I was rummaging through my old Vogue magazines the other day trying to find some kind of inspiration for this column.
What I ended up doing instead was gazing through the magnificent photographs, reliving the stories over and over again as I gazed at the wonderful fashions and the interesting settings.
And then it came to me. We see the photographs in every fashion magazine, showcasing the latest trends and styles in intriguing and interesting ways, but who is behind the camera?
Behind the lenses are creative geniuses who bring fashion to life.
They let us into a fantasy world in a way words simply cannot do.
So here is a look at my favorite fashion photographers of all time. They are all different in their own ways, yet they provide the same thing: glorious, glossy photographs.
Born in Paris in the 1940s, Demarchelier moved to New York City in the 1970s and started as a freelance photographer before finding his niche in fashion photography.
From the beginning, his talent was showcased on the covers of Elle, Marie Claire and the fashion photographer’s dream: Vogue.
He has worked with the top dogs of the fashion hierarchy, including Ralph Lauren, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein and Chanel.
Since 1992, he has been the premiere photographer for Harper’s Bazaar.
He is able to take you into the world of fashion — to make you look into a world you wish to be a part of. One of his most well-known spreads was a shoot with Marc Jacobs himself dressed in drag.
While Jacobs doesn’t make the most beautiful woman, his photographs make you stop and question the motives behind them, and you see the love Jacobs has for his female audience.
His photo spreads always have a secret story, whether showcasing the provocative nature of downtown New York, the glamorous life of a Hollywood starlet or the true stories of American families, you can see the story without ever reading a word.
She began her photography career in 1970 as a staff photographer for Rolling Stone.
The magazine had just launched, launching Leibovitz’s career as well.
During her 10-year-long career at the magazine, Leibovitz fell in love with portraits and figured out that she could have a personal career on top of her professional career.
She photographed John Lennon and Yoko Ono for the cover of Rolling Stone in 1980, perfectly capturing their relationship through the portrait, showing their love in both a stimulating and vulnerable way.
One of Leibovitz’s most talked-about and controversial cover shoots was of then-15-year-old Miley Cyrus on the cover of Vanity Fair.
While the photograph sparked a litany of criticism, she stands by what she wanted the photograph to represent: a simple, classic portrait.
Aside from her beautiful portraits, Leibovitz has created a series of whimsical, alluring photographs.
My favorite is the series of Disney photographs she created featuring Hollywood’s most prominent stars. Two that were featured in Vogue were of actress Keira Knightley as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” and model Natalia Vodianova as Alice from “Alice in Wonderland.”
Before his death in 2009, Penn worked for many years at Vogue, showcasing his photography through simplicity, using mostly black, white and gray backdrops with acute angles.
A lot of his work was so ahead of its time that they are still looked at as stepping stones to the modernist era. He photographed nude shots in the early 1950s, but they weren’t exhibited until 1980.
The first Vogue I ever bought had Nicole Kidman on the cover and nothing else. No headlines, no cover stories, just the photograph of her against a black backdrop and a photo credit on the bottom of the page: Irving Penn.
That was when I first fell in love with not only Vogue, but also the photographs inside and Penn himself.
Although he is no longer alive, his presence in the magazine is still very much alive. Whether it’s inspiration pulled from a past photograph or a story retold about the photographer, Penn will never leave the pages of Vogue.
He was able to pull from his subjects the things no one else was.
He once said, “Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is one they would like to show the world … Very often what lies behind the façade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe.”
“Fashion is an endless process of elimination: in and out, now and then, new and old, right and wrong. Being among the chosen provides the nervous adrenaline on which fashion runs.”
An excerpt from the non-fiction book, “The Beautiful Fall,” which takes you behind the scenes for France’s two most famous designers, describes not only the fast-paced life of couture, but also the fast-paced life of Yves Saint Laurent, creative director of his namesake label, and Karl Lagerfeld, chief designer of Chanel (the job that would ultimately tear the two apart).
