The fast-and-loose, run-and-gun style of 20th century street photography is quite unlike the carefully managed image making favoured by many of today’s leading fashion houses. However, as this season’s fashion shows draw to a close, we’re taking the opportunity to look back at one of the more impressive shows from New York fashion week: Marc Jacobs' presentation at the Park Avenue Armory, entitled Respect, which drew heavily from the early hip-hop styles of Harlem in 1978, and late Seventies street photography of New York native, Joel Meyerowitz.
Jacobs directly referenced the “urban landscape documented by legendary New York photographer Joel Meyerowitz” in the show’s notes, and even invited the 79-year-old photographer along too, asking Joel to take a shot (top) of the “incredibly spare show,” as Joel put it in an email to us last night.
"Models crossed a long, bare runway and exited out onto Park Avenue where they paraded in front of dozens of photographers,” Joel said. “Then they posed in a tableau that Marc designed for them in front of a 20-feet-long, 12-feet-high bank of speakers. Lil’ Kim’s music blasted out onto Park Avenue, and an impromptu Block Party took place. Then all the guests and buyers came out and it went wild!”
The clothes themselves, though inspired by the street, also have fine-art as well as high fashion origins. Swiss artist Urs Fischer worked on the gold chains, while British milliner Stephen Jones oversaw the hats. Yet it was Joe’s photos that underpinned the whole collection.
“What I was told was that they wanted to link their brand with mine,” Joel marvels. “I didn’t even know I had a brand!” Well, you do now, Joel. To see more of the pictures that inspired Marc take a look at Meyerowitz's beautiful, limited edition two-volume monograph, Taking My Time.