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!
Shanghai Video Artist Lu Yang's Spine-Chilling Fashion Short
New media artist Lu Yang crafts an apocalyptic virtual reality in her new fashion film, The Beast, inspired by the futuristic 90s Japanese anime series, Evangelion. Conceived for the pioneering Beijing exhibition, Dressing the Screen: The Rise of Fashion Film, the world's first comprehensive survey of the avant-garde form, the work fuses modern technology with ancient thought, proposing what exhibition mastermind Shaway Yeh calls “a fusion of the half-machine, half-human anime superhero with the traditional Chinese concept of the human body.” Styled by Audrey Hu, the film features designs by Gareth Pugh, Givenchy and Qiu Hao, and is accompanied by a hypnotic soundtrack excerpted from the metallic orchestras and chamber ensembles of edgy contemporary composer Du Yun. “Some people look up to Western pioneers,” says Hu. “Others choose to focus on creating something of their own. Lu Yang is one of the latter.” Produced in partnership with China's Modern Weekly International, Dressing the Screen showcases nearly 100 works, selected by curator and director Kathryn Ferguson, from the pre-internet experiments of Ossie Clark to the pioneering digital work of filmmakers such as Nick Knight and Ruth Hogben, via Alexander McQueen's holographic catwalk shows. “We would like to put fashion film in a historical context,” explains Yeh, “so the aspiring filmmakers in China can learn and contribute to the development of this young genre.”
The Fashion Prodigy Behind Style Rookie Talks Us Through "Joey Ramona Quimby"
Though it will burden me with having to explain my bad pun to every person at their doors during trick-or-treat hours, this Halloween, I am dressed up as Joey Ramona Quimby. As in, Joey Ramone + Ramona Quimby. Not Joey from Friends and Ramona Quimby, as some people have mistakenly thought (though I assure you I will be devouring my goods from Sunday night like I’m Joey). Most things here are some kind of vintage or thrift—all things I already had—and my mom made the bunny ears. The Joey Ramone elements are the moto jacket, Converse, and guitar (which has a witch sticker on it, ten Halloween points for me!). The Ramona elements are the bunny ears (from my favorite Ramona book, Beezus and Ramona) and the collared plaid dress. The black leather bunny of a bag I just added because it kind of combines the two people. I’d like to use it for trick-or-treating but it couldn’t make it through half a block before filling up. And we cannot have that. Halloween may fall on a Sunday this year but that doesn’t mean I won’t get twenty sugar rushes that night while watching Scream with my friends and negotiating chocolate trades.