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June 3, 2014

Beyond the Skin

Jonas Åkerlund Takes Model Shaun Ross on a Hyperkinetic Trip Through LA in the Final #DefineBeauty Film

“Hollywood is so good at only seeing what’s on the outside, and using that first impression instead of going deeper,” says Jonas Åkerlund of the location of the final film in the #DefineBeauty series, in which he follows American model and actor Shaun Ross around the back streets and freeways of Los Angeles. “I think Shaun has spent all his life with those reactions. Look again and you see that this guy is really beautiful.” The Swedish filmmaker is known for music videos that span over 25 years—from Madonna to Beyonce, Iggy Pop to U2—and feature films including the darkly comic 2002 release, Spun. His gothic style is apparent in today’s portrait of the famed albino model, who recently starred in Lana Del Rey’s 30 minute film, Tropico. “When Shaun showed up on Hollywood Boulevard, Darth Vader and Mickey Mouse were affronted,” the filmmaker says of filming Ross, who was styled by his wife B. Åkerlund. “Like, ‘What the fuck is this guy doing here?’” Elements of Beyond the Skin were shot by Ross himself with a camera provided by the director, whose cat was given a supporting role. “She’s also albino so I thought they might have a connection,” says Åkerlund. “They actually did. She wouldn't stop sitting on his head.”

Look one: Top & skirt by Yuima Nakazato.
Look two: Head piece by Maiko Takeda, cape & pants by Yuima Nakazato, shoes by Nereku.
Look three: Leather jacket by Bohemian Society, metal mesh top & bracelets by Michael Schmidt Studios, boots by Gasoline Glamour.
Look four: Jacket by, Hyein Seo, top & shorts by Yuima Nakazato, shoes by Nereku.

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Rainbow Warrior: Delfine Bafort

The Belgian Model Turns Chameleon Under the Tropical Palette of Francelle Daly

KT Auleta conjures equatorial extremes in her latest beauty film for NOWNESS, transforming model Delfine Bafort from dewy jungle innocent to fierce tribal warrior with the aid of celebrated NARS makeup artist Francelle Daly. Auleta’s vision was for the cosmetics to mimic the differing qualities of light in a day: soft and misty morning sunshine turning to hyper-real bright colors at noon, and a fade out to black when night falls. “I wanted it to feel organic, but with a fantastical edge,” explains the photographer and filmmaker, whose work has appeared in Vogue, Elle and The New York Times’ T Magazine. Referencing real-life body-painting traditions, Daly turned to Phyllis Galembo's Maske, a book on African and Caribbean carnival costumes, as well as to the work of Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock for their color blocking and brush strokes.


The Givenchy menswear Spring 2012 collection, which features tropical prints in fresh, bright colors printed kaleidoscopically onto crisp white and army green fabrics.

Mise en scene
A tropical jungle construct in studio C at Fast Ashleys, Brooklyn. Ferns, ginger lilies, heliconias and Bird of Paradise flowers were brought in from American Foliage in the Manhattan's plant district. 

Shoot time
10am to 2am—mirroring the morning, noon and night concept of the film.

Belgian model Delfine Bafort of Ford models—chosen for her bright blue eyes, dancer’s fluidity and acting credentials (last year she starred in Vincent Gallo’s Promises Written in Water). 

War paint 
Multicolored NARS eyeshadow pigments mixed with Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. For the last look, Shiseido Black Mask and Clay all over the body, red pigment mixed with clay on the hair and NARS Black Moon Eyeliner for the eyes.  

One nude thong from American Apparel.

Special effects
Misters, smoke machines and coconut oil.

Crisis averted
It was 100 degrees on the day of the shoot. Combined with all the HMI lighting, this caused one of the breakers to melt. The fire department was called and all lighting had to be rerouted.

“Jomo” by Hector and Nate, remixed with samples of tropical bird song.

Mineral water, Diet Coke and, eventually, beer.

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Carl Burgess for Nike

The Filmmaker Maps His All-Terrain Homage to Running

For their latest creative collaboration, Nike challenged film director, designer and dedicated jogger Carl Burgess to artistically interpret the exhilaration of running. The shape-shifting globe that appears today on NOWNESS is his answer. Burgess traversed London for the mission, recording the sounds of his journey and documenting its underfoot visuals with his Canon 5D. “We had the essence of the run in data and I wanted to bring it to life,” he explains. Burgess added vibrant colors and topographical embellishments to digital 3D renderings of his photos. He then timed the rotation of the spherical collage to the fluctuating speed of his run, as measured by Nike+ technology that analyzed the athlete's pace through a computer chip in his shoe. “When you go on a run, your mind wanders. You forget where you are. I wanted to show that,” Burgess says of his swirling psychedelics. It's not the first time he's harnessed digital manipulation for innovative results: the former art director for digital agency Hi-ReS! amassed a cult following for his 2010 video for Ratatat’s "Drugs," which tweaks stock footage of actors with forced promotional smiles sourced from Getty images.

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