“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”— Yves Saint-Laurent
Steve Cherry, one of Polara’s ace softgoods photographers, has been shooting clothing laydowns for national clients for over 20 years. The photographs you see represent some of the work he has done in evolving styles of his fashion clients. Here’s one of his photographs of vintage Filson clothing.
Photographers, art directors and designers spend a lot of time trying to present the clothes we see on models in a new fresh way. In the world of off figure clothing photography, the styles of photography have been much slower evolving. Originally, the clothing was laid down and stuffed with everything from tissue paper to white felt or fleece.
Some of the intricacy of styling and shooting include setting the shoulders soft or square, emphasizing one or two long lines to give the garment some swoop and shape or sometimes, even sporting a mass of wrinkles in an attempt to feature the fabric. Each garment was filled to give it a three-dimensional identity of it’s own.
At its most complex is the so-called “hollow-man“ look where special forms are used that hide within the clothing.
This look features very natural curves and an almost windblown feeling that mimics the way the clothing would be worn however the body disappears so the article of clothing becomes the hero.
On the other hand… The newest rage in off-figure photography is the so-called flat look.
The clothing is simply laid flat without stuffing, the shoulder set square or gently rounded and wrinkles added to show the relative stiffness or softness of the fabric. In a way this is a natural evolution of the more wrinkled version of previous 3D lay downs. This look was created first of all to give the consumer a fresh perspective on the clothing. It presents the product without the appearance of styling. It tries to show the clothing honestly. More and more catalogs and fashion retailers are adopting this style even in their window dressings.
Is it fashion or style, with all the implications that the Yves St Laurent quote that started this article implies. Right now, by voting with your shopping dollars, you get to decide. Ain’t that fun?