Back in the pre-Mert & Marcus days before ultra-sophisticated fashion, when it wasn’t all about It bags and It shoes, Elaine Constantine was one of the most in-demand photographers around. Her peak was the late nineties when every other photographer tried to imitate her energetic, brightly-lit compositions.
Her commissions included ad campaigns for Jigsaw and endless editorials for Italian Vogue and The Face with Big, Arena Homme Plus and US Vogue coming later. Youthful energy – complete with flowy hair and open-mouthed laughter – was her main trademark and the one that brought her to my attention. Her shoots involved a mix of models and ‘real people’ (often her friends) crowd-surfing, dancing, cycling and having pillow fights – in essence, simply having a good old time.
The result was a hyper-real, action-packed style that wasn’t often found in fashion photography. These days, sadly it’s all about pandering to the advertisers, so statue-still studio shoots take precedence over location shoots which also keeps the budget reined in…
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Elaine Constantine
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A few weeks ago I had a meeting with a photographer who was bemoaning the state of the magazine industry. “No one has any money, they’re all slashing their budgets, it’s a nightmare,” he droned. Oh dear, I thought. It wasn’t news of course, I know many magazines are so skint they are hardly doing any shoots, but buying in pictures from their sister editions in the US. Dire. So today I brightened when I bought the March issue of UK Harpers’ Bazaar. Bloody hell, I could hardly pick it up. It’s huge – not only thick (360 pages) but supersized, almost as big as W. And the content this month is great – Roisin Murphy’s fashion picks, a scrap-book style catwalk roundup, interviews with Sofia Coppola and Luella Bartley and a profile of YSL.
The fashion shoots aren’t my bag (way too grown up) but I did like the Balmain dress with the nomad headscarves and the girl with the naughty cigarette.
To me the supersizing is a good move. If the offline magazine industry is seriously threatened by online publications then this sends out a clear message – “We’re significant and we’re here to stay”. Amen to that.
As much as I adore fashion and popular culture, I have to admit I have no clue about contemporary music. Pardon me but I’m still catching up on all the old 60s soul, 70s disco and 80s punk music I haven’t yet listened to.
So even though I’ve heard of Kanye West I wouldn’t actually recognise his music if I was to ever come across it. All this mattered not one whit when I witnessed his apartment in US Harper’s Bazaar recently. Oh. My. God. This gaff is stuffed to the rafters with pop-tastic furniture, fashion and ‘objets’.
A stack of Louis Vuitton luggage may not sound that original to you but this guy has like, a tower of ten multicoloured monogrammed LV cases piled several feet high and the effect is totally museum-worthy. Then there’s the neon-green outsized Marc Newson Dom Perignon bottle grazing next to a Maurice Calka white fibreglass Boomerang desk.
Did I mention the super-sized Takashi Murakami flower-shaped pillows? This is my fantasy apartment and it all looks totally authentic. Even if it’s been interior-decorated you can absolutely believe the ideas have come from West when you see his collection of sci-fi-style sunglasses and OTT-print Bathing Ape sweats. West describes this look as Pop Luxe and I think he’s onto something.
Next in the pipeline is his clothing range, Pastelle – if it’s anything like his apartment I await it with baited breath.