Five years ago today the world lost a visionary artist, fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen. His work is set to be honoured in the forthcoming exhibition Savage Beauty at the V&A in March 2015. Alongside this major retrospective, SHOWstudio will be celebrating McQueen's groundbreaking work with Nick Knight, re-editing and revealing previously unseen footage from photo shoots and interviews filmed by Knight over the course of their working relationship.
Quick to emphasise the immersive experience of a McQueen production - ‘there’s darkness and danger and absolute beauty’ - Elson reveals what it was like to work with famed creatives such as ‘the incredible' Michael Clark for They Shoot Horses Don’t They? She describes the directions the models were given and process of transformation they underwent in hair and make-up, declaring, ‘it was profoundly beautiful … honestly my favourite ever fashion show experience ever. I mean ever, ever.’ Elson also discusses her model idols growing up - including ‘wildcard’ Kristen McMenamy and Kate Moss - and confesses falling behind the scenes at McQueen’s S/S 04 show, resulting in her being impaled on the sharp accessories and the designer holding her ‘so tenderly, to make sure that I didn’t fall again’ during the finale.
Watch this unmissable interview now and don’t forget to explore the rest of the series, including Elson on her first shoot with photographer Steven Meisel for Italian Vogue.
SHOWstudio is delighted to present an exhibition of Nick Knight’s fine art prints opening 19 March 2015. Curated to celebrate Knight's dynamic collaborations with Alexander McQueen, and to coincide with the opening of Savage Beauty at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the exhibition showcases Knight's arresting re-imaginings of McQueen's collections.
Similarly daring in their approach to fashion, the pair have been equally revered in their respective fields. In their hands, fashion, flesh and form were as malleable as each roll of fabric, length of film or digital file. Bodies and bodices were slashed, structured and stitched to produce imagery and attire flung from the furthest corners of the psyche.
Printed in monumental scale, the visual tapestries that Knight created for McQueen are being shown together for the first time at SHOWstudio’s gallery in Knightsbridge. Knight's futuristic rendering of Devon Aoki in McQueen for the cover of Visionaire 20 (1997) is one of his most enduring. The young model appears as a wild cyborg one-eyed geisha whose forehead has been sliced open and is held together with a safety pin. In a surreal twist, the wound does not spring forth droplets of blood but flowers with pink cherry blossoms. The following year, the photographer and designer produced an iconic editorial for McQueen’s guest edited issue of Dazed & Confused magazine titled Fashion-Able (1998). Unprecedented within the realm of fashion, the project featured a number of disabled models in order to challenge ideas of what can be considered beautiful. In Knight's striking compositions, dancer David Toole’s pose is one of pure strength and agility while athlete Aimee Mullins’ alabaster skin merges with fibreglass prosthesis in a display of pure ardour, accomplishment and allure. They signalled the forging of a future in which human value and aesthetic beauty are not determined in comparison to a myth of a perfect norm.
The images featured in this exhibition are some of the most elaborate and technically engineered of the pair's generation and during an interview with Knight for SHOWstudio in 2009, McQueen revealed that he saw illuminations of his dreams and his nightmares in them. In Blade of Light (2004) Knight interpreted McQueen's vision of a bus queue of people wearing his Spring/Summer 2004 Deliverance collection being struck by a shooting comet. Michael Clark was enlisted to choreograph the moment of sheer energy of the strike and it was performed by members of his company alongside models such as Lily Cole. The resulting tableau embodies unbridled chaos and beautiful order simultaneously.
For McQueen’s celebrated Spring/Summer 2010 collection Plato’s Atlantis, (which was the first fashion show to be streamed live via the internet and was done so on SHOWstudio.com), Knight photographed Raquel Zimmerman beneath an undulating mass of snakes. Again the boundaries of the human body were blurred and the highly complex digital print on her apparel becomes almost like a second skin. In Knight's dazzling description of pattern and colouring, Zimmerman’s body, the garment and the wider natural world are synthesised into one hypnotic fantasy.