The fashion world in Paris in the 1970s was like the Hollywood elite today. If you weren’t a part of the fashion crowd, you weren’t in at all. And at the center of the couture kingdom were Laurent and Lagerfeld – two of the most talented artists of the time, and two of the biggest rivals in fashion history.
The old adage, keep your friends close and your enemies closer, couldn’t ring more true in this case. Before they became fashions biggest rivals, Laurent and Lagerfeld were great friends, meeting at the International Wool Secretariat fashion design competition in 1954. Laurent, 18, won first place and Lagerfeld, 21, received second place in coat design.
Imagine being in the presence of Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain and Hurbert de Givenchy, the original creators of the lines we know and love today. We can’t, but Lagerfeld and Laurent could. The former were judges at the competition and launched the careers of today’s designers.
At the tender age of 21, Laurent took over as couturier (creator of original garments) for one of Paris’ biggest couture houses, Dior. In a sea of designers over the age of 50, Laurent was the youngest head designer France had ever seen.
In a matter of months, Laurent changed the Dior woman that Christian Dior himself had created. Laurent gave the collection youth and spirit using free-flowing designs and shorter hemlines. At the same time, he kept in mind the ideals Christian had set forth: a changing silhouette each season to keep the momentum going and the audience intrigued.
Laurent’s first collection for Dior was on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily, serving as his coronation into Paris.
When it came to his fashion and his career, Laurent was in charge and in focus. But when it came to his life and him as a human being, Laurent was a shell. He let people control himself and did nothing to stop it. But when it came to fashion, Laurent knew exactly who he was.
Perhaps the greatest influence of Laurent was his lifelong boyfriend and business partner, Pierre Bergé, who’s voice was behind every design and sketch.
On Dec. 4, 1961, Laurent opened the house of Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), with the iconic image of the navy blue peacoat, wide leg white pants and babouche (moroccan inspired) flat slippers, making fashion history.
Laurent stood on a pedestal. He could do no wrong. The magazines loved him, the models wanted to walk for him and the wannabes wanted to just hang out with him.
He didn’t just create a brand, Laurent created the fashion show we know today: the raised catwalk, the hair and makeup, the production. He turned a simple showing of gowns into a spectacle.
Laurent was able to create not only beautiful clothes, but also an emotion. He had the ability to touch people, not through the colors or the newness, but the power to stir and evoke emotion. Laurent did everything he could to stand out from his enemy, Lagerfeld.
Lagerfeld grew up in a small town in Germany; any other facts about his childhood are widely unknown. No one really knows much about how he grew up, just that he arrived.
Lagerfeld was so adamant about forgetting his past and moving on, so much so that he made up a past to match Laurent, which, I think, lead to his ultimate jealousy of Laurent.
While Laurent’s fame grew quickly, it took Lagerfeld longer to understand where he stood in the fashion world. He moved to Paris in 1953, and in 1955, he was hired as an apprentice at Pierre Balmain. After three years, he moved on to Jean Patou, where he designed two couture collections under the house’s name.
But unlike many designers who look to France for inspiration, Lagerfeld looked to America. It was the Americans he met who taught him that fashion was no longer a question of hemlines but a question of attitude.
In 1960, Lagerfeld produced a show of skirts that were shorter than ever before.
Four years later, Lagerfeld moved to the house of Chloe, where he stayed as a designer for years. He also did freelance with Italian power-house Fendi.
In 1983, Lagerfeld finally got his big break. He took over as chief designer for Chanel, one of the greatest French couture houses.
It was this job that ultimately ended the friendship between Lagerfeld and Laurent. After all, Mademoiselle Chanel herself declared Laurent her rightful heir on national television shortly before her death.
Lagerfeld and Laurent were perfect enemies and polar opposites. While Laurent drank and experimented with drugs, Lagerfeld never drank or dabbled in drugs. Lagerfeld was working constantly, always finding new inspiration.
Laurent always had an idea of what he wanted the Yves Saint Laurent woman to be. The YSL woman was easily distinguished by her scent, her red nails, her dark lipstick and most importantly, her sex appeal and confidence.
