Story Time: The Cross-Country Making of Punk-ette Thursday 23 August, 2012
A behind-the-scenes look at the styling of Beauty Launchpad’s beauty editorial, Punk-ette.
What you may not know about Fear No Beauty contributor Jillian Gordon: She’s my co-worker, and we spend a smallish portion of our day IM-ing back and forth about work…with a little bit of girl talk spliced in for good measure. Why the Instant Messaging? Because Jillian is based in Los Angeles and I am 3,000 miles away, nestled in good ol’ Manhattan. You would think that when pulling together a photo shoot, the expanse of America that is sandwiched between us would greatly hinder the end result. Not so.
I recently helped Jillian (who produced and directed this shoot) imagine Punk-ette, a hair story that found its first footing in that cyber-punk gal the fashion world has fallen for: Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. When thinking about the clothing direction, I revisited the David Fincher-directed version of this movie (if you haven’t seen it, it’s riveting…amazing), and studied the look of this slightly crazy, maddeningly smart young punk who’s both undeniably vulnerable and unnervingly strong. (Again, you really must see this movie; Rooney Mara‘s performance is mesmerizing.) Immediately, I started sourcing a palette of black, grey and white, with bits of silver and royal blue, with an eye on designers like Rick Owens, Kimberly Ovitz and Helmut Lang. Because black falls flat in photos, I sought pieces with texture: either sweaters with loose knitting so you can see through them or pieces trimmed in distressed leather. I honed in on jewelry with jagged edges, skulls, industrial-looking materials like electrical wiring, and tons of dangling spiked daggers. I sent it all off to Jillian, who, with some of my direction, deftly pulled it together to help inform this electric shoot that is, surprisingly, the first one we’ve done for this particular magazine. Here, a look behind the scenes.
As shoots are want to do, some elements changed the day of. Our cyber-punk’s hard edge became softened by pops of sweet color, such as canary yellow eye shadow or petal-pink cheeks, expertly painted on by makeup artist Heidi Stanton.
The “pop of color” trend goes electric, with hair extensions that are extraordinarily vibrant, yet made more gritty with slices of black.
During the shoot, Jillian would shoot me iPhone pics of each outfit she pulled together throughout the day. There’s always a few items that I pull that I feel a particular kinship with; I want them shot NO MATTER WHAT. That day, there were two particular pieces that fit this bill: a gorgeous royal blue chubby fur by BSABLE and these David Lerner leather banded pants, which you can only see a little bit of here, and sadly didn’t show much in the image they’re in.
The shoot’s hairstylist, Jason Stanton, wanted to weave a story of a wealthy girl gone gritty, a girl who done gone down the rabbit hole into a punk world. If you read the whole story, you’ll see an Aubrey Hepburn-esque updo that signifies her sweeter, more elegant roots.
Hair shoots meant to be digested by the pros—meaning, hairstylists—often have this hyper-real feel. It’s not really like opening up your newest issue of Allure and thumbing to the back of the book for the glossed beauty editorials. These feel futuristic, even if the theme isn’t set in the future. For our shoot, though, we desired this next-gen feel, and the photographer, Teren Oddo, thought shooting on a green screen and dropping in high-tech-esque backgrounds would achieve this.
I loved the idea of the model’s face being mostly in shadow; it infused some mystery into the story. Plus, the light hitting that leather collar and epaulette is pretty awesome.
You have no idea how much I went gaga for this shot. Every element spoke to perfection: The way the light hits her body and the pants (though you can’t see the pants so much in this crop; sad really); how the jacket looks like it’s edged in fire; how the Fallon necklace hits her breastbone perfectly; how her expression feels a little tortured. When I cycled through the shots from this series, I kept coming back to this one. And so did all of the other editors. You know when you have a winner.
I just wrapped another shoot that I can’t wait to share; totally different vibe than this. And I’m actually working remotely on another shoot today that’s all about cray-cray nails that’s being shot by the amazingly talented Albert Sanchez. (If you like Sephora—and I bet you do—he’s shot some of the store’s campaign images, particularly some of the more fanciful ones for Tarina Tarantino.)
All in a day’s work!
(Behind the scenes photos: Lizzy Sherman; magazine photos: Teren Oddo for Beauty Launchpad)