Last season at the beginning of Paris Fashion Week Rick Owens wowed crowds with an innovative and exciting fashion show that featured a cast of step dancers as models. The show’s important display of racial and bodily diversity left a strong and lasting impression on many, including collaborators Matthew Stone and Katie Shillingford (photographer and stylist, respectively) who used the show as inspiration for an editorial in Issue 26 of AnOther Magazine. (FYI, it’s NSFW.)
In an effort to portray a true representation of the show and what it meant, the Stone and Shillilngford were careful about who they cast in the editorial, ultimately using a “mix of street-cast models, friends of friends in New York and professional plus-size models.” The final group of ladies and gentlemen of all shapes and colors were photographed mostly nude against a dark background meant to attract the eye to the bodies themselves, thought not in an overtly sexual way.
Michael Stone said of this aesthetic, “I think of them of images that have the potential to be erotic, but that function in a different way to the sexual imagery that dominates advertising and pornography. They still discuss power and hierarchy but not in a way that glorifies violence or traditional social hierarchies. For that reason it felt like a relevant project to approach again for this project. I want to create a space for powerful and visceral exploration of the naked body that is both empowering and positive.”
Stylist Katie Shillingford chose to show a lot of nudity in this shoot because from her point of view, the true message of Rick Owens’s show wasn’t about the clothes. ”I wanted us to shoot images that were somehow as bold and powerful as the show was or at least pay tribute to it… I wanted to applaud this fearless move and celebrate women of all colours and sizes,” she said.
An exploration of the human form, the editorial is beautiful, striking, and a bit uncomfortable in its bold use of nudity. But discomfort is just a small byproduct of positive change, and it’s editorials like this, and fashion shows like Rick Owens’s Spring 2014 show, that are working toward universal acceptance for all. And we love it.