Vika_vogueI found myself laughing hysterically at one particular press release that was sent out documenting all the instances of one particular brand worn in streetstyle photographs with myself included, captioned as "Susie Bubble wears xxx to Viktor & Rolf show".  Chortle chortle – who the crap cares what I'm wearing and why would that matter to whoever is receieving said press release. 

This is just one instance of the virulent nature of street style at fashion week and how it has grown into a bit of an uncontrollable beast that has its ups and downs depending on who you are in the game.  Bravo for those that are getting their share of the pie – the brands that get photographed, the people who get snapped constantly and thus have their profile raised and the newcomer photographers who are making $$$.  Boo hoo for the old streetstyle stalwarts (Tommy, Bill, Scott, Phil etc…) that are starting to get pissed off because it is THAT much more difficult to get a decent photograph, the people that feel they are now getting harrassed outside shows for a photo and those that feel streetstyle photography adds a new sort of pressure to peacock yourself at shows in addition to err… you know, that THING that some people seem to forget about going to shows – reporting, filing, writing, getting your job done(?).  I can only see it all growing and become an even bigger beast than it already is, which brings into question a few issues that will invariably crop up next season and beyond.  Does streetstyle photography at fashion weeks require a set of guidelines or unspoken etiquette or indeed accredition of some sorts?  Can the supposedly spontaneous quality of streetstyle, be applied to fashion week streetstyle antics and isthis a good or a bad thing, if the results are that these are still hugely inspiring images, be it that there might be staged or privileged elements to the construction of the shots?

I might be a crap example to use as someone who has gained positive outcome in this new game of Streetstyle Factor but designer and streetstyle starlet Vika Gazinskaya (picture above by Phil Oh for Vogue.com) is certainly a winner in these stakes.  I haven't counted all instances but by lending out her clothes to people who are likely to get photographed and by wearing her own creations herself, her presence on the S/S 12 streetstyle slideshows was impressively high.  As Fashonista points out, these photographs are scrutinised and highly circulated and for a young designer like Gazinskaya, it's the sort of publicity that easily eclipses editorial coverage.  It does look somewhat suspect when you can see the frequency of her clothes popping up on clearly prominent streetstyle targets such as Hanneli Mustaparta, Anya Ziourouva and Miraslava Duma and cynics would call this out as transparent as say a brand seeding product out to a celebrity stylist for their clients to wear.

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Photographed by Tommy Ton for Style.com

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Photograph by Nam of StreetFSN

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Photographed by Nam for Grazia.It

The main point of difference here is that if Gazinskaya didn't have the goods to back it up, it's also unlikely that photographers such as Tommy Ton, Phil Oh and Nam (I know I cite this trio often but how can I not when they're my fashion week trench-pals?!) would choose to shoot the pieces or find it inspiring to capture.  Gazinsakaya's particular mode of promotion is somewhat admirable and in a way, completely apt for how fashion inspiration is disseminated in the 21st century.  Her designs however hark back to another era and as noted in previous posts of her work, it's clear that couturiers like Cristobal Balenciaga and Christian Dior have left strong imprints on her choice of silhouette.  Mid-20th-century couture leanings is something that has been wafting around now for a few seasons in many collections but from Gazinskaya's collections, you get the feeling that it's her personal preference of dress that really informs her work and so rather than the shapes feeling like old relics, they look revived and refreshing, as evidenced by the streetstyle photographs above.  

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It feels like Gazinskaya has also refined her work and feels slightly more at ease with these 1950s silhouette than she had done in previous collections.  The lightness in this collection is hugely helped by her choice of parrot prints, slotting perfectly into the right mood of all things tropical and holiday-based for next season as well as the scribble prints which were a beginning to form a motif in her last collection.  The scribles were then developed into 'fake' diamonds, sometimes as teardrops falling down a top or as necklaces that are printed onto very expensive silks for an interesting contrast.  These pieces remind me of Tom Binns' 'Get Real' collection from a few years ago except here, the naivet√© of the drawings is even more pronounced and when paired with luxurious fabrications of the dresses, it's quite a stunning yet approachable effect.  I'm not one for nipped in waists and flared out skirts and general airs of elegance (because I don't have the right stature to pull it all off…) but I'm swayed by the scribbles and the childish approach to what is a grown-up piece.  Gazinskaya doesn't exclusively look to the 50s though as she also referenced the Middle Ages (apparently she was in the gym watching a documentary about the Black Death without any sound) and so she does her own take on Middle Ages dress with the ballooning sleeved organza frocks.  No doubt next season will see another collection hit the streets before its lookbook has even had a chance to get a viewing but it's certainly working a treat for Gazinskaya, whose work is definitely deserved of that presently prized platform of exposure.   

