21st February, 2013 Interview Trey Taylor Photography Andrew Vowles
Catwalk images can be stale so, for his lookbook, Christopher Shannon teamed with a select few to come up with something different. Best described as ‘giddy’, Shannon’s take on Spring-Summer 2013 shot by Andrew Vowles is snap, crackle, and pop. Craig Green, a designer in his own right, creates contrast headwear pieces for the collection, while make-up artist Lauren Parsons gives the collection the floral effect. Butterflies on faces, moptops and Kickers collab footwear make this lookbook giddy, indeed.
We spoke to both Christopher and Andrew about their collaboration.
Trey Taylor: Is it difficult to revisit something that is coming up to a year old?
Christopher Shannon: Depends on the piece of work. SS13 is going into stores now so it’s nice to see all the production looking nice and selling well. I think it’s useful to look back a bit and see which pieces you feel good about and what you would change; not that there’s anything you can do apart from learn from it. I enjoyed working on SS13. It’s quite giddy next to AW13 but that’s okay, moods change.
I read this collection was inspired a bit by James Pearson-Howes’ British Folk series. Did you try to incorporate that into the lookbook?
Not so much. There was such a mood in the pieces that we didn’t really need to think about it when it came to the pictures. For the lookbook I was keen to document the catwalk looks away from the runway, to see the models in a different mood. There are always so many catwalk photos and I find them the hardest to look at. With a lookbook you have a bit more control and take a little more time.
How did you want your collection to feel in its presentation?
Just really, really upbeat. A couple of things aided the direction. Firstly, when I saw the venue – which was the Old Sorting Office – it felt like a perfect backdrop. It’s such a contrasting space to a spring summer collection and that made me what to add more summer elements; to see those presented in such a vast dirty concrete space was nice. I was listening to a lot of Tune Yards, the album has this quite manic clunky quality which seemed really right, and we used it for the show music too.
Why did you choose Andrew to shoot the lookbook? What was it about his style that you liked?
We have worked together on quite a few things now. He first did the AW12 lookbook with me, which I really loved. His style is warm, clean and personal. Also, he’s not freaked out by fashion which I like.
What did Craig Green’s headpieces add to the mix?
Another texture and a shift to the silhouette. Craig had worked with me on the headpieces for the SS12 show too. It’s very much a collaborative exercise. I had this picture of a woman at a ritual festival with this massive hat that looked like it was made from a hanging basket and some newspapers. Craig is really good at realizing shapes and ideas in a way that feels crafty but not twee. And he’s not precious but everything is really considered.
Andrew, how do you balance the urge to be creative with the commercial aspect of having to present clothes?
Andrew Vowles: Christopher’s clothes always have a really particular attitude so a straight forward lookbook wouldn’t necessarily do them justice, the casting is always spot on and the boys always have something a bit more interesting about them which people really respond to. It’s easy to crop in and out and pick out the details and have a bit more mood because it suits the collection. He is never afraid to do something a bit different, which is great for me.
What was the concept behind the shoot?
I always work really closely with Christopher on the concept of the shoot, we will share references and discuss the sort of mood that he wants to achieve and go from there. We like a lot of the same things and have a similar vision so its always a pleasure.
Most lookbooks have only one model wearing all the clothes. Was it a conscious decision to use multiple guys?
Yes, it’s something we have explored before for the AW12 collection and I think it worked really well. They all bring something different to the clothes and the photographs.