Thursday, October 29, 2009

Building a Spectacle

Exposure NY's set designer, Stefan Beckman, has been designing sets since his Texas high school days. He is now responsible for conceptualizing and creating some of the most visually imaginative and inspiring sets including Chanel ad campaigns, the award winning* Vanity Fair cover with Tina Fey, and Marc Jacobs' popular runway shows. made a video documenting the creative process that Stefan goes through to build Marc Jacobs' Spring 2009 RTW Show. Marc Jacobs is famous for making his shows a spectacle, and in this video, Stefan says that he creates "spectacles that make sense" and it's all about "connecting the audience with the collection".

Click here to see the video

*2009 ASME award for Best Entertainment and Celebrity Magazine Cover

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Noe Dewitt's New Inspiration

Photographer Noe Dewitt has made his career taking pictures of models and celebrities for magazines and ad campaigns such as Sperry Top-Sider, Macy's, LL Bean, J Crew, Cole Haan, 7 For All Mankind, Ann Taylor, and Max Mara.

Since having his first child almost five years ago, Noe's fashion-focused photography has evolved into a more fun and light aesthetic. Says Noe, "most of my personal work these days consists of my own children and their friends. As a father, I am fortunate to experience their 'world' all the time. My kids have shown me a world that I don't think I could have gotten to on my own."

When I think of child photography, a haunting memory of Sears' studio glamor shots with a clown standing behind the lens flashing a dingy squeak-toy first comes to mind. So appropriately my first reaction upon hearing that Noe has created a new kids portfolio is, "How did he get them to do that?!" Noe jokes that "of course a fart noise will almost always work if you want a smile, but sometimes you want the daydream, and that is only something you can capture when they are really doing it." He adds that "all kids are so different from one another, so you really have to talk to [them] first and see if they're shy, outgoing, hyper, etc." A trick he uses to get some of the less talkative kids going is he'll "ask if they have any siblings, and that always opens the door to conversation and the spotlight tends to go off them and onto a different subject like their brother or sister".

Even if you get a kid to converse with you, you're lucky to get them to sit long enough or keep their mouth closed and their eyes open for more than a few shots. "I'd like to think that I capture the 'kid within the kid," says Noe. "I try not to make the kids into something that they are not- I don't like it when people try to make them into adults or have adult behavior. The best thing about kids is that they are usually uninhibited and carefree, so if you direct them too much they can become shy or guarded. If you guide them just a little, they can take off in their own playful and imaginative way. Kids know how to be natural, so I let them."

The children in Noe's photographs bring smiles to everyone's faces. He gets right into the action. He is not afraid to get paint splattered on him or sand in his shoes. There is not a glint of fear or despair in their eyes. It's safe to say that Noe's success in getting children to not only look at the camera, but to make them look like they are genuinely having a good time is due to this newly acquired job as a daddy.

"I guess you could say I shoot on my knees a lot these days! And the world has become a much bigger place as we remember it to be when we were little kids ourselves."

Click here to see Noe Dewitt's new Kids Portfolio

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's Hard to Dress Yourself and Look Good...

That is why the world has George Cortina. Every morning when I get dressed for work I wonder if George Cortina would a) approve of b) accessorize more or c) rip/distress any of my clothes. It is hard to dress yourself and look good.

Stylists have the hardest job in the fashion industry. Most of us don't understand how much or even what stylists do. And watching The Rachel Zoe Report doesn't count. I'm not even going to go into the day-to-day, step-by-step process of what George and his assistants go through.

George Cortina is the Fashion Editor for Vogue Nippon, and he styles the cover story for every issue. November's issue includes an amazing story shot by Mark Segal. The story, as I tweeted a few days ago, is 'androgenius'. Model Tao Okamoto graces the cover and personifies a mysterious entity in the story "The Kiss of Demons".

Also in this issue, there is a behind-the-scenes look at George prepping and perfecting Tao as they get ready to shoot the cover:

When George isn't styling an editiorial story or advertisement (he has done countless ads including H&M, Bulgari, Roberto Cavalli, Iceberg, and Gucci ) he is helping designers style their new collections for fashion week. This seasons Spring 2010, George styled Tommy Hilfiger in the US, Julien Macdonald in London, and Emilio Pucci in Milan. The reviews are in, and we bet George couldn't be more pleased.

Here is the review for Tommy Hilfiger (

Wrapping easy, breezy basics in a California Dreamin’ theme, Tommy Hilfiger put forth an impressively complete collection Thursday evening, offering a staple (or three) for nearly every wardrobe.

In addition to wholesome Americana, the men’s wear had a pleasant French-nautical streak, driven home by a striped Breton sweater. Suits were fitted and strong shouldered, especially the double-breasted versions. The choppy sampling of men’s wear didn’t convey any intention other than the selling of fresh, attractive clothes. And who would dare object to that?

The review for Julien Macdonald (
A recent trip to the Red Sea – and a first attempt at underwater exploration – inspired Macdonald’s ultra-sexy and polished collection. The idea came through in narrow scuba trousers and dresses with mesh sleeves and chunky zips. Knitted dresses woven from cotton-covered elastic recalled fishermen’s nets and were layered one over the other, while biker jackets were fashioned from embossed suede made to look like stingray skin. For evening, Macdonald turned out shimmery evening dresses in pink, gray and black with details that recalled fish scales and mermaids’ tails.

Pic: George (far left) backstage at the Julien Macdonald show (image from

And here's the review for Pucci (

It doesn’t get hotter than this. After introducing a new vampy, disco babe chez Pucci at his debut last season, Peter Dundas forged on with that fierce, sexy directive. Show notes pointed to an aquatic and pirate inspiration, but that was just a thematic cover for serving up high-energy party clothes in a Seventies vein.

For starters, Dundas worked a serious bondage motif in strap-happy maillots and loads of lace-up corsetry, the latter on fringed jackets and trailing down the backsides of skinny pants. Also blush-worthy: Dundas’ sky-high hemlines (those itty-bitty snakeskin tap pants) and abundant cutouts on body-con dresses, including some slinky feathered and sequined versions. But there were some modest moments; rounding out the lineup were cover-ups, caftans, scuba-inspired jackets and some pretty Grecian gowns. As for the Pucci prints this season, Dundas tackled them in marine patterns and abstracted, geometric panels and inserts. While the collection didn’t offer anything new, there are plenty heat-seeking ladies who will probably lap it up.