Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Fantasy of Fashion Editorial: 'Kerr Goes Kiwi'

Image Credit: Miranda Kerr shot by Orlando Bloom

So last week the New York Times T magazine published a series of adorable photographs of Miranda Kerr shot in Wellington by her husband, Orlando Bloom. At times a bit tongue-in-cheek, at other times provoking a bit of life envy (just me?), they got me thinking. 
In general, I think that fashion editorials convey their publisher's interpretation of the spirit of the season- who the 'woman' is that designers have been designing for and what her story is. They can also reflect something of the social mores of their time- the exotic escapism of the 70s Vogue shoots under Diana Vreeland, the plush, rarefied world of Cecil Beaton's socialites, the envelope-pushing irreverence of Vogue Paris under Carine Roitfeld, challenging a changing Europe and so on. But a key quality of editorial is that its currency is aspiration. In looking at those images, we simultaneously want to be the model and we want to 'have' her- have what she's wearing, have the world she inhabits. It's an imaginary world, created by teams of professionals using their skills and the clothes at hand to present a fantasy to readers.




What's extraordinary about the 'Kerr Goes Kiwi' series is the way that they conflate 'reality' with fantasy. What I found so captivating about them is the blur-between fantasy and the version of reality that they present. Kerr and Bloom are married, living in Wellington where the images were shot, and the pictures look refreshingly 'unstyled.' The same items of clothing appear in multiple shots, Kerr's hair is loose and slightly mussed as if she just rolled out of bed and her face is fresh with minimal make-up. The pictures are also full of casual touches- here she is barefoot and striking a touristy pose against a mural, here she is almost cheekily mocking model poses, with her hands on her exaggerated hips, grinning. Here she is with her son, both walking with their backs to the camera as if to keep privacy, to keep the viewer at arm's length- despite the fact that the picture was shot on assignment for a major newspaper.
This is the tension of the images that compels us- they bring us into the 'intimate life' of this famous family even as we are aware of their stagedness. To put it another way, here is Kerr and Bloom "performing" their family, creating a fantasy around their own lived 'reality'.

In their simplicity and sweetness, these images powerfully contribute to the myth surrounding this couple- that of happily and effortlessly "having it all"- and I think this is fascinating. Maybe one my favourite editorials of the year so far. 


To see the full story and range of images, click here.

2 comments:

  1. I love pictures of Miranda Kerr just being Miranda Kerr. She is an incredibly beautiful woman either way, but I find her so much more beautiful just being herself than in the sexed fashion editorials she usually poses for.

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  2. I'm with you Rachel. For me, much of her appeal is her blend of (stunning) beauty and her breezy, easy-going vibe which is completely masked by the 'high fashion' stuff she does- the Balenciaga runway, the Jil Sander ads. They always come off as somewhat forced and unnatural to me? Maybe because they're so diametrically opposed to her overall brand, though obviously it's prestigious for her to work with such labels. It raises an interesting question though: would it be better to just stick with jobs that reinforce her branded personality (kind of like how Elle MacPherson did) or to raise her fashion profile with the niche/high stuff? Gisele seems to be one of the few models who can do glamour and high fashion without there being a disjuncture. And maybe Karlie Kloss too, now I think about it...

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