When Photographer Goes Behind the Lense

Niki Taylor, photographed by Chris Craymer - via Harper's Bazaar

Niki Taylor, photographed by Chris Craymer – via Harper’s Bazaar

Chris Craymer, London-based photographer, who specializes in fashion, beauty, and portrait photography, decided to go beyond the photos and interview his subjects in his new book,  From the Heart. The results were surprising and brought a new level of meaning to his relationships and a complete portrait of the individual. Among the people he interviewed was American model, Niki Taylor, with whom he had worked for several years, and who was a great source of inspiration to Craymer. In an excerpt from his book, Craymer describes the essence of Niki: “Niki is often thought of as the quintessential all-American girl—sweet, confident, open and energetic—but I am intrigued by her as a woman whose life has been full of huge career accomplishments and extreme personal challenges … I’m most moved by people who face huge struggles and persevere, through force of personality and will and strength.”

I had read about Niki’s life and tragedies, including the loss of her younger sister, and her debilitating car crash, and I am moved by her will to go ever-forward. I am intrigued to know more. This sounds like a book I want to read! I’m buying it!

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Scatter my ashes at Bergdorf’s

Bergdorf Goodman

Bergdorf Goodman – courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman website

I love a good story; I especially love the story behind the story. It’s the reason that I started writing this blog. Because I believe that we all have a story and that magic happens when you look behind the curtain. And I love to peak – especially when it’s about fashion! A few months ago I saw a documentary about the legendary editor Diana Vreeland; today I watched an intriguing documentary – more of a love story – about New York institution and luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman. Scatter my ashes at Bergdorf’s tells the story of Bergdorf Goodman; why designers want to showcase there, why people want to shop there, and why employees love to work there. And oh yes, there is a little history about the two men who started it all …

New York tailors Edwin Goodman and Herbert Bergdorf joined forces and founded a luxury store, Bergdorf Goodman, in the Garment District in 1901. The business moved in 1914 to Rockefeller Center and again in 1928 to its present location, 5th Avenue and 57th Street, the corner of luxury-and-everything-elegant-in-New York. The site was originally the location of the Vanderbilt Mansion, which occupied the entire city block. When Andrew Goodman inherited Bergdorf Goodman from his father, he took the department store to its almost-mythic heights. Too much, you ask? Those interviewed contend that we need stores like Bergdorf Goodman to foster the American Dream.

Top fashion designers both domestic and international, including Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Diane Von Furstenberg, Karl Lagerfeld, Fendi, and Giorgio Armani, shared their voices and love for Bergdorf Goodman. But it is the stories of the internal Bergdorf family that I found the most inspiring: a family that includes senior vice president and highly influential buyer Linda Fargo, creator of its world-renowned windows David Hoey and spot-on, outspoken personal in-house shopper Betty Halbreich. These intimate glimpses give Scatter my ashes at Bergdorf’s its true appeal. Amy Fine Collins, special correspondent to Vanity Fair describes the glamour and allure of this one of a kind icon: “Bergdorf Goodman has decades and decades of accumulated history. Every nook and every cranny is a story.”

What do you think?

The Goodman Family. Courtesy of

The Goodman Family. Courtesy of Entertainment One Films US

 

 

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Reflections

32209In just two days New York will host the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for fall 2013 collections. And this Friday, I will be outside Lincoln Center taking my photo to honor the event: on the outside, looking in. I started this tradition last February – the first month that I began writing Speaking of Fashion. I called it: An outsider’s view of New York Fashion Week. A year later, I am still an outsider, but an inspired outsider.

I am not a fashion insider. I never have been. I have never worked for a fashion house or a retail store. I did a little part-time work at a high-end consignment shop when my youngest son was in kindergarten and I loved, loved, loved helping women find things for themselves. What I am is a woman who simply loves to express myself through my fashion choices. I see the beauty in it and the joy in putting things together so that I can be my best self. I am also a mother of two teenage sons and a special-needs cat. When the phone rings I cross my fingers hoping it isn’t the school calling to tell me that I have to pick up a sick child (and yes, this happened this morning!).

And so when Fashion Week comes to New York, and I am lucky enough to live close, I make the trip to Lincoln Center, to breathe in the air and the energy. I don’t have to worry about managing the crowds and the traffic, what shoes to wear – flats or heals?, or keeping my energy up for the excruciating schedule of shows and events. What I do instead is simply feel inspired, remember the role that fashion can play in our lives, how it affects who we are and our sense of self. It is still symbolic for me. Still exciting. Still Fashion Week; my outside view, but a beautiful view just the same.

What do you think?

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Dressing up

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Credit: Bill Cunningham, The New York Times
“On the Street – Tucked In” – Sunday, November 25, 2012

Today’s New York Times Style Section, On the Street with Bill Cunningham, highlights men dressing up and looking very much like the classic dandy. Notice the layering, waistcoats, vests, and impeccable tailoring? Designer Cally’s Kal Rieman is definitely on to something!

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On the street

The New York Times, September 16, 2012
On the Street, Bill Cunningham

Today is Sunday. That means The New York Times Style Section and On the Street with Bill Cunningham. On the street today? Women’s shoes. Bill is 83 years old and is still going strong as the quintessential fashion photographer. On March 16, 2011 there was a documentary about Bill called Documenting Bill Cunningham New York. Here is a trailer for the film. I think it is interesting to watch it now, at the close of NY Fashion Week. And while the city was saturated with images of the shows, both inside and out of the tents, life on the street goes on through the eyes of Bill Cunningham – an original and a maverick. Because as Bill says in his own words, “I’m not interested in celebrities with their free dresses. I’m interested in the clothes.”

What do you think?

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