India Salvor Menuez

29th September, 2014

There’s an inherent sorcery in styling a shoot. It allows an opportunity to practice little acts of alchemy, combining seemingly random elements to create transportative images. That’s always the goal, anyway. I’m grateful we get to shoot so often; it gives me ample opportunity to practice that magic ~ mixing different styles, genres, people and potions. One day we’re elevating latex, the next we’re imbuing a New York City-edge into sportswear staples. Every story is a wonderful journey and a welcomed creative expedition, but there’s nothing quite like styling couture. That’s the place where fashion becomes a fine art, and to be invited to play in that sandbox is both an honor and a responsibility.

When I found out Jamie and I would be shooting Chanel’s Haute Couture collection, everything else on my plate faded to irrelevance. It was the only shoot that mattered, and for me the casting was key. Shooting couture, there’s an instinct to treat it really preciously, to be quite polished and posh in approach. I couldn’t let us fall into that trap; I felt we had to strike a balance between honoring couture’s traditions and also breathing youthfulness into the institution.
IndiaSalvorMenuez2Immediately, I knew there could be no other model for this project than India Salvor Menuez. I’d admired her from afar for so long, always delighted to see her face pop up in my friends’ artistic works (she’s a frequent muse for both Shae DeTar and Sarah Sophie Flicker), or to read about her in Dazed, i-D or Oyster. I see her as one of those great New York City creatures ~ like Edie Sedgwick, but less troubled ~ who manage (seemingly unwittingly) to quietly inspire vast artistic tremors across the culture around them.

I love social-media-peeking into her raw world: the tumblr filled with her own artwork, her obsession-inspiring Instagram, the Know-Wave radio show she hosts… It all seems to reflect a desire for speed and an insatiable curiosity, which is fascinating to watch. Combined with her Renaissance-painting face, she becomes an endlessness pool of inspiration. She’s transcendent in every photo I’ve ever seen (here are a few, for proof!).

On India, I knew I could mess with the couture a bit. I could button her plaid gown backwards, glue craft store pearls onto her neck and place a crown of burning sparklers in her hair. I knew her classic beauty would give the images an immortality, while her youthful energy would keep them feeling fresh. She brought a timeless dignity, a tomboy twinkle, and a sense of self that could never be overpowered by clothes. She was a true muse. I cherish these images and cannot wait to see where else the winds of time and the wheels of whimsy take this talented lady.
IndiaSalvorMenuez3PHOTOGRAPHY| by Jamie Beck
STYLING| by Kelly Framel
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TheGlamourai is a webzine produced by Kelly Framel, a multi-media creative director based in downtown New York (but constantly bouncing around the world). Part fashion blog, part glossy mag, part fantasy travel portal, it's your ultimate online destination for stylish daydreams. Tune in for inspirational editorials, beauty tutorials, outfit ideas, DIYs, jet-set travel tips and more!
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