When Worlds Collide: Tim Walker for Juicy Couture

As a fashion photography/literature nerd, I like finding the recurring themes which distinguish the works of a novelist, a poet or a photographer. When it comes to the one and only Tim Walker, for example, some leit-motifs come to my mind: the English country (house) settings, the unique use of pastel colours, tender lights and smoke, atmospheres where decadence, romanticism and gothic come together, and – most of all – the endless games he likes playing with the quantity and size of objects (his unmistakable trademark).

I usually enjoy his photospreads in Vogue Italia, but I have recently discovered his advertising campaigns for Juicy Couture. He has been working with the velour queens Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor for four years now, from the fall/winter 2006 campaign to the fall/winter 2009 campaign. The first two campaigns are amazing, because they mirror Walker’s truly British imagery and Juicy Couture Californian girly world.

The fall/winter 2006 campaign is ruled by pastel colours, which distinguish the clothes and the setting. There is not a definite theme, and this makes the campaign a little bit confused.

ladies

I love the irony of this shot, where Lisa is posing with four nice ladies. They are all clad in pastels, the ladies even have pastel-coloured hair. Don’t they look like the old versions of Grease‘s Frenchy?


laduree

I think this shot has been influenced by Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette [2], because Lisa is leaning on some chairs, wearing a fur and diamond necklaces, with colourful macaroons and candies all around her. The pink and green boxes under the chairs look like Ladurée packaging. The ruffled bandeau bathing suit she is wearing is one of Juicy Couture’s most famous pieces. I love it because it is a gorgeous contemporary version of swimsuits from the Fifties.

Jonathan new Juicy pic

This is one of my favourite shots, because Lisa’s pale complexion and pink outfit beautifully contrasts with Jonathan Kroppmann‘s heavily tattooed arms. The theme of tattoos is somehow present in Lisa’s outfit too, because she is wearing long gloves with writings on them. I also love the pose of the two models, their profiles are so romantic.

couture

This is another beautiful shot from the campaign. Any Walker’s fan can say how typical of his is Lisa’s unnatural pose. She is wearing a lovely fur jacket which is still on the hanger. The feeling we get from this shot is disturbing, because the model looks like a lifeless puppet (or mannequin).

tattoo

Jonathan Kroppmann has apparently no relation to the all-pink world of Juicy Couture, but I think his rough persona perfectly embodies the rebel side of the brand. His tattooed arms and chest, and his New Romantic hairstyle [3] are the ideal canvas for more decorations – rhinestone and ribbon necklaces.

eau

Tim Walker’s art has been influenced by Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon’s photography, so this shot is a homage to his predecessors. Lisa and other models wear taffeta draped long dresses and matching gloves, while Jonathan wears a long skirt over white pants and a chest-baring pink sweater. The focus of the scene is the big perfume bottle Jonathan is leaning on, a sort of alien monolite which looks out of place in the refined atmosphere of the green room, yet strangely blends with the rest.

Jonathan Juicyfragrance-1

Kroppmann is the protagonist of this stunning shot, which advertises Dirty English, Juicy Couture’s fragrance for men. He poses in front of the camera with his multiple tattooes in full display, and he wears formal pinstriped trousers with suspenders. This time he wears no jewellery or accessories, and this allows us to focus our attention on the drawings on his skin and on the bottle he is holding in his hands. What is nice about the bottle is the chain top and the fur tail (a homage to Davy Crockett’s infamous hat?).

The fall/winter 2007 campaign is even better than the previous one, because here Tim Walker truly showed his British spirit. Most of the pictures were taken outdoors, somewhere in the English country, and in a manor house; the echoes of British culture are all around, so I guess the theme of the campaign is a homage to Gela Nash-Taylor’s second nation [4].

car

The protagonist of this campaign is Lisa Cant. The Canadian model is pictured at the wheel of an old-fashioned car, loaded with baga and suitcases, and a surf board. I think this is an apparent contrast, but it symbolizes the spirit of the campaign and of the brand itself so well. Both Gela and Pam are California girls (and here is the reason of the surf board), who are irresistibly attracted by the British culture. The writing on the car is one of symbols of Juicy Couture: along with the Juicy crest, it is stitched on the inside tag of each item of apparel. The initials refer of course to the owners of the brand.

