March 13, 2013

Candy Land

I recently looked back at the sweets-centric fashion editorial, entitled "Candy Land", in New York Magazine's spring fashion issue. Teenage actress Elle Fanning plays both model and muse for artist Will Cotton's sugary inclinations. Normally I am not a fan of fashion editorials that focus on celebrities, but this one marks an exception. In this context, the pairing is relevant, and it emphasizes the underlying story.

I took a class at FIT in Photo Styling, and I vividly remember a project in which we had to take inspiration from a shoe and use that to inform the setting of our shoot and the image that would emerge from that. A lot of magazine styling nowadays doesn't create a relationship between these distinct parts; instead, what we see is a beautiful image and beautiful clothing. Without a doubt, the result is often worthy of admiration, but I like to think of styling being much more than that.

The "Candy Land" spread takes the themes of naïveté and playfulness, stemming from the common young actress stereotype, and combines it with the season's best high fashion and couture. Yet much of the fashion isn't really clothing at all, but rather edible sweets that imitate specific pieces, such as a Vivienne Westwood headpiece, as in the cover image of the magazine and the first image seen below.

One thing that occurred to me was the idea of imitation within the fashion industry, and the way that Cotton translated that dilemma into sculptural pieces of candy and frosting. It's an interesting interpretation, although maybe not so far-fetched.

On the other hand, this fashion editorial really utilizes the epitome of what I learned in my Photo Styling class. Cotton turned this clothing into something more than that, creating a new interpretation of what we saw on the runways. One of the best examples is the image of Fanning lying amongst yellow plastic-wrapped confectionaries, in which Raf Simons's Dior frock looks just like a piece of candy. And that's the point.

Images via The Cut
Credit to New York Magazine
Artwork by Will Cotton; styling by Rebecca Ramsey

I especially enjoy fashion editorials that aren't afraid to connect the different dimensions of a fashion image. The "Candy Land" spread introduces a symbiotic relationship between design, props and model that has yet to be rivaled by many modern American fashion editorials.

Don't get me wrong - I love simple fashion editorials. But there's something about an editorial like this that reminds me why I love fashion so much.