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Comments (20)

  1. laura says:

    It is interesting to see the move from the shows been the focus to now looking at pictures from outside all the shows.
    Personally I find them inspiring -but I do believe you should use manners when taking some ones photo. Just because you have a camera in your hand doesn’t mean you can take leave of your senses.
    I do not know how other photographers go about it but if I asked for someone’s picture I would make sure they got my business card so they could at least look at the final result.

  2. Kit says:

    This is why I stopped shooting street style in 2010, the newbies somehow exploded in the middle of nowhere.
    When I first met Craig (Altamira – Models Off Duty) at LFW Sept 2008, he asked me a simple question, ‘What is your aspiration for Style Slicker?’ my answer was ‘I want to be the next Scott Schuman.’ Looking back now and laughing…..I was very silly. Well, my street style blog did well for two years :D

  3. Heidi Chen says:

    蠟筆筆觸簡單不失趣味性
    http://heidi0619.blogspot.com/

  4. Love how this post started of talking about the politics/future of street style and ended with a collection of incredibly gorgeous images. Her collection is seriously amazing – it feels so imaginative and original. Agree that it might look a bit like whoring out the brand when so many people are snapped wearing it – but when the clothes are this incredible I definitely don’t mind. xx

  5. Joy says:

    It’s funny because I don’t really read street style blogs. I don’t remember seeing THAT many street style blogs so I wonder where do these new photogs post these photos…or maybe I’m just oblivious to it all. Hope this beast will die a natural death very soon.

  6. Al says:

    In part I agree with you, but I am one of the newbies that shot like crazy in Paris(though being a street-style photographer is not my main blogging thing since I am mainly an illustrator). So two things:
    - Everyone is a newbie at the beginning. Also Tommy Ton and Nam. Everyone has the right to be a newbie and the right to shoot whatever they want, if permission is accorded by the subject.
    When giant bloggers were just at the beginning of their career they were complaining of how they were treated by magazines and the fashion industry in general. Now they are behaving exactly the same with the “new” bloggers.
    I know that this is the nature of life, the “cheerleaders vs. nerds” and “last year student vs. freshmen” high-school-like stupid rule that applies to any kind of job environment, but it’s still a bit ridiculous.
    I understand why the top street-style photographers (who I love very much too) are so irritated, but let’s give time for natural selection and if they’ll still be good as they are now in the next months and years they’ll stay at the top.
    If someone’s better than them, then it’s fair that the top goes to this new photographer. And it’s fair that a new photographer has the chance to prove what he’s worth, without being scared of more important bloggers to be pissed at him
    - Second and very important: the subject of my (I say “my” in my specific case, but it can be more general)street-style pictures is not, in one single photo (oh yes sorry, maybe one), the same as the top street-style photographers.
    What led me to shoot people in Paris is that I was sick of Anna Dello Russo, Miroslava, Giovanna, Elisa Nalin (even though I love the style of many of these girls) in every single photo and I needed a new inspiration.
    There are tons of amazingly styled people out there but on the biggest street-style websites the photos are always the same, and always of the same people.
    I need something fresh, and I know that many other people as me do, so I’m just trying to give myself what I want from street-style.
    They can be sure that I’ll never steal a shot of Anna Dello Russo from them (who I imagine will never be scared away from thousands of newbie photographers either)
    Al
    -The Red Dot-

  7. susie_bubble says:

    Al: What you’re saying is all correct… I’m all for newbies joining in on the game especially if they are good. New voices are beneficial in both fashion blogging and streetstyle blogging. It’s not really my field and I’m merely an observer so I guess I’m somewhat biased given that I’m personally friends with the likes of Tommy and Phil and I have to hear about the ‘daily grind’ of going out there into the battlefield that is the Tuileries.
    I’m merely suggesting that the field might become too crowded and that perhaps a set of etiquette might need to be instilled. You can’t deny that there are plenty of photographers there that are hardly professionals – forcing ppl to pose for pics, being PHYSICAL with ppl (I had someone who grabbed my arm to stop me from going into a show just to get a pic…) or just generally not taking the job seriously (using iPhones and point and shoots etc).
    You’re right though – those that are good should rise to the top… but what will the state of the circus be at that point? I was questioning whether the street style had become too calculating and ‘set-up’ which has nothing to do with the photographers themselves but more about the subjects who get photographed….
    To answer your second point, I too have trouble with the ‘diversity’ on show on some of the blogs – street style photographers now have a ‘set’ list of people to photograph and so you do get a monotonous feeling. It’s great therefore that you seek ‘fresh’ subjects that inspire you. I always see a ton of people that never get snapped but are amazingly dressed…
    And you’re right….Anna is one of those that will never be freaked out by hordes of photographers…