Missed last week's round-up panels? Don’t fret, you can still revisit all of the highs and lows of London, Milan and Paris A/W 15 menswear and haute couture S/S 15, as chaired by our own Lou Stoppard, with on-demand footage.
Re-live the London Collections: Men with i-D’s Steve Salter, E. Tautz’s Patrick Grant and The Independent’s Alexander Fury. The panel of industry experts discussed the allegiance to sportswear in youth culture versus ‘the boring grey suit’ of Saville Row.
Watch fashion director Catherine Hayward, AnOther’s David St John-James and stylist Andrew Davis discuss the gender fluidity and label-less luxury seen on the Milan runways, as well as the change of creative director at Calvin Klein and Gucci.
Creative consultant Mimma Viglezio, MATCHESFASHION.COM’s Chris Hobbs and MACHINE-A’s Stavros Karelis covered Paris and the changing silhouette of the male figure, along with the power of tribe-like followings, and the aftermath of full frontal nudity at Rick Owens.
Finally, Style Bubble blogger Susanna Lau, Alexander Fury and curator Shonagh Marshall explored the strange synchronicity between Raf Simons and Karl Lagerfeld and the return of Galliano in a truly absorbing haute couture discussion.
Catch up now, and stay tuned for our coverage of New York womenswear A/W 15, beginning this Thursday 12 February.
In his week at the helm of the SHOWstudio Tumblr, the writer and CSM lecturer flooded our dashboards with a whole array of gems collected over the course of his career as a fashion editor. With polaroids from the Moschino archive, hand-drawn illustrations, a cassette of a 1990 Valentino show soundtrack, cut-outs from 1980s Elle and invitation snippets to the shows of every designer from Walter Van Beirendonck to Flyte Ostell.
Filmmaker and SHOWstudio regular Joseph Lally revisits his re-occurring theme of feminine beauty and fragility in his latest cinematic endeavour Burning. Inspired by the song of same title by Umuvova (which features in the soundtrack), Lally’s film examines the subject of women who burn out in pursuit of glamour and stars a Marc Jacobs-clad Caroline Forsling.
Central Saint Martins professor and fashion writer Iain R. Webb has created a veritable treasure trove of old invites, trinkets, tear sheets, and show ephemera over on the SHOWstudio Tumblr in his role as this month's guest curator.
In SHOWstudio tradition, Webb follows on from previous guest curators - Alexander Fury, Alistair O'Neill and Michel Gaubert amongst them - in taking over the platform for the first week of the month, sharing gems collected over the course of his career. So far Webb's posts include Versace safety pins, a Vivienne Westwood rosette, scribbled reviews and copy, invitations galore (Zandra Rhodes, Miu Miu, Moschino and more), not to mention imagery from favourite editorials to front-row-snaps and club night dressing-up efforts.
Check out Webb's guest curation right now on the penultimate day of his takeover and be sure to keep an eye out for his final, unmissable posts.
Tomorrow our signature discussion panels move on to Paris, with our panels of industry experts unpicking the city of light's latest menswear and haute couture offerings.
Tune in tomorrow, 6 February at 11:30 GMT to watch MATCHESFASHION.COM's Chris Hobbs, MACHINE-A founder Stavros Karelis and creative consultant Mimma Viglezio ponder Paris' A/W 15 menswear collections live.
Next up at 15:30 GMT our editor Lou Stoppard will be joined by The Independent's Alexander Fury and pioneering blogger Susie Bubble, with the world's most exquisite, labour intensive and loftily priced gowns providing food for thought.
Don't forget to cast your eye over our Collections coverage, and re-watch all our panel chats from the season.
