17 May 2008

The Darker Side of Fashion

Roughly two years ago I attended a lecture at London College of Fashion in Oxford Circus called The Dark Side of Fashion. It was right about the time when all of the fashion industry was making a big fuss over model weight and the industry’s high expectations of them to be so skinny that led to the deaths of Luisel Ramos during Uruguay’s fashion week.

The incident caused a worldwide size zero debate, and LCF put together a debate featuring the topic The Dark Side of Fashion. Model Lily Cole, fashion designer Roland Mouret, and UK vogue editor Alexandra Shulman had a rather hot debate. The partying, drinking, doing drugs image of models were discussed with great passion citing Kate Moss’s drug incident as one of the prime examples of bad role modeling.

Lilly Cole defended the images of her fellow models claiming there are issues of drugs, partying etc in each industry not just modeling. The panel debated for an hour then took questions from the audience. Issues raised up at the debate were the more unglamorous and realistic side of fashion that contrast with its glossy pages and flashy catwalks.

But Alex Prager a photographer from LA explores the theme the dark side of through a different medium. Alex Prager’s shoots portraits of models in a dark light. Her images are so cleverly lit and sharp they look like cinema stills. The models in her Big Valley Series are so beautiful and the portraits are so powerful you feel like you are more than an observer but actually stuck in the situation the models are in. Even though the portraits do not show anything disturbing happening, she has shot them in a way that they are tense and filled with thrill. She draws on portraits of creepier side of fashion, by using the same models Vogue would hire and portray them in a Hitchcock themed light.

Prager received no formal education since the 8th grade (lucky her) and spends most of her time in LA, Florida, and Switzerland. She took up photography at the age of 20, and sites William Eggleston’s work as inspiration.

If you live in L-town you can visit her portraits at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in South Kensington. It is the first time Alex Prager is showing her work in the UK, and you can also catch her Polyester series which are follow along the same lines of her Big Valley series.


B said...

You've been linked! I love this photography, gorgeous and dark.

Anonymous said...

lily cole hasn't graduated yet. she's been offered a place to study at cambridge.

fashionambition said...

Thanks B!

fashionambition said...

Thanks for the lily cole tip!
guess i didnt hear it right at the lecture!

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