glasses

Tim Walker is the only photographer who always plays with the size of objects, as we can see from the pic above. Lisa is posing in a lawn in front of a manor house, and is leaning against huge sunglasses, the bigger version of the ones she’s wearing. Walker’s trademark game with quantity and size can often be baffling, but aren’t surprise and shock two of the most sought-after reactions in a reading audience, when it comes to fashion photography?

tennis

I like this shot! It is set in a tennis court (and here the reference to Wimbledon, the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. The atmosphere in this pic is far from impeccable: one of the players – Jonathan Kroppmann again – is tattooed (I do not think he could be allowed to play at Wimbledon!), his shoes are torn and stained and he is bare-chested. The other players wear formal suits with printed tanks, fingerless gloves and head-bands. In this case, The Royal Tenenbaums by Wes Anderson comes to my mind as a reference, because Richie Tenenbaum‘s trademark outfit was made of a camel-hair suit, vintage Fila polo shirt and head-band (a homage to Bjorn Borg).

1-JUICY-COUTURESSPRDS07-2

This pic is so sweet, one of my favourites. Here Tim Walker experimented with dimensions again; for this reason, Lisa is wearing a huge satin bow as hair ornament. She is also wearing her posh honey mink fur short jacket and pink gloves. I think the contrast between Lisa and Jonathan is amazing, they are so different but perfect when they pose one next to the other. The irony of the shot lies in the fact that they are holding a big bottle of Juicy Couture perfume, but they are sipping from it with straws, as if it contained some iced tea and not perfume. I also like the similar hairstyle of the models – Lisa’s straight bangs and Jonathan’s side bang which hides part of his face.

bow

Lisa is sporting a satin bow in this ad for Juicy Couture perfume as well. In this case, the bottle of perfume has turned into the charm of a long earring. The same idea was used by Karl Lagerfeld in Chanel fall/winter 2004 collection.

bottle

One of the reasons why I like Tim Walker’s photography so much is the recurring theme of the attic. Many of his pictures are crowded with old-fashioned, broken, used objects, as if they were taken from some remote attic. This is featured in the shot above: Lisa and the models are posing around a huge bottle of perfume, and they are surrounded by mementos of the past – the armchair and the lampshades on the left, the stuffed zebra head on the wall. Another interesting detail is the festooned curtain in the background, which changes the sitting room into a small theatre.

bottle

The fall/winter 2008 campaign was shot by Tim Walker but the concept was a bit weak, in my opinion. He tried to take Californian surf and colours to the British beaches, but the result is not as good as what we have seen so far. The only nice shot is this one, where Lisa and a blonde male model are sipping with straws from a bottle of perfume. The idea was used in the previous campaign, but I like it anyway. The dominating colour here is yellow – Lisa’s tulle dress, the model’s hair and t-shirt, the bottle cap is lemon-shaped.

juicy_couture_ad

The fall/winter 2009 campaign is even more confused, if possible. The shots are set in the swimming pool of an English mansion, but every picture has some slogans scribbled on it. This is really annoying and useless, in my opinion. I know Juicy Couture has always used slogans, but I do not get the choice to ruin nice pictures with slogans hiding part of the pictures themselves. Tim Walker’s photography speaks for itself, it does not need to be emphasized by written words. The only shot I like advertises Couture Couture, Juicy’s new fragrance. I love Lisa’s updo and red lips, she’s a sort of fairy who blows some purple sparkling powder on a bare-chested model.

Tim Walker is just one of my favourite photographers (Juergen Teller is the other name which immediately comes to my mind). What do you think of his style?

[1] She’s been the face of Juicy Couture in the past seasons.

[2] This is not the only reference to the movie by Sofia Coppola. Take a look at the style of the writings on the ads: they are similar to the style used on the movie’s playbill and opening credits.

[3] Maybe this reference to the New Romantic style is not coincidental: Gela Nash-Taylor is married to Duran Duran’s John Taylor.

[4] I hope you’ll take your time to read the nice article by Plum Sykes about Gela’s South Wraxall Manor in Wiltshire.

Source and source.

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