That's no secret, no mystery: we're not really obsessed with covers in general. We're more the kind that is eagerly looking forward to seeing what's insde the belly of the beast. Covers suffer, way too often, from an overload of unnecessary letters. Covers suffer from the fact they are covers, actually, meaning they had to be appealing to the masses or at least to the magazine's core afficionados, who love ''their'' book to look like the way they love how it looked like last month, last season, last year etc. Really? Seems to be slightly more complicated. Magazine-addicts are such complex beings, sometimes stubborn people that get no satisfaction, sometimes nostalgic daydreamers complaining when they have to wake up, and sometimes they can be nicely surprising as well. We might be no exceptions in what could be called an ocean of exceptions: we happen to complain, we think of the long-gone golden days of some former favorite mags of ours, we rejoice when we read some names before seeing the cover and contents, we also have weird crushes. One of the latter could be japanese i-D's premiere. Though it's seemingly not a real debut issue as we heard this magazine existed in the early nineties then quickly disappeared, less than two years after it's launch. But let's feed our eyes and not the debate. (Kiko Mizuhara by Nobuyoshi Araki).
Whether she is relevant or random as a covergirl is a pointless topic – she gives us goosebumps and sends our eyes to could nine everytime she appears in or on a magazine, she'd look just as fantastic if she were on first page of a free daily newspaper. Iselin Steiro is synonymous with incredible instants, magical moments and memories of her from Vogue Italia, a decade ago already, remain unforgettable, and so does her story from Vogue Paris something like eight months later. Vogue Paris again this time, literally the face of their summer (and most likely of ours as well). First time we're pleased by one of the french edition's covers this year. That's relieving, that leaves some hopes for a brighter future (higher expectations would be a tad too much, though). But let's not be mistaken: Vogue Paris isn't going to go back to what it used to be during Roitfeld's reign, that era's over. The real matter is if the mag is currently finding his new direction, at last. (By Mikael Jansson).
Word is that Meisel has lost his magic (or his mojo, inspiration, his Meisel-ish vibe – call it how you like best). The question isn't if this is true or not but where do these whispers come from, and the answer is as simple as ABC: from some people living with a certain idea of what Meisel's work for Vogue Italia has to be, like forever. But then, you'll probably also hear Testino is boring, Walker and Roversi are repetitive, Richardson is sleazy and Lindbergh gets lazy. Too many people putting too much energy into complaining and stuttering, right? Then arrived Vogue Ukraine as a sort of outsider next to its european, asian, overseas and downunder older sisters that are either damaged by their very own routine or struggling to break this very same routine. Vogue Ukraine's team seems to know what they want, where they wanna go, and how to walk that way. There is a real will but they do not have aesthetics of their own yet. Or it seems so, it screams so, it screams old-school Vogue Italia. Sometimes to the point of parody, sadly enough because they could use their special status to bring something genuinely new to the (coffee) table. This being said, and while there is still much room for improvement, the latest issue's cover and main editorial are better than most of their work before. Good sign from this front too. (Emily DiDonato by Bon Duke).
Redheads & Bedheads
More than a full decade ago, for artistic purposes, we started growing a passion for red-haired models as portraits of redheads were our main topic while painting. Hence our relentless quest for young ladies with copper locks and special features – some combination that was way easier to find on a model agency's webpage than in any magazine, book or at the grocery next door. From strawberry-blondes to the darkest auburn beauties, from naturally ginger-haired and freckly-faced lovelies to much-hyped gals who just had their look seasoned by flashy, flamy makeover, every shade of red appeared immediately on our radar. And that's how our project as painters has become a regular FDIB featre, almost a gimmick – at some point, we had agencies sending us materials of their newest redheads in town with the mention ''we know you'll like her''.
From Lily Cole's golden years (she went through bland and blonde, black and blue since, before embracing her signature color again) to the spiced-up babies of the season Katie Moore and Olga Afanasyeva, timeless beauties like Lorna Foran or our latest auburn darling Teddy Quinlivan, we've always loved paiting it red. And everytime it's with the same huge pleasure that we introduce the newest generation (or even the next one) of models bearing the coveted hair hues. Following our double-entry on Madison Stubbington is a bunch of youthful Swedes sharing an editorial for Sleek Magazine shot by Jasmin Storch, namely Isabell Thorell (the lighter) and Thea Arvidsson (the brighter), both from Elite along with Matilde (Mikas) and Julia (Stockholmsgruppen) on the group picture far above.
