VOGUE asked 15 photography students and recent alumni to create a still life featuring an oversized handbag. From Brooklyn to Bavaria, a Camargue beach to a Chicago apartment, each image provides a distinct perspective on some of the fall’s It bags. As they graduate into an uncertain time, this group proves the persistence of creativity. See their work, and learn about each student’s vision, below.
Kahdeem Prosper Jefferson
When Kahdeem Prosper Jefferson’s final thesis show at the Fashion Institute of Technology was canceled due to the coronavirus, he and his classmates displayed their work on the Instagram account @interlude_fit. There, Jefferson showcased his series Children’s Story, which used pebbled glass to provide an Expressionist view of formative tales with Black bodies shining through. “I wanted to make the Black experience a normalized one, giving people who look like me a sense of inclusion and pride in history and culture,” Jefferson said in an interview. Here, a DOLCE&GABBANA tote gets ready for a ride in Bushwick.
Robin Plus finds inspiration in electronic music and its associated environments. His first solo exhibition, shown in Arles where he graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie, captures club kids in daylight, surrounded by green clovers and clouds. This photo was taken on a beach in Camargue, where pink flamingos roam. Missing parties during the pandemic, Plus imagined “a woman secretly leaving her house with her FENDI XL shopper to spend the night at a private rave party.”
Eden Hawkins takes photographs that she then digitally alters and reprints, leaving viewers wondering what was ever real. Her recent work homes in on textiles—particularly the spandex and neoprene of swimsuits that become kaleidoscopic beneath her lens. She noted that her focus on the space between physicality and virtuality felt fitting as her Royal College of Art class prepared for their virtual degree show. For VOGUE, Hawkins applied her approach to a 1 MONCLER JW ANDERSON bag.
Olivia Galli’s thesis at Parsons School of Design focused on the matriarchy within her family. Galli’s late grandmother, Joan B. Johnson—whose portrait is pictured here, in her Chicago apartment—cofounded and ran the hair-care company that was the first Black-owned business to be listed on the American Stock Exchange in 1971. “I believe that in capturing Black excellence, as it has always existed, my work promotes a norm and not a dream,” Galli states in the introduction to her thesis. A DIOR book tote sits on the left, with a Louis Vuitton bag on the right.
Clémence Elman’s work combines documentary and fantasy, whether she’s capturing her family members in bougainvillea flower crowns, or painting monstera leaves to match the PRADA Galleria bag she photographed in her grandfather’s garden for Vogue. Elman recently graduated from France’s École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie, Arles.
“I want my work to evoke a positive feeling from the people who look at it, but I also want it to provide them the space to question and expand their world views,” says Myles Loftin, who graduated with Parsons School of Design’s class of 2020. His thesis project was created to shed a light on the everyday lives of Black queer people. Here, Loftin captured a Kenneth Ize x Sagan Vienna tote bag (left) and a COACH bag (right) on the beach at Fort Tilden, New York.
“It’s a very uncertain time right now, especially for graduates, but I feel like this moment holds a lot of opportunity for creative growth,” Trevor James says. James’s thesis project for Parsons School of Design considered gender performance and queerness against the landscape of the American West—a longtime source of visual inspiration. That same backdrop (in this case northern Texas) hosts the RALPH LAUREN Collection RL50 bag pictured in Vogue.
“I’ve been using an iPhone camera to transform mundane surroundings into poetic abstraction,” says Kehan Lai of her approach to photography. To create the photo here, Lai digitally created a background using abstract images from her thesis at Parsons School of Design. These multipurpose totes—an Hermès silk kit bag accessory and scarf (top) and GIVENCHY medium Antigona soft bag with attached silk scarf and chain bracelet (bottom)—lend themselves well to Lai’s goal of questioning “the relationship between human perception and physical reality.”
Sarah Leïla Payan
Growing up in the French coastal city of Marseille, Sarah Leïla Payan has long been inspired by the way light plays on water. Her subjects can be found tangled up with a lane divider in a swimming pool, crouching on salt-battered rocks, or simply looking out to sea, much like the MARNIpatchwork hobo bag (left) and Asata Maisé patchwork tote bag (right) she photographed for VOGUE. Payan recently graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie, Arles.
Constanza Valderrama’s recently earned M.A., from London’s Royal College of Art, is her second master’s degree (she previously studied at the Universidad de Chile). Her recent work uses fragmentation—created by printing imagery on Post-it notes—to depict the layers of a subject, from a fractious political protest in Chile to the memories of her grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. For Vogue, Valderrama applied that approach to a photograph she took of a BALENCIAGA Neo Classic large top-handle bag in South London’s Rookery Gardens.
Shabiha Jafri’s senior thesis at State University of New York, New Paltz, centered on the grief and absence she experienced after her mother’s death. In one series of images, Jafri has hand-sewn cyanotypes of her mother’s MRIs onto her clothes. “Her clothes are the strongest pieces of her identity; they are the only part of her that never changed,” Jafri writes. Here, her mother’s shawls are pictured with a pair of CELINE by Hedi Slimane bags.
