From Seventh Avenue to Sesame Street

I’ve been an avid reader of fashion magazines since I was very young, and I still strongly believe fashion photography has got an immense expressive power. I don’t have a favourite magazine (I have a subscription to Vogue Italia, but I don’t think I’ll renew it any time soon [1]), but I must admit Harper’s Bazaar often surprises me with its lovely photoshoots [2]. This is not an avant-garde magazine, but it is elegant and glossy without being stiff, stale and pretentious.

Last night I was flipping through the on-line version of the magazine (September issue) and I was delighted by From Seventh Avenue to Sesame Street by Jason Schmidt, a funny shoot where American designers and characters from the hugely successful educational television program [3] pose in front of the camera. This is of course a homage to the most watched and longest running children’s program on American television (it premiered in 1969), but it is also a nice welcome to the upcoming New York fashion week. The photoshoot was released in the studios where the program is filmed. The characters of Sesame Street are portrayed in their natural environment, while designers and models are the foreign visitors of a fascinating world.


It looks like Diane Von Furstenberg wants to hug Big Bird, the naive and innocent eight-foot two-inch tall bright yellow bird who lives in a large nest behind the 123 Sesame Street brownstone and he has a teddy bear named Radar. The model is wearing animal-printed sweater and pants, a beige cardi, a military green jacket and a pouffy hat from Diane Von Furstenberg fall/winter 2009 collection.


Another lady of American fashion, Carolina Herrera, poses with one of the protagonists of Sesame Street, Elmo. Elmo is a furry red monster with large white eyes and an orange nose, who currently hosts the last full 15 minute segment on the program , Elmo’s World, which is aimed at toddlers. He is perched on a Sesame Street metal post and Herrera gives him an amused look. Carolina and the model both wear clothes by the designer: the model is wearing a teal and grey bustier dress, with a wrap on the shoulders and fingerless long gloves.


Vera Wang poses in Sesame Street’s launderette with Abby Cadabby and a model. This character is a fairy-in-training, who loves pink and using the catch phrase “That’s so magic!”. I love the contrast between the bright blue in the launderette and the dark colours of Vera and the model’s clothes. The model is wearing a lovely marron taffeta dress with ruffled skirt and corset belt.


This is one of my favourite shots, because it introduces Laura and Kate Mulleavy, the genius designers of Rodarte, and Cookie Monster, possibly the Sesame Street characters I like most. He has got a blue fur and googly eyes, and has a voracious appetite for all thing edible (chocolate chip cookies are his favourite food) and inedible. The shot is set in a diner: Cookie Monster is wearing a chef hat and is eating, Kate is posing next to him, while Laura and the model are perched on stools. The model wears a lovely dress from Rodarte fall/winter 2009 collection and the amazing bondage boots designed by Nicholas Kirkwood for Rodarte. It looks like the sisters had so much fun during the shooting.


Francisco Costa, Calvin Klein’s designer, is posing on a fire escape with Grover and a model, who is wearing a beautiful acid yellow satin dress from Calvin Klein fall/winter 2009 collection. Grover is a lovable and furry character, a blue monster who almost never uses contractions when he speaks and sings (I like that!). Costa is smiling, while Grover is looking down at the model.


Derek Lam and Thakoon Panichgul posed in front of Schmidt’s camera sitting on the stairs of a brownstone in Sesame Street. Their companions are two models and Bert and Ernie, the comic duo which is among the centerpieces of the program. Ernie obviously has his trusty Rubber Duckie in his hand. Both models are wearing outfits from the designers’ fall/winter 2009 collections, that are a white shirt and black jacket, houndstooth skirt and beige capelet for Lam, black trousers, green chiffon blouse and graphic jacket for Thakoon.


This is another of the shots I prefer: the protagonists are Oscar de la Renta and the Sesame Street character with the same name, Oscar the Grouch. This green furry monster lives in a garbage can: his favorite thing in life is trash; through him, children can learn about respect and tolerance instead of disrespect and intolerance. In his garbage can some incredible things are hidden, including a swimming pool, a pet worm, a pet elephant, a farm, a piano and a bowling alley. I love this shot because the model is wearing a wonderful ball dress made of flower-printed silk, and because Oscar de la Renta’s amused attitude and impeccable outfit nicely contrasts with Oscar’s garbage can.

Here you can see a short behind-the-scene video.

[1] I was a huge fan of The Face, but we all know how the amazing adventure of that magazine ended. I love Vogue Paris and Vogue Nippon, I still love i-D and I really think Vogue Italy needs a big breath of fresh air, just like his American sibling.

[2] I love fashion spreads where different cultural worlds mingle, as in Cirque de la Mode by Matt Jones (Dita Von Teese and several designers in a circus atmosphere), The Wizard of Oz by Annie Leibovitz (Keira Knightley as Dorothy and important American artists as the characters of L. Frank Baum’s masterpiece) or Love of a Lifetime by Annie Leibovitz (Coco Rocha and dancer Roberto Bolle as Juliet and Romeo).

[3] Sesame Street has never become a success in Italy: it has been recently aired in English, but it hasn’t left a mark on our culture. This cannot be said of another “creature” of Jim Henson, The Muppet Show, which marked my childhood. It was aired during the Seventies/Eighties and I totally loved it its unique mix of vaudeville, slapstick comedy, behind-the-scene moments and parody. I perfectly remember some duets with Elton John, so funny!

Source and source.




  1. What a great post! I grew up with Sesame Street and what a better combo than Sesame Street and fashion, love all the photos!

    I always loved W magazine’s photo shoots but they didn’t have enough of the actual shopping element to keep me entertained.


  2. I used to love W magazine but I don’t like the recent turn of its photospreads – too bland and boring or, on the contrary, too racy (esp when the photographer is Steven Klein).

  3. I agree, there was quite a bit of raciness as well. I suppose they were trying to be more “artsy” in doing so. Quite a bit of a turn off for me. I’ve always thought of fashion as being about clothing, not seeing all of the skin underneath and nothing more!

    1. I agree with you. Steven Klein’s style, in particular, is racy, mysterious and dark, his look on fashion is not ironic at all. When I flip though most of his photospreads (not all the photospreads, of course: some of his works – especially the ones featuring Madonna, are really amazing), I feel so depressed and disappointed.

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