Esther Windsor


Iain Mckell, Sarah Baker, Arnaud Desjardin with Alex Sarginson, Stephen Jones.

‘Vague papers’ features: Jet, Jo Patterson, Chris Mcguigan, Amy Oliver, Hollie Moat, Kendra Frost, Espiria,
Victor Bergen–Henegouwen, Jo Broughton
Editor in chief: Matthew Holroyd
Art Director Jacob T Nelson

1000 000 mph project space
59 Old Bethnal green Road
London E2 6QA
Exhibition: 17 February. – 18 March 2007 Fri. – Sun. 12-5pm
Private View and Launch of Vague Papers: Fri. 16 Feb. 2007 6.30 – 9.30 pm

Curated by Esther Windsor

Salon originates from the curators experience of a group of east end artists meeting a group of west London fashion photographers at the home of Iain Mckell. It is also a collaboration with a new fashion journal Vauge papers, edited by Matthew Holroyd, launching its second issue, to co incide with the exhibition and London Fashion week. The exhibition includes: adoringly beautiful film and photographic portraits of the model Lilly Cole shot by Iain Mckell for Italian Vogue, evoking accidentally the fascination and anxiety of femininity in adolescence alongside a selection of his archival subcultural images; Uncanny photographic portraits of Arnaud Desjardin dressed and naked as Yves Saint Laurent, mimicking the poster adverts for his brand and clothes of the 1968-73 period, also a time of great political change in France; Sarah Baker’s posters using herself as an exaggerated object of bling culture and an iconic hat of designer Stephen Jones, used by Baker in a shoot featured in Vague papers. Inevitably different discourses and intentions collide: Mckell, the fascinated voyeur, worshiping the memorising beauty of a young girl and hyped model, representing big named fashion houses, the iconic Vogue, seductive saturated colours, glossy images and film, all with glamorous edginess; Baker, a satirical mimic of materiality and MTV culture written fetish like on her own female body, complete with mirrored sunglasses, leopard skin and gold, and shown in the style of fly posting; Desjardin, also using his own image, referring to masculinity, feminised, ready for consumption and branding, which was faintly scandalous in 1968 but now familiar in the myth of the great fashion house and the contemporary ease with which the masculine body is also objectified.

Further information on artists:

Iain McKell’s project includes an extensive portrait of the model Lilly Cole and a historical view of his beginnings in photography, including portraits of young girls taken as an adolescent himself, across periods of social change, for example: girls in Weymouth and Exeter in 1970s: skinheads in Kings Cross: rock against racism. These show a changing political landscape as a background to a social and sexual body politic of the early 21st century.

Iain McKell grew up in Weymouth, Dorset. He studied at Exeter College of Art and later moved to London and spent a year photographing skinheads and new romantics and started contributing to I-D, the Face and Vogue Italia. Nick Knight assisted McKell for his college industrial release which also inspired Knight to photograph similar subcultures.

In 1982 McKell photographed Madonna for her first magazine cover, Smash Hits' rival, 'No 1 Magazine'. At that moment she was completely unknown except on the New York Club Scene - 'No.1' took a gamble and put her on the cover the following week after the exposure of her first hit, 'Holiday' which went to Number One in the British charts and she never looked back.

In 1984 McKell staged a self-curated exhibition in his studio - 15 Westland Place - called 'Iain McKell LIVE'. The concept for the exhibition was to be an artist-in-residence and the public could watch shoots being created as work in progress like an audience. During this show comedians from the British TV comedy 'Comic Strip'- Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Robby Coltrane, Adrian Edmonds and others sat during this performance/photography project. Capturing the attention of the London media ,the show became high profile. The Photographers' Gallery invited McKell the following year to stage 'LIVE 85' at their gallery alongside the group show '5 years of the Face,' in which he was also a contributor. McKell immediately went on to work on advertising campaigns for brands such as Smirnoff and Red Stripe with meetings for these campaigns being held there at the Photographers' Gallery as part of the photographic installation

McKell carried on photographing for The Observer, The Sunday Times, I-D, L'Uomo Vogue and directing TV commercials and pop promos. In 1995 McKell was singled out as 'most promising new-comer in advertising' by Campaign magazine for Creative Futures Exhibition - as nominated by Malcolm Gaskin. In 2001, McKell staged an exhibition in Brick Lane called 'Then and Now' at Story. Showing three tribes of the eighties - Skinheads/Mods, Clubbers/New Romantics and New Age Travellers

McKell has gone on to document subcultures that hold a fascination for him - neo gypsies living and travelling in horse-drawn wagons, Thailand psychedelic-trance jungle parties, Wickerman festivals in Scotland, hip hop, rockabilly in the USA, the nineteen-forties swing club in London, 'Lady Luck', new mods and the 'Lewis Bonfire Society' - all of which have been published in I-D, L`Uomo Vogue and The Sunday Independent. This all recently came together in McKell's first published book, spanning three decades of subculture called, 'Fashion Forever,' published by Imprint in Whitechapel

At present McKell continues to shoot portraits and fashion for the Observer Magazine, Sunday Times, I-D, L'Uomo Vogue and Vogue Italia and is currently working on a new book of photographs.

Arnaud Desjardin
‘YSL men 68 to 73’ is an interdisciplinary project straddling the disciplines of art, fashion and design history. The ultimate aim of the project is the production of a series of photographic portraits based on the original fashion collections designed for men by between the years 1968 and 1973. ‘YSL men 68 to 73’ intends to be a fictionalisation of design history by (re)creating some hypothetical photo shoots of actual existing collections. The project is based on the mythical period of production of Yves Saint Laurent in the late nineteen sixties early nineteen seventies.

