“Being on set with Avedon was heaven. I mean, it was scary at first. I would be styling and he would say, ‘What’s the surprise?’ The surprise? What the fuck is he talking about? We were shooting shoes, and so I told him that the model was wearing mauve socks. The rest of the clothes were olive and drab, but I styled in these socks. Dick asks the guy to pull his pant leg up a little bit so you could see the sock, and that was the punch of the picture. With Avedon, there’s always something to delight you.”
I spent last weekend dipping in and out of the Stylist book I bought a couple of weeks ago and can I say it was money well spent. In particular, this quote from Allure creative director Paul Cavaco resonated with me:
“Richard Avedon would ask, ‘What’s the surprise?’ And you’d go, ‘It’s the purple sock,’ so he’d go ‘Okay, move the pant leg up.’ I worked with great visual people who would ask, ‘Why am I looking at this? What is great about this girl? Yes, she’s beautiful, but they’re all beautiful. Show me what is different. Is it lipstick; is it not? What is that hand doing? Is it just shoved in the pocket? Should it be out or should it be showing a nail?’ You have all these options; what are you going to choose? The world is that open; how do you make it yours? That’s the editing process.”
Wise words. The book seems to feature mostly Conde Nast stylists (W, Vogue, Allure) which isn’t all that surprising as Style.com is behind it but Sarah Mover’s writing is spot on and it’s just so interesting to get a bit of an insight into these backstage creatives.
IMAGE: Richard Avedon
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