Mind of Its Own

Photographer Ryan McGinley Directs Supermodel Karlie Kloss in a Playful Short for Mercedes-Benz

A mischievous automobile takes center stage in Ryan McGinley’s latest short starring Chicago-born siren Karlie Kloss and showcasing the new Mercedes-Benz CLA. Shooting among the vertiginous drops and lone oak trees of California’s Tejon Ranch, the director follows a Chloé-clad Kloss as she races along winding roads to indie band DIIV’s track “Doused”, before leaping out of the car to commune with a mysterious white horse. “I’ve worked with animals a lot in my art images and it’s challenging,” reveals New York-based McGinley, who has exhibited at museums including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim and Whitney museums in New York. “But they always bring something special.” As the independently minded vehicle speeds off, the ballet-trained model—a veteran of the runways of Givenchy and Calvin Klein and campaigns of Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Jacobs—is left to chase the coveted machine on foot. The video, for which Dazed & Confused and AnOther magazine founder Jefferson Hack served as Creative Director, will be screened during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin on January 17, and shows a new side to McGinley’s technical directing skills by employing complex aerial shots. “We were shooting in a stunt helicopter with an amazing team. I wanted them to do things they haven’t before: to go higher and get angles and speed they haven’t captured,” the director explains. “Looking through the camera while the helicopter is dodging in and out of canyons at top speed is not for the weak of stomach!” NOWNESS caught up with Kloss before the fashion season kicks off to talk style, on the road and on the runway.

Horse riding or Horse power?
Horse power, for sure!

Vintage convertible or ultra-modern hybrid?
Vintage convertible, always.

LA or New York?
Hmm, that's a tough one... New York.

Canyon hike or beachside bodyboarding?
Beachside bodyboarding.

Days of Thunder or Driving Miss Daisy?
Cars and a young Tom Cruise... definitely Days of Thunder.

"Ride" by Lana del Rey or "Drive" by The Cars?
'Ride' by Lana del Rey.

Highway or runway?

Sneakers or stilettos?
Depends on the mood, but you can never go wrong with stilettos.

Red hot lips or au naturale?
Red hot lips are the perfect accessory.

Backseat or behind the wheel?
Behind the wheel. Watch out ;)

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Conversations (4)

  • Ryan_Warner
    I was expecting a lot more from him. I cant work out if the exaggerated performance from the girl was on purpose? The McGinley aesthetics are there but this ad is a bit of a let down
  • Julie B
    this was awesome...I loved the open endedness of it...it was haunting in the best way
    • Posted By Julie B
    • February 26, 2013 at 7:03PM
    • Share Comment:
  • LBrandonKrall
    so much better if the girl wandered off in the landscape and the horse had driven away_ in that order...
    • Posted By LBrandonKrall
    • January 15, 2013 at 7:27PM
    • Share Comment:
  • ericgallais
    Great!!! Beautiful... The only thing is awful she is dress!
    • Posted By ericgallais
    • January 15, 2013 at 8:59AM
    • Share Comment:

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    Monarchy x Dita Von Teese

    The Femme Fatale Joins the Music Duo for An Electrifying Vocal Debut in "Disintegration"

    Burlesque queen Dita Von Teese dons her signature vintage corsets and gowns to incarnate a woman lost in sensual fancy in this video for electronic outfit Monarchy’s new single, “Disintegration,” directed by Roy Raz. “She’s a 1950s style housewife stuck in a toxic, dry relationship. She’s fantasizing, releasing herself in a dream world of lovers,” says the band’s Andrew Armstong. The fortuitous pairing began on Twitter, and after spending an extravagant Christmas in Paris together—joined by local characters like Catherine Baba and Diane Pernet—a friendship was forged. Soon Armstrong and partner-in-music Ra Black were penning songs for the master of striptease. The result is a synth-soaked track that brings model and author Teese’s inimitable suggestive touch to Monarchy’s soulful dance. “We considered doing an x-rated version of it,” says Armstrong. “Maybe we will some day.” Switching between stark domestic scenes to muscular choreography performed by Israel’s young Batsheva Dance Company, Tel Aviv-based Raz draws us into an imagined erotic world that is part retro, part surreal. “There should be something reserved, unreachable, unobtainable about an ideal muse—close enough to inspire but just out of reach to keep the mystery,” says Armstrong. “We have that in Dita.” Here Von Teese makes some confessions, including ex-husband Marilyn Manson's thoughts on her foray into music.  

