Wow Factor


I recently became aware of Fashionation, a website that tracks fashion editorials and photo spreads in both obscure and major magazines. Most recently, the site posted photos (with brief commentary) from W magazine’s amazing shoot “Kiss the Sky” with Gisele (above). Gorgeous.

Several of the shoots from this month’s W are bringing back the ‘goddess’ aesthetic, in response to the upcoming olympics in China – but showing a hard athletic version, rather than soft flowing draped imagery conjured by Harold Koda in the Goddess exhibit of 2003. Both “Kiss the Sky” and “Champion” (featuring Kristy Turlington) play on the two sides of this aesthetic in two separate shoots.

But even more interesting from a visual culture and museum curators perspective is the spread from Stiletto Magazine (France), titled “Songe De Robes.” The shoot is exclusively clothes dressed on invisible bodies, with no apparent location, no accessories, and most importantly, no people. The lighting is immaculate and focuses the viewer on the construction of each piece.

(Maurizio Galante Couture from Stiletto Magazine)

Couture pieces from Chanel, Givenchy, Armani and Lacroix (among others) float in an empty void, with no distractions – such as one might see in a gallery of art. Presenting these pieces in this way really draws attention to the folds of the fabric and the drape of the cloth (something Ann Hollander discusses in detail in the classic*). Gorgeous, ethereal, and intellectually stimulating. Interestingly enough, Stiletto also has its own blog (in French).

On a side note – I watched the first new episode of Project Runway, season 5 the other day and couldn’t help feeling like Tim Gunn was helping those designers just a little too much. I know its the first episode, so the weeding hasn’t been done yet, but having to tell a designer that they need to add “A Wow Factor” is so disappointing. The real ‘Wow Factor’ here is the lack of impressive designers, especially when comparing them to the artistic work presented by W and Stiletto.

Until Next Time,


*Full Disclosure: Anne Hollander’s Seeing Through Clothes is sold by my employer, UC Press.

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