Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Posted by Maya Peilow

Note from Bethan: Maya has been interning with us for the past few months and has written for us today about the curious lack of 360 degree views in catwalk images….

When was the last time you saw the back of a model in a catwalk image or even magazine shoot? I would hazard a guess that the answer is, probably, never. Even though everyone attending fashion shows gets a good front and back view of each look, it's not until the item goes up on e-commerce sites that we ever get to see the back again. So the daring scoop of a jumpsuit or the bustle of an amazingly tailored jacket is often completely missed on a Style.com line-up or in trend reports. It's up to interested showgoers to tweet and Instagram the best back-views but even those quickly disappear down the news feed. 

In a feature for The Cut’s ‘Out of the Box’, photographer and artist Erik Madigan Heck has revisited the Spring/Summer 2014 collections to make us reconsider them from behind. These photographs highlight the details and actual trends that are often missed, as viewers all-too-often focus on the front of a garment. The photographs are presented in two ways; firstly, in a chameleonic manner, whereby the prints are placed against a similar or an identical background and, secondly, against a plainer background, which emphasises the attention to detail on the back of the clothes.

Chanel paint palette dress, from behind by Erik Madigan Heck (via nymag.com/thecut)

Alberta Ferretti SS14 (via vogue.com)
So, what have we been missing out on from a back perspective in the SS14 shows? Raf Simons' slightly eerie collection comprised jewellery which reminded us of moss creeping down the models' backs. And in one of the best examples of front/back diversity, the Dior designer sent out a perfectly respectable shirt dress which turned into a shoulder-blade revealing, sequinned racer back once the back came into sight. One of my favourite examples is Alberta Ferretti's embroidered sundress which turns to become beautifully backless with clustered bunches of flowers.

Dior SS14 (via style.com)

Dior SS14 (via style.com)
There's one major designer who is paying serious attention to the back/ front issue. In his work for both his own label and for Balenciaga, Alexander Wang is employing clever tactics to make sure we notice every angle of his designs. I wouldn't be surprised actually if he had someone solely in charge of mirrors. 

Balenciaga Resort '14 (via style.com)

Balenciaga SS'14 (via style.com)
On the catwalk, he positions mirrors so that the images which are beamed around the internet demonstrate a reflection of the back of the look. With the Resort (and pre we expect), he can be even more tactical, photoshopping in details as if on mirrors which can easily be missed in the full-length shot to give a much more impactful message for each item. The shoe, the arm detail and the cut-out all get their moment. In his own label Pre-Fall, Wang has eschewed mirrors but still makes sure we get different focuses by getting models to pose at different angles. It's a simple tactic but completely changes the way we view the collection.

Alexander Wang Pre-Fall (via style.com)

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