Friday, September 13, 2013

Fashion Week Ends at Last: Notes from Day Eight

Fashion Week has come and gone, and I am still standing. Day Eight was the finale, with far fewer shows than previous days, but all big and all swarming with photographers. I started out the day at Ralph Lauren's show in an industrial section of Washington St, right next to the UPS shipping center, and finished it at a nondescript locale on Varick St for Calvin Klein. It was a day of bleak landscapes and bleaker weather, sticky and hot, giving way to an inevitable downpour. Luckily, I was drinking margaritas, safely tucked away in a Mexican restaurant in the West Village during the worst of it.
I'm not sure who this is, but she was my favorite model of the day, twirling and posing in a dozen different configurations, all while maintaining eye contact with my lens. 
I tried imitating a bunch of photographers' styles over the course of Fashion Week, watching them shoot and noting their techniques. Some photographers, including Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème, Youngjun Koo of I'm Koo, and Michael C. Dumler of On Abbot Kinney, prefer to run in front of their subjects, shooting in rapid fire succession, and capturing style as if it were a fleeting reminder of all of our mortality. Adam specifically asks his subjects not to look at his lens. He's avoiding the feeling of intimacy, the false sense of connection. When he shoots faces, he shoots them in extreme close-ups, effectively decapitated and decontextualized. These photographers' shots are fragmented. Their backgrounds a dense blur. For them, fashion is motion. It goes by in a split second, and then it's gone. 
outside Ralph Lauren red white blue stripe
Blogger Linda Tol, reveling in the attention and walking through traffic outside Ralph Lauren. Thanks, Simbarashe, for her name.
Others, like Tommy of Jak & JilPhil Oh of Street Peeper, and Nam of STREETFSN remain relatively stationary, preferring their models to pass by them, and keeping a sharp eye on whatever activity is happening around them. They tend to stand by themselves, and in Tommy's case, shoot with a telephoto lens, so that they don't need to get that close to their subjects. Their shots, like those of Adam and Koo, are often comprised of fragments and details, but they also shoot the surrounding scene, the chaos of the crowd, the interactions of editors and models. Of course, in the case at least of Tommy and Phil, they have a distinct advantage over other photographers. Shooting for and respectively, in addition to their own blogs, all of their subjects know them personally and will stop for them when they won't stop for anyone else. They work hard, no doubt, but they don't have to hustle the way the rest of us do. Their shots reflect this relatively relaxed position, with an intimacy and sense of presence lacking in most other peoples' work.
yellow dress happy necklace Ralph Lauren
Stylist and fashion director at Tatler Russia Anya Ziourova, wearing a "Happy" necklace outside Ralph Lauren. 
And then, of course, there's the style of Scott Schuman, The Sartorialist, which has evolved into some interesting directions in recent months. Once preferring the straight-up portrait, he now shoots his subjects most commonly in landscape mode, like the top photograph in this post, with a relatively crisp and deep depth of field and a heavy play of light and shadow. I saw Scott at a number of shows this Fashion Week, but he wasn't shooting much. Instead, he attended the shows himself. He was also busy collaborating with photographer Steve McCurry on a forthcoming short film. When he did shoot, he seemed to wander off by himself, capturing his subjects in the desolate landscapes of the city. He doesn't get caught up in the game of the other photographers, fighting for a good position amidst the crowd. He hangs out at a distance and waits for his shots. And then, of course, sometimes he just takes pictures of cool people in front of the shows like the rest of us.

Speaking of which, I dug the straightforward statement piece of the girl in the photograph above. She's not beating around the bush. No matter what people have to say about their styles at Fashion Week — "it's all about self-expression," "just being myself," etc, etc — everyone wants to be cool. It's nice when someone's chosen accessory makes that truth abundantly clear. And it's a more convincing sentiment than the matching necklace of Anya Zirouva in the photo above this one.
necklaces Anya Zirouva ralph lauren day eight
And here is what happens when two statement pieces become aware of one another.
Blogger extraordinaire Rumi Neely outside Calvin Klein
Calvin Klein was my final show of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2014. It was still drizzly out. They sky was a bright grey, letting the light through. Exhausted street style photographers lounged on steps on the side of the building as we waited for Miroslava Duma, Eva Chen, Anna Della Russo, and whatever models were in the show to walk by. Spirits among the street style starlets were running high. Those who had refused to pose earlier in the week were now posing with abandon, smiling even on occasion, and the photographers dragged themselves of the sidewalk to get their shots. I took my requisite photos of the usual suspects, shot a few models exiting the runway, then took a deep breathe, asked myself if I had what I needed, and found that I did. I said a few "goodbyes" to my fellow photographers, hopped on the 1 subway headed uptown, and caught a 3:45 Bolt Bus back to Philly. 


  1. I think your favorite model of the day is Chriselle Lim - I love her YouTube channel!

    1. ah, the collective intelligence of the Internet! Thanks.

    2. ah, the collective intelligence of the Internet! Thanks.


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