When the Skies are Grey
As kids, when the borders were still fences and it wasn't such an easy deal to cross the big river just to get some cheaper ciggies, we used to think the sky looked different in german cities than in our french hometown. A greater grey, we should say, grey like expensive pearls, soft and smooth with a slight touch of wholesome melancholy echoing the pavents of their broaders streets and more recent buildings, a grey that used to turn pigeons into divas taken away from their red carpet and green leaves into colorful witnesses of the majestic greyness around. It's not that we're in a mood for childhood tales but after a trip to Germany last thursday and looking at today's weather, facts and things drove us to Madison Stubbington's latest editorial stuff, both from german magazines that we found about between a restless hunt for bargain tobacco and a hunger for smoked cheese.
Maddie's name has been on our little papers for some weeks already, thinking of some good-old 'redhead issue' like we liked to write years before and the late love for her shown by german mags smelled like the perfect reason to pick up the pen to drop our prose. First batch of photographs comes from Harper's Bazaar and results from a session with favorite of ours Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello, it pictures some Yucatan dreams für deutsche verliebte Augen while the second round is straight out of Vogue's most recent ''new face'' series. We'd rather feel the thrill than feed the debate (whether Madison is a new face or not, she's newer than Lily Cole anyway, period) and if this simple yet efficient denim daydream by Luigi and Iango may not be an overwhelmingly innovative piece of work it's kind of hard to take our eyes of it – a perfect guide on how to spend our time on a bank-holiday afternoon, under a grey sky imported from Germany.
Nothing to do with Miss Stubbington, except for the fact it comes from the same Vogue story, but it was too much to resist: Leila Goldkuhl's solo page. Basically because we never get enough and days are too short, nights are too blind.
Mad (about) Manning
Don't think we were on holidays (oh, holidays) or, even worse, we gave it up. We were simply busy drawing, painting and painting again. All in all, it's pretty much the same job as picking pics for FDIB – it's all about understanding faces, capturing beauty, feeling thrilled by what we see and being able to translate it our way, may it be through words, lines or colors, thank to a keyboard or a pencil. But remaining almost sleepless in front of extra-thick sheets of paper didn't stop us from thinking of who's next, who's the one we want to have here as soon as some text is ready. And the answer tonight is called Mad Manning. Just as lovely as the melody of her name.
Found about her as late as yesterday but she's already a Vuitton favorite. Maybe we saw her and labeled her too young (or more exactly too young-looking as we have no clue on how old she is) and we keep thinking she still has time to pave her way with the finest materials at her own rythm, yet her recent work definitely deserves our words and better now than never (or later for that matter). Thank to these lovely photographs from i-D, we became aware of this incredible talent of hers only begging to express. In black and white and shades of grey or natural colors and lighting for Karim Sadli, directed by Alastair McKimm, she seems like a fish to water in those leather clothes creating a very different atmosphere from usual punkish, rockish, rebel, blah-blah-stuff with these moody pouts and a slice of innocence. Tender and terrific, you get the combo, girl! And just as if this wouldn't be enough to justify a feature, she appears to appear in the main editorial of newest Vogue Italia, by Steven Meisel. Some surprises are pure sugar for the eyes and fuel to the heart.
It's like summer knocking at the door, almost and already, and here we come with visuals we'd rather feel to be a wintery mood? Nostalgia of november nights? Not really, not this way. After all, last week was as cold as late fall and we're just starting getting used to spring's sunny sweetness. The thing is this story from Grey we love so much reminds us of past trips, all of them during autumn or winter except for two times ten days in Berlin and Paris for Couture week with temperatures climbing up to fourty, Celsius. New York, Bucharest, Warsaw, Riga etc. everything else happened when nights get really long and traveling became slightly synonymous with early dusks and leather coats. Another kind of delight, right?
Today's weather is more likely to push us outside and have a fresh beer in centre town than keep us locked in a hotel room to enjoy the quiet heat with a bottle of Jack and a few drunk friends coming from all around the world. Though we can't help loving this Psycho Chic, the story by Alexandra Carr (would be reason number one) starring a charismatic Renata Guerra (reason number one and a half). Plenty of neons, zero percent sunshine, streetlights in the evening, small shops, East Village – echoing memories of ours from November or February in NYC (the latter was rather soft-weathered, though). The small text from Grey may contain the last word: besides claiming that ''style needs no alibi'', it's stated that ''a little insanity never hurts anyone''. Might be it, might be our little insane moment mixing gut instinct with eye-crush with irreverent aesthetic postulate on timeless elegance never looking as good as when twisted a bit.