How did the collaboration come about?  
    I had done a couple recordings of me “talk-singing” Mae West/Marilyn Monroe style for my burlesque shows, but those songs together with onstage visuals is different to just listening to my voice. Monarchy believed in me, so I did it anyway, and asked them to make me sound good!  

    Have you always been interested in music?
    I love music, of course, but I never had any intention of performing or helping create anything besides the music for my shows. I had a lot of input into things like styling for some of the music videos that my ex-husband [Marilyn Manson] did, but I wouldn’t ever have dared get involved in any other aspect of music. Actually, we played the song for Manson and the first thing he said was, “Why didn’t you tell me you could sing?”

    How was it working on film rather than live performance?
    I’ve been in a lot of music videos over the years, so I thought it was fun to be performing the lyrics while taking off my clothes for once! It’s nice to let go of the control of all of that and to trust someone. But I’m also a control freak about my hair, makeup, and wardrobe and doing it all myself for the video while also being in front of the camera isn’t so easy. I think I drove them crazy, asking if they could fix that “one hair out of place”!

    What was it like working with Roy Raz?
    He’s amazing. I loved the video he did for “I Won’t Let Go,” so when they told me they were trying to get him to do one for this song, I was thrilled to have the chance to work with him. We had an amazing time together in Tel Aviv making the video. It was an absolute pleasure, and delightful to be in that amazing city. 

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    Herb Ritts: Classical Eye

    Hidden Gems Revealed in the Box Files of the Celebrated Photographer

    An Amazonian Cindy Crawford and Olympian Naomi Campbell feature alongside Johnny Depp, David Bowie and Karl Lagerfeld in this selection of previously unpublished shots from the late photographer Herb Ritts courtesy of Trunk archives. With an instinctive California-bred approach to light, expansive use of natural landscape and sculptural eye, Ritts set the tone for more than two decades of fashion, celebrity and art photography. “I think he had an extraordinary sense of classicism that you don’t often see,” says Ivan Shaw, Photography Director at American Vogue. “At the same time he brought a modernity to it.” With an upcoming exhibition of Ritts’s work at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the release of a new book, his continuing influence on a new generation of photographers is ensured. “People will remember his photography for his eye, his image, for his graphics,” says Charles Churchward, a close friend and former Design Director at Vogue. “It will come back in a strong way and be very influential.” To celebrate Ritts's work, NOWNESS culled the memories and reflections of his colleagues, friends and muses.

    Richard Gere: His purpose was always to make you look good. He had an extremely elegant aesthetic. Some photographers are working so hard to be elegant that they pummel you with it, but to Herb it came effortlessly. Some photographers embalm their subjects, but he enlivened them.
    Anna Wintour, Vogue Editor-in-Chief: He would call a lot. He would call when an issue came out and want to go over it even if he hadn't contributed to it, or he'd call to see how his covers sold.

    Cindy Crawford: I think he photographs women the way they want to look… Herb would always get you naked. You knew that’s the way it went, you are going to look good.
    Calvin Klein: His sense of light, outside or in the studio, is very strong and very graphic. When you turn a page and see one of his photographs, it’s aggressive. You stop.
    Naomi Campbell: All of us experienced pain with Herb, but the pain was worth it. You want one of those photographs in your lifetime of modeling.
    Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief: I think of Herb when I’m near the sea and the sun is beginning to go down. That’s Herb Ritts light. It’s warm and flattering and it became his signature. He loved people and it shows in his photos. I miss him like crazy.

    Mark Findlay, Ritts’s muse: There was a chemistry between us when we worked together. Our minds seemed to work alike creatively to make the most powerful images. We knew what we wanted and I could physically create that and maybe, between us we would stretch the dynamics further. There was a harmony to our work, a dance between photographer and model.

    Bryan Appleyard, art critic: Ritts suited the emerging taste of the time, the gay-inspired, high-concept Hollywood and fashion culture that venerated the perfect body and the celebritous face. It is difficult to say which came first, Ritts or the gym cult––but they are the same thing.

    (Read More)

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