What’s Going On December 3rd?
In today’s post, I will be returning to the beautiful, magical world of one of my very favourite fashion photographers, who’s exquisite vision of the world has once more leaked straight from his imagination across the glossy pages of December’s Vogue. I am talking, of course, about Tim Walker.
Although I have already written a cheeky post about my love for Walker’s work here, his latest shoot, “Made in Britain,” celebrates the best and brightest of British talent, both old and new, through portraits of all those faces who have been looking at us from billboards and magazines throughout 2013. This post is a celebration of those faces, of Tim Walker, and of British talent.
It is, of course, Kate Moss who dominates this shoot. One of the most successful supermodels of all time, Moss appears before Walker’s lens in a variety of guises, from “modern rambler” to paparazzi magnet. In one of the shots, she’s even got an owl on her head.
Model Karen Elson also plays a recurring role, both in this shoot and throughout Walker’s body of work. Elson is one of the photographer’s favourites, and with her distinctive hair and powerful features, it is easy to see why.
“I have always been fascinated by her face, it has an antique quality,” says Walker. “If you look at Elizabethan portraiture, there is often a motif in the painting and the serpent was symbolic of transformation immortality.”
Although, maybe Walker has, in this shoot, found a new muse; at only sixteen years old, Jean Campbell made her modelling debut in Vogue in October 2013, and, as Walker rightly points out, she has a bright future ahead of her.
“She is the beginning of a story,” he says. “It is so interesting to watch someone at the very start of their career, if modelling is what Jean chooses. I’ve known her since she was a child; she’s got that angelic face and hair. Ultimately she is all about optimism and hope and the freshness of youth. That’s why there are the green runner beans – she’s more kitchen garden than rose garden. In fact, she’s a beanpole!”
However, it is not only fashion models who find themselves scrutinised by Walker’s lens; the new generation of young, innovative British designers are also well-represented. The portrait of Gareth Pugh is as playful and unusual as his designs themselves, designs which describes as being about “the struggle between lightness and darkness;” an interplay which is also reflected in this monochromatic image. The silk coat Pugh wears was originally part of a collection the designer created for a short film in 2011; “I had of course worked with inflatable garments in the past,” he says of the whacky piece, “but mostly to alter the shape of the body and accentuate the limbs. For this piece I wanted something that would grow from an elegant, draped mass of liquid-like fabric into a huge shape that enveloped and obscured the body.”
Turn the page, and you are confronted by the mass of dark hair and bright pink attire of Simone Rocha, who only yesterday won the award for Emerging Womenswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards. For this shoot, she had to blow endless pink bubbles, so that Walker could capture the perfect image of her; however, Rocha announces that “it is the perfect picture of myself,” once more proving Walker’s knack for capturing an individual’s personality in a single picture.
The dark, moody portrait of Christopher Kane could not be further away from the neon-bright image of Rocha. The highly acclaimed British designer established his own label in 2006, and since then the only direction he has gone is up. Accompanying this portrait, in which lightning seems to strike Kane’s buzzing, illuminated brain like inspiration from the heavens, are his own word on what British fashion means to him; “British style and creativity is not about conformity; it is about being fearless – and for me, working on what I believe.”
We return to the eccentric with Walker’s portrait of milliner Stephen Jones, who’s witty, extravagant hats can be found anywhere from the catwalk to the heads of royalty. One of the most radical and prolific milliners to have come out of the past few decades, this portrait reflects Jones’ impeccable style and whimsical extravagance.
“Being shot by Tim Walker, you become the character on the inside, but you show it on the outside,” says JW Anderson, director of his own label and Loewe’s new creative director; and all this at only twenty-nine years old. This compelling portrait captures your gaze just as Anderson himself has captured the imagination of the fashion world in recent years.
This shoot is definitely one of my favourites from Walker’s work, because it really captures the verve and creativity coming out of the British fashion industry at the moment. The individuality of each portrait and the imaginative genius with which Walker executes them really does prove that Britain is a very exciting place to be if you’re young and in love with fashion.
Happy December 3rd!