Jazz Up the 1st of May
Jay Wright's name remained on our to-do-list for some time already (say weeks or months or so) and went overnight from the ''no rush'' category to our priority section. Any specific reason? If being stunning on every image is good enough of a reason, then this is it as we went through her portfolio page after page and could tell each one deserves its place in the book. We hate to use words like these but you could describe her, somehow (very somehow) as an ethereal beauty with a raunchy rock'n'roll touch and this translates into pictural performances going to elegantly awkward or almost innocent to full-flavor fierceness – bold, brave and obviously beautiful. Jay was groomed by Mother Model Management, is powered by Next, will be adored by us and many others, and does all these marvels (above + Vogue Italia by Miles Aldridge, Interview, Teen Vogue by Yelena Yemchuk, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga etc.) by herself. Street couch pic by Jun Yasui for Coeval Magazine.
Cast Your Spell Over Us
Is that an apple or a flower? It's magic and she could really be an enchantress, a wizard at modeling. And the wizardry continues below as well, while you'll need no little yellow pill to feel dazzled.
It takes more than a perfect face, it is more than your few nice days (at the top), it is more than we'll ever know – we mean beauty. We're aware we may have said it, told it, explained it, every possible way already but these are the words bubbling in our minds everytime our eyes fall in love (like for the very first time) with a face they still ignored the existence of the day before, and everytime they feel like flirting with an angel. It's the mystery of the alchemy between the beholder of these eyes and the paper-performance of the artist (aka the model). That's pretty much of a good depiction of how we felt when we heard about and saw Noah.
Working with Storm (we got hooked when took a look at her book) in London and paving her path piece by (precious) piece, Noah stands out for a little more than the lovely features of her lovable face. Expressions, of course, from smiles to pouts she rules every mood, her gazes that play with you till you get insane and an incredible body language that is best showcased in the edit (far above, in the middle) from TheOnes2Watch by Sarah Löfwander. Recent news include a story (near above) in british edition of Elle, May issue by Willem Jaspert, proving she can handle, softer and sweeter more laid-back and colorful atmospheres too. Now only waiting for the moment she'll be shifting gears and cross the line.
Switch On the Time Machine
We have to thank Jack Nicholson for the reminder, after watching The Pledge (Sean Penn, 2001) yesterday late at night, the urge to go back to The Shining suddenly rose in our minds and that's how our eyes got caught by Shelley Duvall's uncanny and arousing features. We literally became like mosquitos (re-)discovering a lamp on a summer evening. Had to search for photographs our memories had somehow sent to their darkest forsaken corners and bring them back to life. Had to hunt and hunt all the great ones down. Like this cover of Interview from 1977 (September issue).
You may think the images are outmoded, even superannuated (though, how many photographers of today use post-modern trick over modern trick to add a vintage vibe to their pictures?), Shelley's beauty is more relevant than ever. Or, because when it comes to beautiful beings nothing is ever relevant or unbiased, we should rather say it like this: which agent wouldn't sell his mother's soul to represent a woman with a face like hers, which lensman wouldn't eat his own kids to shoot five minutes with her. We're unfortunately unable (yet) to pull her out from our screen, from Robert Altman's movies to our room but these two covers (above from Viva, the ''International Magazine for Women'', May 1974) are like diamonds – are forever.
Shine a Night in the Light
We just let the curtain fall at noon to spend the rest of the day in a certain kind of addictive darkness, eating industrial pizzas and homemade scones (both taste way better when the sun is away) and brainstorming – well, it did not take that long before our topic of thursday arrived on the desk. No big surprise, it's going to be Katie Moore (again, again, again), as we're just not about to get enough of fashion's freshest firefly. And, after promising you'd hear more of her when showtime was over, we're now able to illustrate, properly saying, our expectations with editorial materials. First Steven Klein's story and here comes a beauty edit from Vogue Nippon (newest number) by Sophie Delaporte (wish we could write more often on her work). We already knew (or guessed) Katie could shine even in the darkest night of every shade of pink, red and orange, we get to understand today she also handles with care and comfort any kind of color from grasslike green to some deeper blue via warmer tones. And we couldn't not share the magazine's point of view on third picture: she looks so adorable, so kissable, and that's no lipstick-lie.
