Vogue UK September 2011 – “Master Class”

On first look I thought this was refreshing – by which I meant in terms of styling and tone. I’m all about tone and this really tickles the pleasure centres of my brain. The predominantly black and white clothes make what little other colour there is really stand out – in this case, the blush upon Freja and Arizona’s cheeks and the beautiful buildings and cobbled streets of Antwerp. It is in these expressions of colour where we are reminded of where life truly is lived: in the faces of people and on the streets, not the clothes.

And it is in Freja’s face where the true beauty of this editorial lies. In the third and eleventh pictures there is almost an absence of self-consciousness; you can tell by where her eyes are focused – it’s as if the camera wasn’t there and we’ve just caught her in a moment.

To be simultaneously aware and unaware of the presence of the photographer and crew is no mean feat for any model. Freja’s ability to do just that only reminds me of how amazing she is at her job. (Not neglecting Arizona, she is wonderful in this shoot as well – but not quite on the same level just yet!)

Lucinda Chambers and Mario Testino have done an astounding job: by tying these clothes back to classic Dutch and Flemish paintings, Chambers has put the clothes in an historical context. This is further backed up by Testino’s photography, which mimics the light in those classic paintings faithfully: soft, cool light and deep shadows – while not ground-breaking it does the job perfectly. It certainly feels more challenging than his usual commercially-oriented work. A lovely editorial.