JIL SANDER’S FREE SPIRIT

Byline: Godfrey Deeny

PARIS — Jil Sander, who established a reputation for featuring an almost tortured beauty in her catalogs, has taken a new turn in her house’s latest effort — free-and-easy innocence.
Featuring Shalom Harlow and photographed by Britain’s Craig McDean, one of fashion’s hottest photographers, the color catalog is a definite break from the past. The previous three were shot somberly by Peter Lindbergh, and featured Linda Evangelista twice and Amber Valletta. The one constant is Frenchman Marc Ascoli, a style consultant to Sander for the past seven seasons, who also handles the art direction of her ready-to-wear presentations in Milan. Ascoli said Shalom was chosen “for her contemporary face.”
“She’s sophisticated, but also young, and we wanted to center the image on this quality,” he said.
Renata Janner, Sander’s director of image and communications, said the German designer was drawn to the model’s “mixture of naòveté and elegance.”
Widely admired for its style and originality, the catalog was shot in Pin-Up studio in Paris. It is being mailed to clients worldwide and distributed in Sander boutiques and shop-in-shops. Images from the book, which contains a half-dozen unusual fold-out pages, have also begun running in leading fashion magazines. Including the price of printing 15,000 copies, the project cost close to $100,000, Janner said. She declined to reveal Sander’s total spring ad budget.
McDean had previously worked as an assistant to Nick Knight, when his fellow Briton shot Sander catalogs several years ago. “Jil loves to have a photographer’s ‘handwriting’ in a photo shoot. And as it was a very colorful collection, we felt Craig fit. He’s very of-the-moment,” Janner explained.
McDean spent nearly a month shooting and printing the book, and insisted on using his regular team of Pat McGrath for makeup and Eugene for hair. “I suppose my aim was to capture some personal moments,” said McDean. “We wanted Shalom to be really free, not contrived and stiff. And as she used to be a dancer, Shalom could achieve that mood. It was all rather hit-and-miss, but it worked.”

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