No Expectation Leads to Pleasant Surprises
These days you ask yourself why you are doing what you usually do, why you even had to turn on the computer again... These days, even these days may hide some nice surprises. That's a bit the story right here, right now and that's how we ended up delighted (again) with Harper's Bazaar UK's weekly model report, this time dedicated to Amanda Googe whose advice to beginners in the business is ''no expectation leads to pleasant surprises''. Just what we experienced today and what her career looks like so far. While most model enthusiasts eagerly wait for the biggest houses show packages to be released or, years ago, what Paul Rowland had in store at Supreme for the season, we often like to have a trip off the beaten tracks and have a look at how other agencies are doing – either tiny boutiques, less-known subdivisions of a network or more commercial companies. That's how our eyes got stuck looking at Aymeline Valade's book at Women Direct (Milan) back then or how we got to get aware of Amanda's existence at Women/360 in NYC (no attempt to call anyone a B-list agency, we're talking about how much more visibility an elephant-sized one often gets).
In her early twenties and passionate with arts (double bonus here), Amanda had the opportunity to work with names like Prada, Dries van Noten or Valentino and, of course, the favorite of ours: namely Mr Haider Ackermann. The way she tells Bazaar her first experiences at working with photographers (and we bet you our Rick Owens jacket there will be more to come) also reminds us how close are art and fashion (or how fashion belongs to arts, to say it clear and loud). For people who consider models to be artists – silent actresses, performers, living paintings/sculptures, the list goes on, the way she, and others, tell about their feelings taking photographs always says a lot. As for the pictures we used for this post, the first batch are by Caoimhe Hahn for Harper's Bazaar while the last two may have been taken by a genius remaining uknown of ours.
PS: as you may notice reading the first paragraph, the title isn't our own, for once. We first went for Connecticut Connection as she's from Westport, CT. Sounded really fancy too but Amanda's words of wisdom won by a knockout.
Freya Sombroek is on our radar and in our heart since the beginning of this year, creating some big bips and booms with any picture she takes, starting with what it should always start with – digitals, like the awesome close-up above. The blue-eyed brunette from Vivien's in Australia has nothing of a teenage russian doll and doesn't share much with any of the underage punkies around but oozes wit and poise (hadn't used this word for so long!) and totally translates these vibes into visual treats when arrives the time to release her first editorial work.
Thinking of two australian Harper's Bazaars in a row (one as sole star and the other by Jake Terrey next to a gorgeous and grown-up Katie Braatvedt) or a recent story in Vogue Taiwan (first picture above, by Naomi Yang). That might just the early steps (in the right direction) but she's got the beauty, grace and talent it takes to heap up some more delightful fashion series in magazines and leap further to hipper heights in a high-heeled hurry.
Coming into Blossom
After a turbulent week, especially last friday leaving us with a kind of flu and a lot of blue, we're glad to renew with quiet times and a sounder way of life. Saw the trees in bloom, light pink tiny flowers, petals in the wind, and our fever stopping reigning supreme – almost wanted to cry when we saw spring fighting against this slightly colder morning (tears of a sudden joy). And while we're digressing gently with these botanical stories, why not start today with another flower, also blossoming and for the very best. Imaan Hammam continues her rise and is probably the one gathering the most complete collection of high-end works these days. Just as her story in current issue of Vogue Paris, shot by Mario Testino, above.
But it doesn't stop with one Vogue gig, far from it (and if the french edition of the magazine rencently went through highs and lows – seems quality is striking back, though, despite our mixed feelings towards the cover). Imaan's Vogue record also counts sheets from the US edition and another one above by Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue Italia including one of the covers' foldouts. Slipping away from the best-known fashion magazine now, she also graces the pages of i-D's summer issue, together with other lovelies including another (already) all-time favorite of ours, Damaris Goddrie. Besides those we named or featured here, the quality of Imaan's previous work would rank from impeccable to epic, just as the last piece we wrote a few weeks ago on her WSJ story. And when you put all this together, you can only expect the blooming young woman to keep shining and climing.
Cosmetic Girl, In Our Mind, So Hard to Find – Abbey Lee's Beautiful Ker-Show
No, you're not (a cosmetic-lady but you're in our mind[s] for sure)... forgot, had to forget too, hey there, but we're still around, the radar's on, the lights too, the car – let's see, but, in case, it might be up for a ride. Still up for motel tours and highway supérettes we couldn't ignore. A slice of cheddar for the road (and eggs, please, eggs, and veggie bacon) and a big slice of chocolate to sleep by. No matter if we're attacked by raindrops or sandstorms, we do absolutely love the smell of latex kissing asphalt, the miles eaten by the gasoline-hungry beast that pulls us from place A to point B. And on that way to a fantasized nowhere, we found a face to care – about or for. Hell yeah, hell, hey, hello...huh... sunshine, and so on when clouds flee by. Abbey Lee Kershaw by Terry Richardson for i-D, it's been a long while or, if not, it's a fierce first.