From Inès de la Fressange to Charlotte Gainsbourg, French fashion has always embraced the rebellious privileged classes--it’s an Amélie-esque world both raunchy and aristocratic, wrapped in nothing but Chanel tweed and macarons.
Which is not to say this perspective hasn’t led to beautiful imagery. But to locals, it might feel a tad slanted. Dior’s runway might be all-white, but France is a multicultural nation. From the May ‘68 student revolts to recent angst-led riots in the banlieues, resonant street life occupies a key place in collective memories.
The latest issue of Antidote--an annual coffee table-like magazine shot entirely by a single photographer—-focuses on the street. Rather than being a spectator of ‘high’ fashion, Antidote celebrates urban life as something that ignites sartorial energy.
“Street culture is extremely potent in France, but is often more ignored than in Anglo-saxon cultures,” says magazine editor-in-chief Katell Pouliquen. “The streets tend to be a cause of fear, associated with revolution, rebellion,” Pouliquen explains. “And this applied to fashion too! The arrival of Prêt-à-Porter, a younger, urban form of fashion, was perceived as having dynamited haute couture, like damnation!”
The features in Antidote provide both sociological and sensual depictions of the street--ranging from the role of clothes within social protests to the representations of gender in urban contexts. “I hope multiculturalism becomes an editorial evidence,” added Pouliquen.
This approach is spiced up by gorgeous imagery by Hans Feurer, who has been shooting naturally lit, un-retouched portraits of girls since the ‘70s for the likes of Vogue, i-D, and Interview magazines.
For this issue, he snapped the models of the moment like Daphne Groeneveld and Jourdan Dunn in the streets of Paris and Miami in the most unlikely scenarios--toting a surfboard, or walking sleepily while toting pillows and blankets--but nevertheless looking “like a scene snapped in everyday life,” said Feurer.
“Our urban jungle is an infinite source of inspiration, where you can run into love, joy, sorrow or carnage,” said creative director and founder Yann Weber. “I wanted to show that difference is beauty.”
The latest issue of Antidote hits US newsstands in three weeks.
Click through to see more from Antidote's 5th issue, including all eight covers.
Photos: Hans Feurer/Antidote
Disclosure: I have contributed to Antidote.