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Sèven styling decisions behind an iconic Vogue cover
Welcome back to the SèveN! This week we explore 7 styling decisions that went into creating an iconic Vogue cover.
Gaultier Desandre Navarre is a French stylist whose work reflects his personality: chic, measured and inspired. We spoke with him about a momentous occasion in his styling career, his first Vogue cover, and the key elements that brought this iconic image to life. The cover in question? That of Vogue Arabia April 2022, which stars Ugbad Abdi, whose journey from refugee to supermodel embodies the triumph of perseverance and ambition.
With its powerful message of "Connected: Fashion that brings us together", this cover is an effective composition where fashion seamlessly intertwines with storytelling. Gaultier effortlessly blends cultural nuances, personal identity, and style to create imagery that leaves a mark. As he puts it, a great opportunity: “For me, it was really a chance to make it couture, high-society elegant, on a model that decades ago wouldn’t have been part of this type of picture.”
For Sève, he lifts the veil on his thought process, the meticulous selection of each element, and the captivating story that weaves them together. From the conspicuous headwear, to the statement jewellery, Gaultier takes us through his styling decisions one piece at a time.
When Gaultier Desandres received the pitch for the Vogue Arabia cover, he was instantly inspired. He recalls “The vision was clear: an iconic, elegant, and timeless concept infused with chic sophistication.” The timing couldn't have been more perfect, aligning with the end of Ramadan, adding an extra layer of significance to the project. Inspired by the 1950s Hollywood era, Gaultier embarked on a creative collaboration with the entire team, joining forces to transform vision into reality.
“It was an opportunity to create something where contrasting elements would intertwine harmoniously, all while honoring the model's religious requirements.”
The Headscarf (found in New York's garment district)
Among the many elements that Gaultier painstakingly searched for, he described the headpiece as “one of the most significant and challenging pieces to decide on”. After spending hours in the garment district of NY, exploring various tapestries and thick printed textiles, he finally settled on a yellow jersey fabric. The headpiece not only wrapped the model's hair but also added personality and texture to the entire look.
“The element became the "fil conducteur," that tied all the elements together and honoured the model's cultural heritage”
The Hat by Alexandre Vauthier
To add a touch of elegance and haute couture flair, Gaultier called in an Alexandre Vauthier couture hat. He commented with a pleased smile “it just blended everything, adding edge and strength to the look” . Indeed, its stark black color creates a striking contrast with the yellow and hot pink elements, while the structured rim adds a sense of shape. Reminiscent of iconic Irving Penn photographs, the hat served as a nod to the timeless allure of French fashion and an inspiration for the model’s posture.
The Jewellery by Alexis Bittar and Yves Saint Laurent
It's hard not to be struck by the jewellery in this cover. On this topic Gaultier shared “I am used to working with high jewellery shoots which require less stacking. This was an opportunity to add a fresh perspective and honour the model's personal journey.” By incorporating Michele Lamy's influence and pulling pieces from designers like Alexis Bittar and Yves Saint Laurent, Gaultier aimed to infuse the cover with a modern twist. The diverse textures, earthy tones, and materials such as wood and stone symbolized change and personal growth, creating a profound connection to model Ugbad Abdi.
The Couture Jacket by Valentino
In a serendipitous twist, Gaultier made a last-minute decision to incorporate a Valentino couture wool jacket into the ensemble. “What I loved about it was the explosion of texture and colour, it gives the look softness but at the same time makes it so dynamic” he recalls. The impeccable craftsmanship and great texture of the jacket made it a standout element of the style anatomy behind the cover.
The Jumpsuit by Balenciaga
The Balenciaga jumpsuit emerged as a standout choice for the cover. With its sleek silhouette, the piece perfectly aligned with guidelines of modesty. “The way this jumpsuit is made is super chic, the heels are incorporated - it’s just an amazing piece to style” he added. The jumpsuit embraced modernity while sticking to the elegant brief, showcasing Gaultier's keen eye for contemporary fashion.
The Glam by Sil Bruinsma
Collaboratively agreed upon by a skilled team, the make-up was designed to strike the perfect balance between the prominent elements and colours. “Because there are so many complexes pieces that make this look, you have to maximize the effect of the face as it is the only skin shown” Gaultier shared. Inspired by gothic aesthetics, the makeup accentuated strong eyes and defined cheekbones to enhance the model's features.
The resulting look is a testament to Gaultier's masterful styling and impeccable attention to detail. It is a complex ensemble that exudes balance while maintaining a dynamic energy.
“I want people in 10-20 years to also look at this picture with only the date - April 2022 - and really take it as an example of what fashion was retrospectively, the Valentino pink, the Saint Laurent bourgeois elegant trends, same with Balenciaga”
- Gaultier Desandre Navarre
As far we are concerned: a masterclass in styling!
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