Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

Yesterday I rose with the birds for my seasonal one-day trip to the Paris fashion trade shows, where I check out all the exciting new accessory brands. Whilst there, I met up with the Fash Ed and the lovely Yasmin Sewell, just before they embarked on what they were calling 'the bloggers walk' to the Chloe show. Having never experienced a show in Paris, I decided to tag along and see what they were talking about, and boy, was I in for a shock.

The picture below shows the stretch of the Tuileries Gardens, through which fashion show attendees have to walk simply to get to the tent. Please believe me when I say that approximately 95% of the crowd are street style photographers.

Everywhere you looked, there was a camera in your face. It was honestly a little bit scary. According to the Fash Ed, taking street-style pictures of fashiopn editors was the sole preserve of the Japanese; whole magazines are dedicated to what fashion editors wear in Japan. In the West it is online that street-style has taken flight. And in five years the a handful of snappers has turned to 100s.

With every step towards the tent, more and more photographers/bloggers/fans swarmed like bees, waiting to pounce on their prey.

One of their prey was of course Ms Sewell, who couldn't go five metres without being surrounded. This happened about six times during the walk.

Seriously people, what on earth is going on?! Street style is beginning to completely take over the business of fashion shows. It felt crazy at London Fashion Week, but that was nothing compared to the mayhem in Paris. We fully appreciate the beauty and benefit of great street style documentation; it's an invaluable visual diary of the zeitgeist, but it's becoming all-consuming. Too many people are taking photos; and for what purpose? The heavyweights have already carved their niche, and I don't imagine the likes of the Satorialist will be giving up their place at the top any time soon. Primarily, street style should be about quality, not quantity. One incredible shot will shout louder than fifty blurred shots of a celebrity clothes horse in a nice frock. And lest we forget, fashion week is meant to be about what's on the catwalk, not on the backs of the audience.

For some examples of when street style photography serves it's true purpose spectacularly well, here are my favourite shots from Paris. They all capture something very special, unique, and intriguing; not just a nice pair of shoes.

 Leigh Lezark, snapped by Tommy Ton for Style.com.
An exceptionally beautiful coat, but an even more exceptional look from Leigh that simply adds to her aura of mystique.

Freja, captured whilst demonstrating her unique brand of 'I just don't give a...' cool, by Mr Newton of Harper's Bazaar

Giovanna Battaglia by Garance Doré. The proof of a good photographer lies in their ability to capture the moment, and it doesn't get much better than this!

 If you are bored with the standard street style snaps, it is fun to explore photographer's personal blogs. YvanRodic.com throws up some of Facehunter's quirkier shots; those that might not be cookie-cutter perfect, but somehow give an insight into what a fashion week is really like.

Last but not least, Kanye and ADR snapped by Phill Taylor. You knew Anna would be in here somewhere; she has pretty much made street style her personal territory. Maybe not their most flamboyant fashion looks, but the sheer star power of this coupling is creating lens flare, they shine so bright!

Speaking of Anna Dello Russo, it's impossible to write a blog about street style without mentioning her. This woman gets up in the morning and dresses to get photographed - her OTT sense of style has made a thousand cameras flash over the past year, and the subsequent images have massively raised her public profile. All credit to her; she looks unbelievable, but I can't help thinking what an awful lot of effort it must take to look like she does. In fact, Bryan Boy captured ADR in action as she posed for Tommy Ton, and I will leave you with the video, to perhaps illustrate my point.

There was a surreal moment yesterday before Valentino also in the Tuileries, (below) when it all seemed to go bonkers. The cycle of vanity seemed to be eating itself. This person snapping that person because they are doing their job and going to a fashion show wearing nice clothes. Its like the cycle of Hollywood fame in miniature. The people photographed become famous in the blogosphere for what they are wearing, much in the same way Alexa Chung is famous because she goes to fashion shows. It IS ALL madness.

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