Ellen von Unwerth x Sang Bleu

The Renowned Fashion Photographer Conspires with the Cult Magazine on a Fetish-Costumed Feature

Leather- and latex-clad poodles, rabbits and snakes frolic in Ellen von Unwerth’s provocative fashion shoot for the subculture magazine Sang Bleu. The rainbow-hued story marks the latest in a series of collaborations between the model-turned-photographer and the industry-acclaimed, richly printed tattoo title. “Shooting for magazines like this, you get the chance to do something really creative,” says Von Unwerth, whose playful images are regulars in the pages of Vogue, Vanity Fair and Interview. This time she joined forces with London-based stylist Anna Trevelyan, a veteran of V Magazine and Dazed & Confused and a member of Lady Gaga’s fashion team, to create looks modeled after trends in the role-play underground. Makeup artist Ayami Nishimura was also on the scene with gradient hair and striking pink contact lenses; oversized birdcages, designer collars and bubblegum pink tulle complete the dress-up atmosphere. A collective labor of love led by Creative Director and active tattoo artist Maxime Büchi alongside choreographer-publisher Jeanne-Salomé Rochat, the issue was guest-edited by erotic jeweler Betony Vernon and tattoo historian Nick Schonberger, and showcases work from NOWNESS initiates Scott Campbell and Douglas Gordon. Sang Bleu fans have one more week to special-order its sixth, limited-run tome, a physical objet d’art at over 700 pages strong, before the title retires for good. To accompany our sneak preview, complete with outtakes from the shoot, Von Unwerth shares her alternative inspirations from body art to animal suits, just in time for Halloween.

Sang Bleu is rooted in tattoos—do you have any yourself?
I have a little one, which I got at a party. The next day I woke up with a lightning bolt on my finger! It was an interesting experience—it’s painful, but it’s an enjoyable pain. You feel like the devil is going into you a little bit. Now I know what people go through. 

How did the fetish concept for the shoot come about?
The fun of it is always in the collaboration. This time, we began thinking about different kinds of fetishes, and dressing up as an animal is actually quite fashionable in the moment—not just cute rabbits, either. So we came up with the rabbit and the poodle, and model Eloise was a snake, with a mouse in her mouth and beautiful fingernails by manicurist Mike Pocock.

Will you celebrate Halloween this year?
I love Halloween; it’s my favorite holiday. Maybe I’ll be a poodle!

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Conversations (3)

  • Artlover
    Super geil!
  • SuicidalFashionista
    Sexy and playful. I love this! <a href="http://bit.ly/XTpQGE" target="_blank">http://bit.ly/XTpQGE</a>
  • Ms Maitland
    I give Ellen von Unwerth points for using colour in this fetish shoot (I am so sick of black leather, black rubber, bootblack). But I must be honest, the skinny girls in fetish/BDSM/lmnop gear is starting to get as tired as steampunk. Once you see it on CSI or Castle it's gotten a bit mundane. Still, points for the attempt at something new.

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