10 Magazine’s eitor-in-chief Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou invited Nick Knight to redefine traditional notion of the pin-up, photographing twelve Victoria's Secret 'Angels '- Jourdan Dunn, Sui He, Cindy Bruna, Ming Xi, Devon Windsor, Behati Prinsloo, Lais Ribeiro, Barbara Fiahlo, Lily Donaldson, Lily Aldridge, Joan Smalls and Candice Swanepoel - over five days. The epic shoot featured staggering sets by Andrew Tomlinson (ranging from gold leaf walls and a hall of mirrors to a bath of milk) and beauty by Eamonn Hughes and Laura Dominique. As well as being photographed, each model was 3D scanned by SHOWstudio’s digital art director Jon Emmony.
Immerse yourself in the fashion story and watch the process behind the making of the images in our uncut shoot footage. You can also see Knight's final shots of the cover girls in our editorial gallery, alongside twelve looping films, one for each 'Angel', that capture their beauty in 3D. Don’t forget to snap up your own copy of the Sensuality issue of 10 at SHOWstudio Shop. Which cover will you choose?
Here is a video I love.
Produced by Cktrl x Larry B
Visual Directed by Loren Platt & William Pine
The first instalment from London based collective FAM (http://familyartmusic.com/)
Credits & Links
CKTRL // https://soundcloud.com/cktrl
LARRY B // https://soundcloud.com/itsonlylarry
Loren Platt // http://lorenplatt.com/
William Pine // https://vimeo.com/williampine
Grooming by Bobana Parojcic // http://bobanaparojcic.com/
Location The Depot Clapton East London // http://thedepotclapton.com/
Mourning the end of menswear? Join us live as SHOWstudio editor Lou Stoppard and host of industry experts round-up the A/W 15 men's collections.
First up, on Thursday 5 February, designer Patrick Grant, i-D's Steve Salter and The Independent's Alex Fury will be unpicking the London shows at 13:00 GMT. This will be followed by an overview of Milan with stylist Andrew Davis, Esquire's Catherine Hayward and fashion director David St John-James at 16:00 GMT. Finally, on Friday 6 February MATCHESFASHION.COM's Chris Hobbs and MACHINE-A founder Stavros Karelis will be pondering Paris at 11:30 GMT.
In the meantime, revisit the highlights of the season with our Collections coverage, featuring curated social media feeds, show reports and on-demand panel discussions!
Inspired by Peggy Guggenheim’s art salons, Aaron Rose has cast his latest film for Swedish retailer COS - The Bubble - with some of NYC's key cultural protagonists - Tom Sachs, Glenn O’Brien, Jeffrey Deitch, Petra Collins, Leo Fitzpatrick, Aaron Young and more, all moodily entwined at Max Fish.
Watch a new adidas fashion film exclusively on SHOWstudio!
To celebrate the launch of the S/S 15 adidas Originals x SPEZIAL collection, we’re proud to present a new short film by Nick Griffiths and &SON Films. Inspired by SPEZIAL curator Gary Aspden’s own journey into adidas' archives (his starting point for the design of the range), the film tells the story of a fan’s trip from Munich to the house where Adi Dassler once lived.
‘For adidas fans there has always been a romanticism around the brand’s birthplace in Herzogenaurach,’ explained Aspden. ‘A young man on a homage to Adi’s villa reflects the ideology behind the adidas Originals x SPEZIAL range. A new generation inspired by the foundations of this sportswear institution.’
Shot on location between Munich and Herzogenaurach, the film’s haunting score is by Atticus Ross, the Academy Award-winning composer behind the music of Gone Girl, The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
SHOWstudio is delighted to present Flow, a new fashion film by SHOWstudio regular Laura Falconer. A collaboration between the young filmmaker and choreographer Russell Maliphant, the dynamic film is an exploration of fashion in motion and features a piece from Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen’s Biopiracy show. As Falconer explains; ‘The fabric of Iris' dress is fascinating, the light dances across it as it moves. Working with Russell and Carys Staton (the dancer) enabled me to showcase this with energetic elegance.’
We're almost halfway through Iain R. Webb's Tumblr takeover! The writer and professor has been busy posting tickets, tear-sheets and trinkets from his many years covering the collections. Expect everything from front-row snaps with Mario Testino to a safety pin from Gianni Versace.