“My practice is built on the aspect of telling and retelling in fairy tales,” says Nadja Ellinger, who recently graduated from London’s Royal College of Art. With past projects, she has created visual variations on Little Red Riding Hood and The Little Mermaid. In her image for VOGUE, a MAX MARA wool Teddy bag with its attached bucket bag and metal bottle becomes a character, pictured with spilled cherries in the woods outside of Munich: “It gets its own agency,” Ellinger says, “[and] is more than just an accessory, but the protagonist of this weird tale.”
Pamela Martinez created a dedication to a “home away from home” with her thesis project for the Fashion Institute of Technology. Discounted mangoes take center stage in one shot, while sunflowers overlook the city in another. Martinez says her approach to photography is to “create harmony between something that doesn’t ‘belong,’ whether that is literal or metaphorical, and make it become the most special part of an image.” In her image for Vogue, the SAINT LAURENT by Anthony Vaccarello Suzanne medium hobo bag becomes a bouquet as it sits atop a vintage car on New York’s Lower East Side.
Siena Saba, a recent graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology, favors spontaneity over pre-planned photo shoots. While in quarantine, Saba created a series of portraits with her friends via FaceTime. “I let my shoots flow and take me wherever I end up,” she says. Her ongoing project, 1347 (currently available in zine form), documents the roommates and goings-on of her Bushwick apartment. For Vogue, Saba captured a BALMAIN Saddler bag in rural repose on Montauk.
“My approach to art is rooted in my need to document our version/truth to history,” Naomi Merlain says. At Howard University, Merlain created a short film called The Genesis Project, an exploration of womanhood through the lens of the Bible. Her photography work has recently included a portrait series of her mother in mourning. For Vogue, Merlain captured a layered still life starring a TORY BURCH Mcgraw embossed color-block tote bag.
The singer and fashion pioneer Marc Bolan died 40 years ago but his look still shapes today’s styles.
Musicians have gone from fashion muses to fashion makers in the turn of a few seasons, one-upping style heroes of yesteryear like Mick Jagger and David Bowie — who nevertheless are routinely name-checked as inspiration in show notes.
Marc Bolan, a wild child who once had all of Britain groveling at his shiny heels.
Few words, if any, are devoted to the sartorial legacy of a man whose influence has done as much (if not more) to shape what we see on runways today: Marc Bolan, a wild child who once had all of Britain groveling at his shiny heels.
Forty years after his death in a car crash just days before his 30th birthday, it is time the rock ‘n’ roller was given his fashion due.“He wasn’t just a dedicated follower of fashion – he created fashion,” said Alan Edwards, the English publicist who worked with Bolan and Bowie.
Marc helped pioneer a look that endures to this day.
“With his black curls, made-up eyes, and uniquely androgynous look, Marc helped pioneer a look that endures to this day. His hippie-chic influence can be seen all over the place, from Lenny Kravitz to Kate Moss.”
Add to the list Slash (whose signature look owes much to Mr. Bolan’s portrait on the cover of the 1972 album “The Slider”), St. Vincent, James Bagshaw of the rock outfit Temples (a spit and image), and Johnny Depp in the “Alice” films. Generally speaking, though, the man behind Glam Rock is mostly shrouded in obscurity, while Bowie is hailed as its poster boy.
Born Mark Feld into a Jewish family in London, Mr. Bolan always knew he wanted to be famous. First, he did it solely with style, appearing in Mod outfits in magazine spreads and cardboard cutouts in department stores; later on, in the early ’70s, he did it with his band, T. Rex. Widely credited with pioneering the glam rock movement, Mr. Bolan, with his corkscrew hair, sparkly makeup, and flamboyant outfits, defined an era of glitter and gobbledygook. However, he never broke through in America.
Bolan widely credited with pioneering the glam rock movement defined an era of makeup and glitter.
“Many fashion designers reference him today,” said Oriole Cullen, senior fashion and textiles curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum. “You can see that again and again. For instance, at YSL, when Hedi Slimane was there, with the chunky platforms, baby-doll dresses, the snakeskin jackets.”
And GUCCI’s interstellar ad campaign, featuring ornate, shimmering jackets à la Bolan with wide lapels and sequins, has the T. Rex song “Ballrooms of Mars” written all over it.
Paul Smith, another Bolan fan, explained why. “Marc Bolan’s look was always incredibly theatrical,” he said. To the London designer, things have changed for the worse: “Sadly, it seems that there is almost no theater left in popular music. Lots of skinny jeans, T-shirts, and short haircuts.”
It’s easy to imagine that, had he lived, Mr. Bolan would have had a permanent place in the front row of every fashion week show. As Zowie Broach, head of fashion at the Royal College of Art and a co-founder and designer of the brand BOUDICCIA, said, he “would have been deeply adored today and would have adored fashion today.”
Kim Kardashian flaunted her toddler-sized HERMÈSBirkin again during Paris Fashion Week. Kanye West gifted the Birkin his future wife 2013. It isn’t any $40,000 Birkin with some DIY applied nude but an art piece by contemporary artist George Condo. He painted a nude image of a woman surrounded by three other bodies with warped faces. (One had a slime green demonic visage with a gaping red mouth.) West had also tapped Condo to illustrate his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Get inspired by this example, get an affordable, authentic replica Birkin in our store and get the Acrylics out. If you lack talent, find some at the local art fair.
