Last night, as part of London College of Fashion’s Inside the Industry series, I was lucky enough to meet Nick Knight. Waiting in the queue was electric. Normal people might be excited by Iggy Azalea or Kim Kardashian, but nothing will make a fashion student squeal with joy more than an industry icon. We all knew that this was a BIG DEAL, and several times I heard someone shriek, “OMG, I’m so excited”.
Greeted by rapturous applause, the image-maker, and Director of SHOWstudio, calmly took his seat to be interviewed by loveable Colin McDowell and Head of College Frances Corner, OBE. Wearing his signature single-breasted black suit (“I don’t want to look like what people imagine a fashion photographer to look like”), Nick has an aura of relaxed self-confidence.
My love affair with Love covers continues with the latest edition of the magazine, which sees transsexual model Lea T. and a masculine-styled Kate Moss lock lips for the androgyny issue, bluntly titled, “This is hardcore”.
Editor Katie Grand told the Telegraph how she met Riccardo Tisci’s muse, Lea T., remembering, “I was by the pool at the Copacabana Palace Hotel when I saw her. At first I didn’t notice her gender; just that she was wearing Givenchy couture and looked amazing!”
Lea, born Leandro Cerezo, the son of Brazilian football player Toninho Cerezo, was discovered by Givenchy’s creative director Riccardo Tisci. She went on to star in his campaigns, pose for French Vogue and the cover of Italian Vanity Fair. I wrote an in-depth article about her: here
The striking image for Love, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, will no doubt see issues flying off the shelves. Unfortunately, this will probably be over-shadowed by the simultaneous Justin Bieber cover, as Beliebers or Bieberites (or whatever the hell the kids are calling themselves these days) scramble over themselves to own anything and everything with his face on it.
Renowned for releasing multiple covers per issue, it appears that Justin Bieber’s feminine looks have landed him the tounge-in-cheek cover shot. Although it hasn’t been released how the Bieber/Love connection was made, I wonder if the singer was informed that his cover would in fact be for the androgyny issue. I hope the answer is yes, and that the performer, who has even inspired a website, ‘Lesbians who look like Justin Bieber‘, where readers can send in pictures of female lookalikes, was fair game.
The latest issue of bi-annual Love magazine goes on sale on February 7th.
I’ve always harboured the idea that humans are voyeuristic creatures and that, in fact, voyeurism isn’t an abnormal, psychological disorder but basic human nature that we all experience to some degree. We like watching other human behaviour, this is proved by the popularity of programmes such as Big Brother, I’m A Celebrity and Laguna Beach during the last decade. However, beyond the contrived entertainment of “reality” television we’re really interested in the perverse, the freakish and the unacceptable.
For hundreds of years populations of socially “advanced” countries would gather to watch public executions, the romans built magnificent coliseums to watch men be attacked by wild animals and gladiator’s fight until death, human freak shows were popular until the early twentieth century. These aren’t the irrelevant people of the past; this would be us, now, if legalities and equality laws weren’t introduced and if it wasn’t considered “socially unacceptable”. Even the internet, arguably one of the greatest inventions of all time, is crammed full of porn to suit every fetish and perversion.
The other week I went to the Exposed exhibition at the Tate museum, which is subtitled “Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera”. It examines the various ways in which the camera has been used to act as the undetected eye spying on us, focusing on that part of photography which has concerned itself with the unacceptable: ogling, peeping and lying.
Legendary melancholic fashion photographer, Corrine Day, passed away on Friday August 27th after an on-going battle with brain cancer.
Raised in Ickenham, west London by her grandmother, Day had a turbulent childhood. She had claimed that her mother ran a brothel – which was, probably, half-way to explaining her attitude towards sex and her annoyance at the sexualisation of fashion – while her tearaway father was emotionally distant.
After leaving school without many qualifications, Day’s first job was as a courier where, during one flight, a photographer told her she should be a model. Taking his advice, despite being only 5ft 6in and considered too short for the catwalk, Day appeared in adverts in the US and Australia, and catalogues in Japan. There she met her lifetime partner Mark Szaszy, who taught her how to use his camera. Eventually they settled in Milan, where Day began photographing other struggling young models.
This week Chanel unveiled their newest campaign, for the reopening of the brands SoHo store, which featured (Lagerfeld’s obsession) Baptiste Giabiconi and plus-size phenomenon Crystal Renn.
While the Daily Mail unnecessarily griped at the fact the photograph only showed Renn’s face – in the same week Liz Jones decided women with big boobs were sluts – the campaign was generally reported as a change in attitude towards plus size models. If Karl Lagerfeld, who has notoriously outspoken views on larger women, can use and photograph a plus size model for Chanel then there’s no reason why other designer’s can’t do the same.
I know that this is ancient now but, still.
Lily Cole easily slips into the role of a screen siren for work found in May’s Elle France. Inspired by by the iconic film noir era, photographer Kayt Jones captures the lovely redhead in Aime le Cinema, where Lily dons a wardrobe of all Dior styled by Christopher Niquet.
The eighth and final cover: Sienna Miller (The Pinup)
For the fourth issue of Love magazine two covers a day are being released throughout this week on models.com, to reveal eight collectable covers. The highly anticipated issue will be on newsstands August 23, with the bonus treat of an iPad app available simultaneously to download for free.
Released so far: Alessandra Ambrosio (The Angel), Rosie Huntington Whiteley (The Siren), Gisele Bundchen (The Bombshell), Lauren Hutton (The Heroin), Agyness Deyn (The Rebel), Barbie aka Ms Perfect (who looks suspiciously like Gemma Ward: The Mannequin) and Kelly Brook (The Sweetheart), which was just released as I was writing this.
Images shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.
As the muse of Givenchy’s creative director Riccardo Tisci, supermodel Lea T has graced the catwalk at the label’s recent Haute Couture show and stars in their new campaign. However the 28-year-old Brazilian model, and newest fashion rising-star, was actually born Leandro Cerezo and is currently undergoing hormone replacement therapy in preparation for a full sex-change.
While it is rare for a transgender model to break into high fashion as Lea has done, she is not the first to have experienced success in the industry. Last year transgender actress and model Patricia Araujo got a standing ovation at Rio de Janiero Fashion Week and was described as the event’s most spectacular model.
A fan of androgyny, bisexuality and all things that blur the line between gender stereotypes, when I first read about this story I thought that this was the beginning of something special. However, Lea’s career choice, and the success she’s experienced in it, has still provoked the anger of her Catholic family.