I liked Lara Stone in Holland, but I love Kim Noorda in London from the Fall 2011 issue of Tank Magazine. I'm all about prop-heavy styling so the jar of apple-flavoured boiled sweets and tempting bookshop shelves are appreciated additions to Kim's day of wandering.
It's also nice to see Viktor Vauthier's photography featured in a fashion magazine, I much prefer his professional work to his personal, ironically it seems feels more relaxed, maybe because I always consider how his personal photos probably involve just as much planning, so that although they are 'off the cuff' they actually feel more contrived. When leafing through a magazine editorial there is a suspension of disbelief; you know that the clothes featured will have been painstakingly called in and steamed and ideas will have been scrapped, advertisers consulted and you know too that the model is essentially acting. Street style and personal photography blogs however are more real, usually disconnected from commercial incentive and their success lies in the honesty that they project. While I once loved personal photography sites like (the now defunct) The Skullset, or even more recently Viktor Vauthier, because they felt real, these days as with street style blogs the boundaries are more blurred. I find that sense of 'ad-hoc' photography, as something that counters the glossiness and exclusivity that once defined mainstream fashion publications harder to find because the two styles have themselves blended. Anna Della Russo dresses up to be photographed just as street style photographers are commissioned to shoot campaigns and editorials. And this merging is okay, in fact it's exciting (the Anna Della Russo part not so much, that makes me feel uncomfortable) but I feel like there needs to be more honesty about the photographs. This Viktor Vauthier editorial in Tank Magazine works for me because I know it's a commercial piece of work but sites like The Sartorialist, Garance Dore or The Facehunter aren't as believable to me anymore, particularly when the photographers plan to meet subjects in order to photograph them.
For me it's also about always seeing the same faces on the sites, so that person becomes defined as a clothes horse rather than style being just another facet of subject. But arguably this then turns into a debate about the changing nature of street style photography; who is the subject of street style and should well dressed Fashion Editors be excluded just because they have become familiar after previous documenting? It's an internal debate that always resurfaces around the time of Fashion Week as that is when the current contrived nature of street style is at it's most apparent to me and it becomes a thread of conversation between those attending. That street style photography encourages a more entrenched 'parade' mentality isn't anything particularly new but it does feel like a backlash is in swing, both from those tired of being involved and those who, like me, want more from sites which seem preoccupied with snapping subjects for the 'it' status of their clothes. Of course capturing the zeitgeist is of great importance to many street style photographers, but it can mean that their sites become less about showcasing true flair and more about 'grabbing that lady over there to photograph her Prada brogues' as if she is part of a universal club regardless of what the rest of her outfit is like.
I find myself thinking about the nature of street style photography a lot and for me it says a lot about our approach to the way in which we consume fashion because it is very easy for the 'real style' bracket that encompasses street style it to become just as 'fantasy' orientated as magazines. Is there a difference between seeing that glorious Balenciaga dog sweater in an editorial or snapped on the street? I think I'd be more inclined to buy it if I saw it on someone 'real' but at the same time, I don't want to read street style blogs so that I can leave myself lusting after the same items featured in magazines. I read street style blogs because I want to be inspired by the clothes people wear without it going hand in hand with the notion of 'needing more stuff'. It also continues to surprise me that considering the wealth of blogs and sites across the internet, genuinely satisfying street style blogs are lacking. And the title 'Street Style' is itself increasingly confusing, because some of my favourite go-to sites like Turned Out or Closet Visit involve pre-planned shoots with subjects and therefore lumping all sites that showcase style under the one umbrella title feels too broad.
Though it's a topic that regularly pops up in my brain for mulling over, it's not something I've come to any concrete or even coherent conclusions about, just as with the nature of street style itself, it is constantly changing.