An uncertainty persists in the possible irreverent debunking of myth: myth of the artist, the 60’s the enduring elegance and ‘Frenchness’ of YSL or revelling in the heroic moment of the great man. The images whilst slick are uncomfortable in an uncanny manner, the feminised male naked body, mimicking a poster advertisement for the YSL perfume brand, featuring YSL himself complete with wig or strolling with a lap dog under the arm, or snapped by a solitary hedge in a park. This ambiguity is reinforced by an image ’double portrait’ with Arnaud as YSL and Matthew Holroyd as himself, whose journal Vauge, the images appear in and with whom he collaborated in a recent shoot. In the image Matthew looks adoringly in recognition at Arnaud as YSL and the past and present, the real and the artifice collide.

Sarah Baker
The shoot for Vague Paper was a day out with Sarah Baker and her entourage. She describes it in her own words:

‘Matthew and I rented a Limousine, got a team together and went to various places in the west end- the Lanesborough Hotel, Bond St., and finally Partridge. The team consisted of my PR girl (Isha Bohling), my security guard (Anthony Gross), my homegirl who fixed my hair and make-up (Jen Fechter), my DJ-photographer mate (Jet) and my personal stylist (Matthew Holroyd).

The Lanesborough wasn't having any of it- so we quickly left- we went into a chocolate shop on Bond Street and the chocolatier asked me if I was famous- in the mean time people hovered in the windows gawking at me. It helped that our limo was waiting just there... The best part of the day was in Partridge (which is a fine-art antique dealer on Bond Street- kind of like Sotheby's), as the owner, who is very young and hansom, was completely convinced that I was an actual celebrity and pretended to 'know who I was'. At this point it was only four of us: me, PR girl, DJ-photo friend, and my security guard. I had been in there previously so I was inquiring about a particular piece, a guilt mantle-piece, and my PR girl was speaking French with him... I was posing for Jets photos, we were all eating chocolates- it was very natural as we were all playing our parts perfectly- but we were being ourselves as well. The owner was so convinced by us that he served us tea (except the security guard, of course, because he had to hover in the background and be ultra alert) and then the owner gave us the full tour and asked if we wanted to throw a party there- after all- some Prince of Jordan (or wherever) was having a party that night... It was very strange because this was the point that the line between reality and fantasy was very blurry. I actually felt the part because it was a real intervention- not a dream, an idea, or even just a photo shoot. It was a real taste of celebrity treatment.

Afterwards I was wondering what he thought I was- I mean, besides obnoxious American... he never asked because he pretended to know who I was, and we were too cool to give any kind of explanation-5 of course, that would be too obvious. He must have thought I was a pop-star and not a rich man's wife, surely no. No rich man's wife would have their name branded on their sunglasses, earrings, and fingernails. I have never loved my name so much as the day that I realized it fits perfectly- one letter on each fingernail.’

Stephen Jones
"Jones is a deft conjurer, who can draw whimsy from a hat. Steeped in couture lore and craft, he nevertheless propels his art into the future with his ceaseless invention and thistledown touch." His genius is to enhance the mystery, allure, and wit of the wearer.""
Hamish Bowles, VOGUE USA

"Stephen Jones is the maker of the most beautiful hats in the world."

"Stephen Jones is possibly the most original milliner working today. His hats echo Schiaparelli's from the 1930s, but are always completely up to the minute in mood. He entirely understands the zeitgeist"

Born in Cheshire, and schooled in Liverpool, Stephen Jones burst on to the London fashion scene during its explosion of street style in the late seventies. By day, he was a student at St Martins; after dark he was one of that era's uncompromising style-blazers at the legendary Blitz nightclub - always exquisitely dressed, and always crowned with a striking hat of his own idiosyncratic design. Contemporaries hungered for a little of his individuality. And, by 1980, Jones had opened his first millinery salon in the heart of London's Covent Garden. Those premises soon became a place of pilgrimage and patronage, as everyone from rock stars to royalty, from Boy George to Lady Diana, identified Jones as the milliner who would help them make arresting headlines.

Jones made millinery seem modern and compelling. In materials that were often radical, and in designs that ranged from refined to whimsical, his exquisitely crafted, quixotic hats encapsulated the fashion mood of the moment. Twenty-five years later, Jones's era-defining edge continues to attract a celebrity clientele which currently includes Marilyn Manson, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Beyonce Knowles and Alison Goldfrapp.

Ever playful with scale, Jones created Kylie Minogue's truly spectacular showgirl headdresses - while, for Dita Von Teese, the burlesque super-star, he recently fashioned the tiniest of tricornes. He has designed hats for the Rolling Stones - and for Rei Kawakubo's recent Stones-inspired Comme des Garçons menswear collection.

But Kawakubo is only one name in the rollcall of fashion designers with whom Jones has collaborated. From Vivienne Westwood, Claude Montana, Thierry Mugler and Jean-Paul Gaultier throughout the eighties to his current work with John Galliano for Dior, Jones's hats have been an integral component in some of the most memorable runway spectacles of the past quarter century. Today, Jones's retail boutique, design studio and workroom are all located in a charming Georgian townhouse close to the site of his very first millinery salon. In addition to his Model Millinery collection, he designs the widely-distributed Miss Jones and JonesBoy diffusion ranges - plus a JonesGirl accessories line exclusively for Japan.

Jones's work is represented in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert museum (London), the Louvre (Paris), The Fashion Institute of Technology and the Brooklyn Museum (both, New York), the Kyoto Costume Institute, and the Australian National Gallery (Canberra). Now, as ever, at the forefront of fashion, his beguiling hats routinely grace the most celebrated magazine covers and enliven window displays of the world's most stylish stores. From runways to race-courses, from pop-promos to royal garden parties, millinery by Stephen Jones adds the exclamation mark to every fashion statement.