from the wearable to the avant-garde. On one end of the spectrum will be designs by household names like Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Chanel, and Roger Vivier, on the other, conceptual styles by Iris van Herpen, Elsa Schiaparelli, Zaha Hadid, and many more.

Highlights from the exhibit include Marilyn Monroe’s Ferragamo stilettos from 1959; silk, metal, and glass mules by Vivier for House of Dior from 1960; Céline’s mink-covered pumps from Spring ’13; eight-inch platforms designed by Rem D. Koolhaas for Lady Gaga; and mind-bending 3-D-printed heels by Van Herpen.

In addition to the show, there will be a fully illustrated catalog with essays by Stefano Tonchi, Lisa Small, and Caroline Weber, as well as six short films inspired by high heels. The films were commissioned from artists including Steven Klein, Nick Knight, and Marilyn Minter. The full exhibition will also be traveling to other venues, which have yet to be announced.

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe will run from September 10, 2014 through February 15, 2015 at the Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238. For more information, visit

Photo: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum 

At Long Last, Kate Moss for Alexander McQueen


Kate Moss for Alexander McQueen

Kate Moss for Alexander McQueen

Given her close relationship with the house and the late designer, it’s somewhat surprising that Kate Moss has never fronted an Alexander McQueen campaign. This season, however, the brand has remedied that, and tapped the forty-year-old supe to star in its Steven Klein-lensed Spring ’14 ads, two of which debut exclusively here. Barefaced and clad in Sarah Burton’s black leather and gold warrior wares, Moss sports an acid orange pixie cut in the snaps—a touch that lends the images a Fifth Element-meets-Hunger Games vibe. (Fitting, considering McQueen frocks pop up on more than a few occasions in Catching Fire.) Also starring in the ads is a sufficiently unnerving mini Moss doll, who’s styled to match the model. We imagine that the toy’s role will become clear in Klein’s film for the brand. Inspired by the voyeuristic 1960s British thriller, Peeping Tom, the short is set to go live on McQueen’s Web site at 8 a.m. EST. Can Moss top her ghostly Fall 2006 performance for the house, in which she was projected onto the designer’s runway as a floating hologram? Head over to to find out.

Photos: Steven Klein