When most designers put together a look book they hire a model and photograph that same model styled in their looks for that season. Not Rachel Roy.
Roy has always used real women-not professional models-for her Rachel Rachel Roy look books, but this season, in keeping with the dance trend brought to a head by Black Swan, Roy has hired professional dancers and a choreographer to dance her spring collection for her diffusion line, Rachel Rachel Roy.
"Using dancers for the spring look book was an inspiring and powerful way to showcase young people pushing themselves through art," said Roy. It's no surprise Roy is open to unconventional sources of inspiration in fashion--she's set to launch a line with New York Knick (and Vogue-darling) Amar'e Stoudemire sometime soon.
So a couple weeks ago I stopped by the Jermaine Browne dance studio tucked away in the Garment District to watch the choreography/casting in progress. Nine dancers were selected to model/dance 14 looks from Roy's spring Rachel Rachel Roy collection. "You have to look at the collection you're working with--is it structured, is it loose, does it flow--so then I get to say this piece can work with this style of movement," said choreographer Jermaine Browne, who is no stranger to the world of fashion, having choreographed several Victoria's Secret runway extravaganzas and modeled himself. "For example, one of the dresses we're working with is structured and fitted so the movement I've given the girls to do is more about their hands."
When the fabric has more give, there's more room to play. Hence one dancer, a popper, does her piece almost entirely from behind her hot pink mini-dress, holding it over her face as if it were a screen. There's even a Nutcracker-ish Mother Ginger moment when dancers perform underneath the stretchy skirt of another dancer.
Browne has incorporated all styles of dance to best show off Roy's collection, from hip-hop to ballet to Indian-inspired. The most impressive part? They had to learn everything in two days.
Check out more behind-the-scenes photos from the rehearsals for Roy's spring lookbook.