But Lagerfeld never had such an ideal woman he wanted to impose on his collection, but rather he had a vision of himself that he wished to impose on the world.
He tried to establish a namesake house, but later found he succeeded better when designing under someone else’s ideals, rather than his own.
“The Beautiful Fall” takes you on the journey that was the lives of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. Although it is non-fiction, the wild, scandalous, unbelievable lives of these two designers reads like fiction.
It takes you through the earliest days of their careers, all the way through until the day Laurent retired. It takes you through every emotional breakdown, every near drug overdose and every relationship the two designers ever had.
If you are a fashion lover or even a fashion appreciator, “The Beautiful Fall” is one book that will shed new light on the world of fashion you once knew. It is both inspiring and dark, uplifting and sad.
“With the thrill of being chosen comes the fear of the fall from grace. Fashion’s compulsion for change means it is only ever a matter of time before you are out, rather than in, you are wrong rather than right.”
Fashion is a combination of euphoria and fear. “The Beautiful Fall” shows these ideals, through the eyes of two of the world’s greatest designers.
I was just watching Sex and the City 2, my favorite of the two movies, and the flashbacks took me back to a time when I was first discovering fashion. The luscious fabrics, the endless possibilities, it almost made me feel like a little girl again, playing dress up in my moms’ old clothes.
It seems as if each decade has a specific look that it was famous for. In the 20s it was simple and chic, the 30s was boyish charm, the 40s was influenced by WWII, the 50s brought mod to the forefront, the 60s was all about poodle skirts and leather, the 70s brought bold prints and bohemian charm, in the 80s came sportswear and shoulder pads, the 90s had…nothing good. But what about the new millennium? Do we have a signature style?
To me, we live in the greatest era. It is the era of choice, the era of creativity. Never before has fashion been so eclectic and filled with so many different styles and decisions. In the new millennium, fashion is all about you! It’s about pairing decades together to create your own look, your own signature style. We are no longer bound to one idea of what fashion is supposed to be.
And by fashion, I don’t mean wearing the best and most expensive designer clothes, because for most, it’s not realistic to spend $500 on a blouse. Study magazines, study the runways and find trends that you like and silhouettes that suit you and incorporate those into your wardrobe.
For example, the designer trio of Missoni will be launching a collaboration with Target this fall. Rosita, Angela and Margherita have created a wonderful fall collection full of 70s inspired prints with everything from furniture to sweaters. Finish off the 70s trend with a pair of wide leg jeans, or mix it up and pair a printed sweater with a pair of cigarette pants for a more modern look.
Now, for those of you just starting out in the fashion world, 70s prints can be a bit scary, so start small with a scarf or a ballet flat. Or choose an entirely different decade all together.
The 20s and 30s are great for the jeans and t-shirt kind of girls. Simple silhouettes like Calvin Klein’s latest collection which shined on the red carpets this year are stars like Emma Stone, Gwenyth Paltrow and Jennifer Lawrence.
For those of you that love a great leather jacket, channel the 60s. Pair a motorcycle style jacket with skinny jeans and pumps and maybe a scarf or statement necklace for a little oomph and modern twist.
The beauty of living in an era where we have so many choices when it comes to the clothes we wear, is that you can take the trends from the decades you love and mesh them with more modern trends to create a truly fabulous and unique ensemble.
When deciding what to wear in the morning, think of your body as your canvas. Be inspired by something and react to it. Whether it’s a movie, a painting, a book or a random person walking down the street, get inspired! Take a risk! Fashion should be fun not a chore…or a bore.
Trends will still come and go, but there will always be the possibility of choice, the possibility of making our childhood dress up days come true. You may look back 20 years from now and say “What was I thinking!” but the way I look it, isn’t it more fun to know you took a chance? Even if it didn’t exactly work out the way you visioned, you made a choice, and not everyone can make say they had the confidence to do that.
