One of the most buzzed-about (and arguably the best) moments of Paris Fashion Week last season was when designer Rick Owens sent his spring 2014 collection down the runway on an actual step team, consisting of women of various races, shapes and sizes. To pay tribute to the boundary-breaking show, fashion editor Katie Shillingford teamed up with photographer Matthew Stone for a powerful shoot in the new issue of AnOther magazine.
Shillingford came up with the concept after being so moved by Owens’ spring show that she wanted to bring the designer’s fearless message to print. She admired the designer’s celebration of women of all kinds, saying, “No one is brave enough to take a risk [in the industry] because everyone is worried about selling clothes.” When it came to casting the shoot, Stone explained the process to AnOther:
“We wanted to respond to the show’s casting and acknowledge the different implications that it created. I initially recognized the idea of race being central, but Katie made me think about the show as a statement for all women as well. So I discussed our approach with a lot of my female friends. We worked with the casting director Noah Shelley to find a mix of street-cast models, friends of friends in New York and professional plus-size models. It was important for us to collaborate with women who are less visible in mainstream fashion imagery to reflect the impact of the show. That said I was conscious to try and avoid patronizing gestures. It did not feel like a compromise to work with any of the models we chose and I feel like we were lucky to find such inspiring and beautiful women in the process of it. We just wanted to make beautiful images of powerful women.”
Owens’ show was a huge step forward in an industry that is often criticized for its lack of racial diversity and exclusion of women who don’t fit a certain mold, and we applaud Shillingford and Stone for translating his vision into a beautiful editorial. For the full shoot and interview, head over to AnOther.