Sunday, February 10, 2008


I hardly ever post anything about my work... as in the stuff that I do.

The last few weeks were horribly hectic.. was running around trying to finish off a couple of big assignments.

One of them was a styling project, we had a little less than three weeks to do the research, come up with a theme and do a photo shoot that could go in to a fashion mag... fun, but ALOT of work.. specially when I had no fucking clue to where to get the photographers/ studios etc.. So instead of going all "Professional" as I was supposed to I teamed up with another girl from my batch (as we were allowed to do it in tiny groups - to cover the expenses mainly) went to the 3rd year Photography students and got one of them, and used the uni Studios, which come at no cost...

So.. the Theme - which we called BreathLess; is to look back at the model(mannequin) herself... Its fascinating when I started to think of it actually.

"For a long time in history, ‘Mannequins’ or human made models/ dolls were used to demonstrate the arrangement of drapery and to display clothing.

The Parisian shop girl Marie Vernet Worth goes down in the history of fashion as the first “Professional Fashion Model/ Mannequin” when she was used to portray her designer husband Charles Frederick Worth’s clothes in 1853. Giving birth to a line of careers that never was before, which has grew and branched in to many careers very soon.

In their 1981 Pop Album, The Man-Machine, the German pop group Kraftwrek released their hit song “Das Model” where they sang, “She shows her body off for consumer goods”, is highlighting the ambiguous status of the fashion model at that time, whose own body has become an object in the course of modelling clothes.

But in their 1986 movie “Street crocodiles” (based on the novel by Bruno Schultz) the film makers ‘The brothers Quay’ portrays ‘Reversal’ of the above statement by Krafwrek. In the movie the tailor’s dummies come alive and take over his shop. They capture their former master and dismantle him like a doll the way he used to dismantle them. They measure him up, go through samples of fabric and trimming and sew an outfit to dress him up.

Later in late 1990’s Hussein Chalayan and Alexender Mc Queen portrays similar reversal by substituting dummies or mannequins for fashion models on a catwalk, and by exaggerating and playing on the ‘robotic’ qualities of a human model.

Today mannequins are used largely and widely in the commercial fashion retail industry as a medium to display the new ‘Looks’ and ‘trends’ in the fashion world. Real life like figures, skin colours and textures to simulate real skin, expensive wigs and with a brilliant combination of lighting sometimes the figures are so real-like you hardly can tell the difference.

One interesting aspect is that, it’s only the ‘look’ that changes everyday. The mannequin or the model remains the same as the seasons go passing by. As there masters use them as ‘tools’ to display the fashions of the season, they stare at the horizon with their fixed gaze, single expression on their rigid bodies... living a single moment... Forever..."

So what we did was to take the idea of the "reversal"; and turn the model in to a living breathing mannequin, stripping off the life and soul out of her, exaggerating the fact that today the model has become nothing more than an "object" than a human...(which i find sad as a human!!); and capturing her in one single moment...

we did a lot of running around everywhere... looking at stuff.. looking at the actual mannequins.. different outfits, looking at a million fashion publications just to see what we can do differently.. and within the theme too...

below are two of the pictures that we picked out of the shoot... the one on the left is the one that went in to the presentation; it went well with our theme... and the one on the right.. I just loved it...

choosing the outfit was kinda a nightmare... We wanted to illustrate the rigidness and the movement, the solidity and the softness, the lifelessness and the seductiveness at the same time... it was a nightmare!!! and we were told that the out fit should have elements of the current trends too... we picked up a pencil skirt, which is eternally in with the cooperate/ serious look but at the same time it really enhances the natural curves of a female too.. givin a slight sexy and seductive look. everywhere we looked.. at each window display we noticed frills!!! maybe its just birmingham but i don't know.. we say frills in different shape and forms.. and it struck to us as a nice way to give a flow to the rigidness... thus.. the big frill.. I liked it after it was all pinned up... :)
The shoes are not all that visible but.. the shoes were kinda nice too... open toe, gloss finished shoes with a about 6" heel.. she looked quite good standing on em.. the angle of the shot really doesn't show anything much of the shoe.. still it was an essential part of the outfit..

Lighting... too was another diffi part.. to make up the mind on lighting was not that easy.. but I kinda had a vision of a single light and a black background... and the model to fade in to black.. to enhace the death or lifelessness of the whole picture.. and well.. I wanted it to look a bit glamorous too... which i think we've managed to tackle in our own way... i saw natural backgrounds and white backgrounds in all other publications... and i just didn't want that...
the second light that u see on the pic on the right is not exactly a light.. only a reflector..

Make up was totally done by my partner in the project. it was quite simple and straight forward.. only detailed around the eyes.. which of coz is not that much visible in any of these two pics...