Manolo Blahnik once said, “About half my designs are controlled fantasy, 15 percent are total madness and the rest are bread-and-butter designs.”
Be crazy, go insane! And don’t be afraid to make a choice.
Two designers were on everyone’s mind at Tuesday night’s Costume Institute Gala, Alexander McQueen (whose exhibit was being premiered) and Stella McCartney (the host of the evening). Who wore what and who did it best? You’re about to find out.
One of the first pictures I saw from the evening was Anna Wintor (if you don’t know who she is, shame on you) wearing custom made couture Chanel. To say I was in awe is an understatement to say the least. The colors were dreamy, the shape was to die for, and the sequins? Phenomenal. No one knows fashion like Anna and she and Karl Lagerfeld proved no less with this amazing ensemble.
Next on my favorites list was Gwyneth Paltrow in Stella McCartney. Simplicity is key with this dress and no one could have pulled it off better than Gwyneth. All I can say is…stunning.
Another favorite is up an coming style icon, Emma Stone in Lanvin. Ever since her blonde hair debut (which is actually her natural color), Emma has been gracing red carpets dressed to perfection, and here was no different. Her pink lip popped beautifully against the floral black and grey print which looked flawless against her pale skin. Magnificent.
My last favorite is Carrie Bradshaw herself, Sarah Jessica Parker in Alexander McQueen. In one of his tamer dresses, SJP wore this beaded gown well, as like everything else she wears. My only disappointment? A hat…of the few people I saw donning hats, she is the one I was expecting the most. Oh well, maybe next year.
And now on to the fashion failures. First up, Naomi Campbell in Alexander McQueen. I simply have no words. The styling was bad, the hair was bad, it was just all wrong!
Next on the list, Beyonce in Pucci. While mermaid style gowns are usually flattering on curvy women, this dress did nothing for Beyonce’s beautiful shape. The cutout by the boobs was oddly placed, the lace did not go with the gold detail and tulle “skirt.” And the turtleneck? No thank you. I think this time hubby Jay-Z out dressed his wife.
And Last but not least, Amy Poehler in J. Mendel. Was she dressing for halloween or the Met Gala? Her hair looked odd, her make-up was downright scary, can I just ask who her stylist was? Because he or she must be fired. The dress is beautiful but I simply cannot overlook the terrible styling.
There were so many other beautifully dressed women, Ashley Greene in Donna Karan, Rachel Roy in Rachel Roy, Hailee Steinfeld in Stella McCartney and Salma Hayek in Alexander McQueen. My only wish is that I could have attended the event myself. One day…one day I will grace the red carpet, and who will I wear? The possibilities are endless.
I forgot to mention one tiny little detail…the Royal Wedding’s worst dressed.
and the winner (or loser) goes to Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice of York. The daughters of Prince Albert resembled the likes of the evil stepsisters from Cinderella rather than princesses. And what was with Beatrice’s hat? It looked more like horns if you ask me.
It looks like the two sisters should take some advice from their new cousin, Kate.
That’s all for now.
The moment every American, Englishman (or should I say woman) and every other person in love with the Royal Family…and let’s face it, we all are…finally transpired this morning. And those of us who were brave enough to wake up at 4a.m. to witness the nuptials were not disappointed.
And now for the reason for this most waited for post…the dress. We have all been spying and predicting who the mystery dress maker would be, and those of you who guessed Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen guessed right.
Although the gown was no where near a true McQueen masterpiece (normally being a juxtaposition of two mah-jor-ly different ideas joined together in one harmonious combination), it was still beyond beautiful and perfect for the occasion. Burton stayed true to the McQueen style by pairing traditional lace with a modern twist. But was Kate’s dress outshined by her sister’s?
Pippa dawned a stunning Burton creation as well. And can we talk about her body for just one second? She looked absolutely phen-om-in-al! Even Spanx can’t make someone look like that. Bravo.
All the waiting was definitely worth the while and the ceremony was beautiful. Although the kiss could have been a little more romantic in my opinion.
