Edie Campbell in ‘A Fleur De Peau’ by David Sims for Vogue Paris April 2019

Edie Campbell, Jana Julius, Birgit Kos, Mayowa NicholasRebecca Leigh Longendyke & Samile Bermannelli travel deep into the psyche of the mind, in ‘A Fleur De Peau’ by David Sims for Vogue Paris, April 2019. Each image is a reflection of nature’s excess. No rhyme nor reason, this editorial exposes the impulse to explode. Don’t confuse opposing energy fields, you’ll merely be assimilating opposites. That’s a base reaction. When you look at this editorial, how do you feel? Do you view a chaotic underpinning teaming to release? Or, do you witness the conceptual birth of new ideas? This is a moment in history. An evolutionary marker. This is the beginning of CHANGE. It’s an important question, with an even more significant answer. On the one hand we have discipline. On the other we have a rush of manic impulse waiting to attack. Chaos is merely a mind-game drawing us into a deeper story-line. Here we have a group of people teaming with untapped potential, and warping with wild imaginations. Venture into the unknown spaces of the abstract mind. This is untamed reality at it’s finest… this is a story of truth untold.

This Ancient, Egyptian Goddess… Queen of the Sea… Transformed from Beauty into a Being of She. Samile Bermannelli transforms into Queen Nefertiti. Taking on the regal countenance of Nefertiti. Samile delivers an organic series, rich with vivid details and alive with vibrant imagery. Lucia Peroini embraces the purity of her beauty by simply adding a glow of mint green that encircles her electric eyes. Allowing her eloquence to speak, she enhances her exquisite lips with a peach hue. Duffy’s braided coils curve atop her head like a crown of coiffure, as a golden collar lights up her gorgeous skin. He then lets her natural locks flow free, dipping the tips with a subtle shade of scarlet. These dynamic combinations are a masterful mix of natural elements and applied artistry. Samile moves through a variety of historic haute couture, only to find herself on the edge. Her journey is one of discovery. She is a force to be reckoned with. Giving us a dynamic, multi-layered performance that rivals the stage.

Right along side her, in talent, is another performance where I can only say… BRAVA. Here, we have Edie Campbell embracing the truth in transformation. How do I begin to write about something so commanding…. so penetrating… and, ultimately so significant. Just sit with it… let the words ride over the mind… give the meaning a moment… then, let the verbiage settle into it’s rightful place. The soul is satisfied. Our body is renewed, ready to follow the mind on an exquisite ride. Her achievement isn’t merely in applying a coat of coverage or a dallying in dress-up. This is a performance, that I believe, will go down in editorial history. So, I begin by paying tribute. At the helm of this eloquently expressed editorial is the one-and-only, Emmanuelle Alt. I have always been moved by her artistic choices. In each publication, she seems to understand her place in history. Not just the riches that accompany such a grand position, but the rewards that come with having the bravery to go where others have wavered. To have the heart to embrace the tenor of our times. And, the will to go out on a limb in order to go deeper. To be willing to explore not just expose, that is the difference.

Campbell delivers one of the most spectacular editorial performances in recent history, with imagery that pays homage to David Bowie. She embraces the androgynous elements with such vehement force, we are hardly bothered by a shot of her shirtless in a hot-tub. Her connection to the concept is utterly remarkable. To watch as she walks  in his footsteps… is to watch her Becoming Bowie. A thespian at heart.  The dedication to her craft is evidenced by her complete transformation. To observe the elements of her artistry collide is to witness mastery at work. Her entire performance is executed with such precision, I am in utter awe. Her penetrating stare brings us back to Bowie, in an ode to Ziggy Stardust. So intoxicating is her theatrical presentation, she’s completely lost in the moment. Rock-Star Chic never felt so complete as Edie becomes a ‘Rebel Rebel’ with a cause. This is an important artistic statement. This is the stuff of editorial infamy.

Lucia Pieroni takes great creative leaps by changing the appearance with merely the use of makeup. Her talent is outstanding. She plays up Rebecca Leigh’s skin, with bronze tones topped with peach accents. Giving her a very natural look. Then she transitions into makeup with a heavy application. White powder provides a powerful backdrop. Some may say she went for a couture clown look, I say it’s a vision of avant-garde delight. Thick, blue brows transition into a thin black line, while green/blue shadow’s mix, encircling the entire lid. Dark lines are drawn down the side of her nose, and red lips seem to bleed out the sides of the mouth. The entire image is outstanding. Jana Julius goes from naked faced to femme fatale, with thick makeup that gives a little shout out to 80’s decadence. She’s Simply Irresistible, in imagery that reminds us of the Robert Palmer girls of the time. Pieroni perfectly captures the smeared black lids and perfect red pout that embodies the era. Giving us beauty just the way we like it, with a bit hit of Crazy.

In one of the most important images of the story we see Birgit Kos, or more importantly, we don’t see her. A dark hat lays low on the surface in kind… as a gold face and blue hair intoxicate the mind. Speaking to her spiritual side… we’re reminded to fail is to never have tried. This costume is a choice portrayed with a sense of spirit and embolden with imagination. Lucia covers her skin with a gilded hue while Duffy does her hair in a deep shade of blue. Ignited In Spirit Shining Sublime… She Waits to See Through the Eyes of Time. Fighting For Our Rights… Fighting To Be Free… Fighting For You and Fighting For Me. When Hate Is All Abolished and Unfairness Erased We’ve Entered a Place of Poetic Grace.

Mayowa Nicholas pierces through the picture as she penetrates the page. First we see a close up shot of the mouth. The look is captivating as she holds the ice cube between her red lips. The camera only captures the lower half of her face, making the image a more intimate connection. We can almost feel the burning sensations as cold water rush down her chin. This is a tactile story. We reach the end of this magnificent ride only to find, Mayowa, sitting in the dark playing with fire. Both images are electric. Caught in the shadows hidden in time lost in the memory is the forgotten, sublime. Here we see nothing but the shadows dancing across her skin. There’s moodiness in the air while secrecy falls over the scene. Both images are electric. Campbell then caps this story off with a picture that’s worth a thousand words. Reaching out to the unknown. A compelling shot captures her crying to the camera. It’s the only image captured in black/white. It’s as if all the color had faded away. This story is layered with thought provoking imagery that invites you to ponder.

Symbolism Speaks. We are of the fashion ilk. Better known as the marauders of true art. Imposing our digital diatribes on the more legitimate fare. I take my fight to the grounds of openness and free-will. But, I’m on the side of those who longs for change. We must take pause and consider. We have to be willing to fight on the battlefield of the mind. However, I believe, that if we are to take on topics that by nature can (and have) ruffled more than a few feathers. Then, we have to be willing to put our best foot forward. By that I mean, it’s not just about a pretty face or a savvy shot, it’s about the meaning behind the makeup, as it were. This story is setting out to prove we can have both. Fierce imagery that fosters progress. In truth, I believe we are getting to a place where anything less than that is coming off as Flat. To that end, I add the idea of waste. I think each one of these grand editorial expressions is a chance to really explore on topical ground. We just don’t have the luxury to waste time. We must spend wisely. Five fearsome females fuse their minds, bodies and souls to connect to a singular truth. Don’t shun the unexpected for it will always come, twisting in the winds of change and screaming at the sun.  Again… BRAVA!!!