Monday, November 1, 2010

Rome, Italy, 41°48'N 12°36'E.

Rome Savage, Tetyana Melnychuk and Eniko Mihalik, Pop Fall Winter 2010. I've been hesitating to write about this editorial since the pictures made their way into the Internet, one or two months back - time flies by, I lose track of it - because I've kept in mind all along that my babbling would be too much of a vague one as long as I wouldn't materially hold the issue it's from. After several years as a religious purchaser of Pop Magazine, I've come to the conclusion it's among the most fashion-forward publications out there as of now - and it's close to being my favorite magazine, aswell.

Whenever I look back into my Pop archives and pick out one issue at random, I never fail to get the feeling I'm flickring through a ginormous book made up of several fashion papers that were sewed together, and get to enjoy the sight of various landscapes, the discovery of new image-makers, the touch and smell of different type of papers and the pleasure of a thought-provoking approach to fashion and its fluctuations. This magazine in its entirety strikes me as revolving around its creaters' will to overstep the boundaries, mistreat the clichés fashion has got wrapped up in and get the designers or photographers' point across (I have looked at Chiuri and Piccioli's work for Valentino with new eyes ever since I saw and read this feature).

To be fully honest, I had to scratch my head over the covers to 'get' them and was, in the first place, annoyed with people's praises as I couldn't remotely fathom where they were coming from. As I expected though, it didn't take me long to end up being in awe of the inspiration behind both covershots, the covershots per se and their uncouth and ludicrous - in the best way possible - appeal (I am that easy to be persuaded).

Back on the topic - sorry for being that disgressional of a person - the Rome Savage editorial is my chéri out of the issue, basically because it took me by surprise and drew my interest (it had me looking up both the photographers and the casting director on Google, that is - not that big of a deal, but still something I don't always bother to do). It's bold, but not in the Vogue Paris bold-for-the-sake-of-claiming-to-be-so kind of way. Here, the wow factor doesn't lie in the models stuffing themselves with food, standing by bloody meat, or other oh-so-bold concepts ; an out-of-left-field casting and a ground-breaking imagery are enough to make this story one of a kind.

Much to my dismay, this spread got a fairly negative feedback imagery-wise, and the on-purpose-amateur-lighting would supposedly be something anyone could do, without being gifted with any skills as photographers. I'm not pretending to be any familiar with photography technics, and I have no clue whether anyone could have just stepped onto the set holding a disposable camera and taken the same pictures without any talent - but all that matters at the end of the day is who would have dared to get these published? (and I'm not talking about daring to have models pulling their clothes off - posing - can you sense the understatement? - in front of a plain background - snapping quick shots to sell them to some overrated publication, mind me). The fashion industry being obsessed with a certain kind of perfection, I think this editorial is, if not easy on the eye, at least worthy of respect - and so are the photographers for that matter.

As for the casting, words can't quite express how it left me lovestruck. Both models are far away from being favourites of mine, and nor do I pay attention to their career patterns - but I find the idea of gathering them together in an editorial to be brilliant - aswell as a risk of failure many casting directors would have shied away from - who could have predicted that this antithetical duo would have worked out so well? The risk turned out to be worth running I think ; Tetyana's frail, timid beauty and Eniko's sultry attitude collide and yet prove themselves both complementary and fascinating.

The caught-off-guard, 'photographic journey' feel counterbalance the defiance of these pictures, and it may be what makes them so appealing ; unlike most of the editorials to be found in eminent publications, this very one doesn't sell a luxury and decadent way of life but depicts a raw, unostentatious trip across the most inspiring sides of fashion, all the while letting enough room for escapism and fantasy.

Photographed by Sean and Seng
Styled by Tamara Rothstein
Cast by Angus Munro for AM Casting

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