  8. ZhenyaH says:

    Absolutely incredible! I love the “paper” cut-out accessories.
    xo
    http://beingzhenya.wordpress.com

  9. Al says:

    Oh my God, I have to be sincere, I never heard of these stories of quasi-violence and extreme rudeness of photographers, maybe because I am completely new to the fashion week environment (and am also incredibly shy to ask for a picture)I never noticed it… So now I completely get what you mean, and I also understand more that other much more professional (and polite) photographers can be pissed by this.
    I also understood your observations on the photo subject, and I do agree on that too. You can really see that often girls have a Fashion Week stage style, a “take my picture” style and the real personal style and taste sometimes is put aside… And of course there is also the game of promotion and the like. And I don’t like it that much either, at least I don’t like the fact that it’s becoming so big and spontaneity is being lost
    Thank you for your reply ;-)

  10. Kate says:

    Those silhouettes are amazing and love the butt-bow at the end. Adorbs.
    Kate
    http://www.thrillofthechaise.com

  11. Olive says:

    Oh i love Vika Gazinskaya’s signature style. She’s always know how to look chic without being too much no wonder she can design all of those pretty pieces. I just suddenly in love with her creations!!

  12. Nora says:

    When I read this article, I kept nodding to myself. I agree that the subjects of street-style photography are getting less diverse across the different blogs. It’s funny how nowadays I look at these blogs and go “ahh.. Misrolava, ahh.. Kate Lanphear… ah, Ulyana” just the way I look at runways and mutter to myself “Freja… Hanne… Arizona”. One blog that I think still sticks to the true street-style photography is indeed The Sartorialist.
    Great article, Susie!
    Nora

  13. Jason says:

    There seems to be a lot of speculation about fashion week “street-style” this season, which makes me wonder If I should even continue pursuing it. We’ll see..
    Anyway, love Vika’s style as usual.
    P.S. – good seeing during fashion week.

  14. a.d. says:

    This is such an interesting post. I think that the charm of street style used to be becausethe subjects were unsuspecting. This is no longer the case. I’m not to keen on “street-style” anymore as they just for the most part seem to portray models, editors and celebrities in designers like Celine, YSL, Chloe, etc.
    Blogging is not such a new medium now and like other media counterparts there will be the good, the bad, the bland and the innovative.
    We all just have to be a little more creative, even the veterans/pioneers.

  15. Teresa says:

    I think it would be sad if streetstyle blogs stopped celebrating amazing personal style and just became undercover advertising campaigns. However Vika’s designs are really something special. I also find that her personal style is completely like none other and to be fair , I do think some of those people wearing her designs and getting photographed, ie Miroslava Duma, are personal friends of hers.
    On a completely different note, I really like the blog revamp!
    http://teresasglobaladventures.wordpress.com/

  16. Natalie D. says:

    In reply to your, and Francesca Bruns’, concerns with the physical violence aspect of the whole experience, there are laws protecting you. Be it harassment, or the laws of privacy against people just snapping away and then getting an economic gain out of it all, without first getting the subject’s permission for the use of their image.
    It would be interesting to know whether anyone present at the fashion shows has ever pressed charges against such street style photographers (celebrities do it against the paparazzi), or it’s just not in the industry’s mores (as something that comes with the job).
    Natalie D.

  17. Kasia says:

    I like it!
    Kasia

  18. Shelley says:

    After reading this post, I think that there is definitely an advantage to being a street style photographer in a small Canadian city, because my subjects are not famous, and I have no competition. I love what I do because I get to have interesting conversations with my subjects, and I’m always being inspired by what people who live in a conservative city that has no fashion week, and few alternatives for shopping outside of chain stores manage to put together.
    I do like Gazinskaya’s designs, especially the “faux jewels” collars and the black and white scribble dress at the end.

  19. OMG! It’s SO beautiful! I would die for a dress like that!
    -Gallery

  20. matilda says:

    anyone know who the model is? :-)

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