Triple threat: Models are styling, set designing and photographing their own shoots during Coronavirus lockdown
With most of the world under lockdown on account of the coronavirus pandemic that affected over 180 countries in the world, movement has been limited and people have been advised to only venture out if they work for an essential business or service, to stock up on essential products, medical purposes and so on. This has put a lot of things into perspective for many of us, things that used to be essential, like just ‘needing’ that dress have been replaced by actual meaningful needs, like food. And in such times, with over 1 lakh people dead (as of April 13), fashion, beauty and trends seem fickle and have taken a backseat. But there are multi-million empires, magazines, websites that run solely on fashion, and to save their livelihoods, the frontrunners of fashion have taken a new and interesting approach on how to deliver fashion, be it editorials or products, to their audiences in the times of Covid-19.
While journalism accounts as an essential profession, fashion, not so much. And it is impossible to carry out a fashion shoot in these times of social distancing, you could probably photograph from 6 feet away, but how does one do make-up, hair and styling, all very hands-on jobs from six feet away? And nobody wants to risk their lives for the sake of a magazine spread. So retailers and magazines were left with no choice but to leave all the behind the scenes work including hair, make-up, styling and even photographing to the models, who are usually just tasked with looking flawless and posing.
Vogue Italia tasked models including Gigi Hadid, Lindsey Wixson, Sebastian Faena, among others for their ‘Far Away So Close’ digital photo series for the April issue of Vogue.
In Hadid’s case, the Vogue Italia team, under the direction of creative director Ferdinando Verderi, sent an outfit to the farm where the model is spending her days in social isolation. The details with Gigi playing video games and her Gold Fish snacks spilling out of her stylish bag made for a cute magazine-like spread.
Gigi posted the image on her Instagram with the caption, “Like every industry, Fashion is finding its new normal ... so when Vogue Italia sends you a Chanel look, you create a fantasy scene of what we actually do in sweats.... still featuring Goldfish tho !! shot @ home on the farm by my quarantine sis Leah McCarthy (v proud of your photography career debut.... major ) for Vogue Italia’s April 2020 Issue.”
I-D magazine did a makeshift photoshoot where photographer Willy Vanderperre took screenshots of models making the signature winking face associated with the magazine over Zoom or FaceTime.
The resulting images were posted on the magazine’s Instagram with the caption, “How do we stay sane during this time? Separated by the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all never been more physically apart. Forced into our homes to self-isolate and live for an indeterminate amount of time in our own little bubbles. How do we stay healthy, or keep to any kind of routine? To reflect this current mood, we found out how some of your favourite fashion people from around the globe are staying safe + sound, in a new special edition i-D project by Willy Vanderperre.”
British Vogue also got Jessica Alba to do a shoot of her skin care routine, and Alba’s funny commentary made for a fun video.
In the retail sector, fast fashion giant Zara was the first to jump on this model-dependent model. In fact, respecting social isolation in order to control the spread of coronavirus, high street fashion brand Zara has also commissioned models to style, photograph and pose wearing Zara’s latest products, all by themselves. The fast-fashion retailer sent its most recent products to models including Malgosia Bela, Giedre Dukauskaite and Cara Taylor, and they have been assigned with photographing themselves in the entirety of the latest collection (all by themselves) in the confines of their respective homes.
While there is still some level of human contact that is required in some of these cases, for example, someone has to create looks, get them packaged and delivered and is not completely within the guidelines of social isolation, but it is definitely a step closer to contactless retail, marketing and editorial experiences. Let’s hope we use our imaginative brains to ensure the health and safety of all while delivering to our audiences.