The rapper and singer is able to comment on an approach to fashion that hasn’t had much recognition in the music scene.
New York rapper Princess Nokia has a brand new single out, called “Balenciaga.” Over a mid-tempo beat, Nokia flexes her frugal fashion statements in the face of designer clothing:
“Sketchers looking like Balenciaga / Thrift clothes looking like the Prada / Whole fit lit, it cost me nada / B*tches always talking, I give them all nada.”
The rapper and singer is able to comment on an approach to fashion that hasn’t had much recognition in the music scene since Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thriftshop” in 2012. While Nokia’s cadence is less playful than the aforementioned entertainers, the message of autonomous meaning-making remains the same.
“This song is about the fun I’ve always had taking designer concepts and recreating them with imagination and personality,” Nokia said in a statement. “It’s about weird, off-kilter fashion and the blurred lines between fashion and style. It’s not anti-designer at all…it’s just a song about practicality and comfortability with one’s self. It’s about non-conformity and not taking fashion too seriously. The underlying theme I realized was about not caring what people think and dressing for yourself.”
Her song calls out the mainstream appeal of aligning oneself with the counterculture brand
Princess Nokia, whose offstage name is Destiny Frasqueri, suggests that the creativity one imbues into an outfit is a more veritable measurement of personal style than adorning oneself with the accoutrements of ready-to-wear garb. What’s interesting about Frasqueri’s lyrics is her use of the brand Balenciaga, which is known as a subversive fashion house. Her song calls out the mainstream appeal of aligning oneself with the counterculture brand online, as “dressing for hype” and “likes.” This popular approach to the alternative brand corrupts the philosophy of subversion, which is acknowledged as behaving in a way that goes against the norm. It’s in this headspace of cognitive dissonance that consumers, myself included, begin to go a little mad. This unfolds onscreen throughout Frasqueri’s choreography where she dances in an interpretative style while stripping her clothes off, possibly alluding to the tale The Emperor’s New Clothes.
What’s different is the inhibition expressed toward equating the monetary value of a brand’s identity to one’s personal identity.
This mature lens through which Frasqueri sees society could be accredited to her New York upbringing, which is underscored as being an adolescent in characteristically adult scenarios. (At age two, Frasqueri lost her mother to AIDS. Between the ages of 9 and 16, she was in foster care. During her time in foster care, her foster mother was physically abusive.) It seems Frasqueri developed a sense of personal agency at a young age and let that quality positively evolve with her as an adult with an acute eye for individual style and flair. The message in her song renders an inspirational theme of self-assurance.
Fashion acts as a neutral party, it is important for us as cultural players to stay aware of how its reputation is framed within music and media.
My generation, Gen Z, seems to be polarized between conservation and consumption. On one hand, there are the Kylies and the Arianas. On the other, there’s Greta Thunberg. Princess Nokia’s sentiment is particularly important for younger listeners who need a more balanced message from celebrities. Mixed messages regarding the two topics only divide members of the young audience further. Fashion acts as a neutral party, playing a role that’s neither good nor bad, but important for us as cultural players to stay aware of how its reputation is framed within music and media.
Purseblog is asking if you should self customize your valuable designer bag. We say absolutely. But get our authentic quality replicas, you can afford to waste a few bags until you get it right. Express yourself without inhibitions/
Big brands have taken notice and many offer customization options of popular styles. There’s Gucci’s DIY service, Louis Vuitton’s Mon Monogram, Goyard’s hand-painted service, Mansur Gavriel’s hand-painting and more. These services are available to the masses, and though they’re personalized and one of a kind so to speak, if you want to take it one step further, you can. Many bag lovers are choosing the DIY route, and a quick google search yields a ton of results. Whether it be a painted Louis Vuitton Speedy, a patched-up Neverfull or a DIY painted Birkin, it seems that there are a lot of brave handbag lovers out there.
The results, when executed well, are edgy, unique, and fun.
Have you ever thought about DIY-ing one of your favorite bags? The results, when executed well, are edgy, unique, and fun.
The CHANEL Deauville, named after a seaside resort in France is our most popular tote bag.
Deauville is a seaside resort on the Côte Fleurie of France’s Normandy region. An upscale holiday destination since the 1800s, it’s known for its grand casino, golf courses, and horse races. It’s wide, sandy beach is backed by Les Planches, a 1920s boardwalk with bathing cabins. The town has chic boutiques, elegant belle epoque villas, and half-timbered buildings.
1913 was the year when Coco Chanel chose to open her first fashion boutique on rue Gontaut-Biron in Deauville. It was in Deauville where she first to invented a sporty sense of style that reflected a changing society, a style that would forever alter the course of women’s history.
But this place had the most meaning for another icon: Peter Lindbergh acclaimed fashion photographer made Deauville his open-air studio throughout his career.
Furthermore the CHANEL Deauville tote is our most popular tote bag.