Stay tuned for the coronation…coming soon.
Fashion and film icon, Elizabeth Taylor died today at the age of 79, almost exactly 53 years after almost boarding the plane that crashed and killed her 3rd husband, Michael Todd. But she never dwelled on the idea of death. After so much success and years of accomplishments, she left behind a legacy that can never be filled.
Not only was she an award winning actress, she was always one to watch on the red carpet. Whether it was the tiered, antebellum-style gown she wore to the 1949 Academy Awards or the 69-Karat diamond necklace she received for her 40th birthday, she never looked over done or messy. She was the epitome of class.
Taylor always embraced the styles of the moment including graphic 70s prints, Native American fringe, bouffant hair-dos (which didn’t look good on anyone), intricate headdresses, and what she was known for most, diamonds.
Her diamond collection shocked the world but she never gave up her signature style, even creating a perfume named for her cherished gems.
This fashion icon will truly be missed and never replaced. RIP Elizabeth Taylor.
Music and fashion go hand in hand. In times of economic downfall which we have been experiencing for the last few years, there are two things that never change: music and fashion. Artists never stop recording and designers never stop sewing. So it is only fitting that the fashion be critiqued from the Grammy Awards of 2011.
Below are my picks for best and worst dressed. There were a surprising number of best dressed candidates and a low number of worst dressed along with a few OMG moments. But the tone of the Grammy Awards is much different from every other award show. These nominees are performers; they are literally putting on a show, so they are allowed to have a little fun with their wardrobe. Be extravagant. be over the top, but also be sure to not look like a hot mess.
Lady Gaga was possibly the most anticipated nominee at the Grammy’s after shocking everyone by marching through the red carpet in an egg, or rather being carried through the red carpet in an egg. Once Gaga revealed herself, she proved once again, her extravagant and avant garde costume. I had a moment of flashback to “I Dream of Jeanie” yet at the same time, a tribute Alexander McQueen with the sci-fi meets fashion ensemble only the Lady herself can pull off.
Next in the list of OMG fashion moments is the one and only Nicki Minaj, or should I say Bride of Frankenstein? Sporting what could have been a beautiful Givenchy leopard print dress, turned into an actual leopard. Maybe she should just stick to the neon wigs we love so much.
Before we move on to the successses of the night, here’s a quick run down of the other fashion fails. Lea Michele looked like she was dressed more for salsa dancing than award winning in an Emilio Pucci, John Mayer a.k.a Johnny Depp? He should just stick to his own look…breaking hearts? And last but not least, Ricki Martin in silver jeggings…enough said.
There were so many wonderful designs gracing the red carpet on Sunday that it was hard to narrow it down. But it had to be down, so here it goes. The best dressed candidates for the Grammy Awards 2011.
Many were excited to see what Rihanna would pair with her electric red hair, and she turned out to be a knock out in Jean Paul Gaultier. Leaving little to the imagination, this pop diva had fun with ruffles and shear chiffon, which is what the Grammy’s are all about.
Jewel was glowing in a radiant, one shouldered pale yellow Pamella Roland gown. The draping accentuated her baby bump in a way that almost made it look like an accessory. This is how pregnant women should dress for an award show. Maybe Natalie Portman should take some hints for the Oscars.
Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine wore a flesh toned Givenchy haute couture gown, a perfect match for her eclectic style and music. The pop of orange on the small of her back was a perfect compliment to her vibrant red hair.
Kim Kardashian in gold Kaufman Franco. This was everything Kim Kardashian should be: sexy, luscious and bodacious. Word on the street is the dress was custom made to fit her rear, which we all know from the W magazine shoot is quite bootylicious.
The newest American Idol judge, Jennifer Lopez is always a celebrity to be watched. From 2000 when she shocked the world in a revealing Versace dress to this year in a silver, mirrored Emilio Pucci micro dress, she is always one to be talked about, and she never ceases to disappoint.
And now the moment you have all been waiting for, the best and worst dressed for the Grammy Awards of 2011. These two budding starlets both began their fame on the Disney channel as young pre teens and slowly made their way to women hood…in completely different ways.
My pick for best dressed is Selena Gomez in J. Mendel. The former wizard was looking very grown up in a very good way. She showed cleavage but just enough to look her age and she is styled to perfection. She is showing the world that she is a great role model to all her adoring Disney, and Justin Beiber, fans.
And now for the worst dressed, Selena’s Disney counterpart, Miley Cyrus. While she picked a gorgeous animal print Roberto Cavalli gown, the styling turned it from fab to drab. The many bracelets resembled hand cuffs (a forehadowing of her future? Let’s hope not), and her too long extensions took away from the dress’s true beauty. All in all, the former Hannah Montana looked overdone, overcrowded and over being a Disney star.
So there you have it, a break down of the 2011 Grammy fashion. Stay tuned to see what our celebs bring forth at the Academy Awards.
Peace and Love, Kelsey Q
Was anyone else as impressed with the Black Eyed Peas costumes at the Superbowl as I was?
The halftime show was the only part of the superbowl I actually watched (besides the commercials) so it’s only natural that I blog about the costumes…because they were amazing. Actually, amazing doesn’t quite cover it…more like invigorating (unlike their performance).
Fergie rocked her bedazzled football player-esque shoulder pads and how dazzling where the Tron-like light up suits? And as for the illuminating back-up dancers, all I can say is, hello next year’s top halloween costume!
The light show was truly something to see. It combined everything about the Black Eyed Peas: pop, futuristic, eclectic and theatrical; into a spectacular show that could probably be seen from space. It’s just too bad the vocals (minus Usher’s brief appearance) didn’t measure up to the energizing ensembles.
Peace and Love, KD
The SAG awards…an award show not as prestigious as the Academy Awards or the Golden Globes, yet another occasion to wear a fabulous designer gown…which is just fine with me. In fact, it’s really the only reason I find award shows worth watching.
Here are my picks for best and worst dressed. When they were good, they were great and when they were bad, I really mean awful. So take a look and let me know what you think!
Julia Stiles in Monique Lhuillier. The navy to white ambre strapless gown was To.Die.For. Paired perfectly with vintage crystal earrings and cuff, smoky make-up and lightly curled hair, Julia Stiles is my pick for number one best dressed.
My last pick for best dressed goes to Natalie Portman. The Black Swan star (and award winner) made a huge leap from her tragic fashion mishap at the Golden Globes with a beautiful white Azzaro gown. She wasn’t afraid to show off her baby bump in this dress, and her body still looks amazing!
January Jones in Carolina Herrera. I would absolutely adore this dress…if it were shorter. I almost wish is was cut off right below the knee without the mermaid effect. The gold lace and black underlay is beautiful against her pale skin and her hair is perfection. However, I’ve never been a fan of mermaid style dresses, and this is no exception.
Although it pains me to say this (and I am sorry Mr. Ferretti) but Winona, this is an award show, not a wedding. If this gown had been on Say Yes to the Dress, I would have said yes in a heartbeat, but not at the SAG awards. And her hair looked like a bad up-do making her look 5 years older. I’m sorry Ms Ryder but this was a fashion FAIL!
Oh Angie Harmon (In Monique Lhuillier), a beautiful women who made a big mistake. Again, are we on say Yes to the Dress? This looks like a Pnina Tornai gone bad…very very bad! If you are going to do a translucent bodice, the rest of the gown needs to be simple…not full of feathers.
When I first spotted Nicole Kidman, I thought she looked Fabulous with a capital F. Until she turned around. The lace cut out Nina Ricci dress is simple and elegant, so why pair a chunky necklace with it? The dress already has a high neck so no necklace is needed. It’s just too much. Remove the necklace and she just might have been at the top of my best dressed list.
So there it is, the best, the worst and the maybe’s from the 2011 SAG awards. Next up, Oscar’s!
Peace and Love, KD