I’ve mentioned before that Leighton House Museum, the former home and studio of the Victorian artist Sir Frederic Leighton, is one of my favourite places in London. I’ve spent hours in the Leighton House’s breathtaking Arab Hall, just…savouring.
London Fashion Week began this weekend, and Leighton House is collaborating with acclaimed British fashion photographer, Ram Shergill, on a Fashion Week-related project. Shergill selected five paintings by Leighton and married them to some of his own best work.
“I love this image of Lord Leighton’s ‘Bianca’: it has the softness that designers try to convey in their collections such as Chanel haute couture by Karl Lagerfeld or Margiela by John Galliano. The ruching of the sleeve and the juxtaposition of a flowing white fabric and a black strap on the garment create a graphic and timeless look, almost like an early Vivienne Westwood in her Pirates collection or the current, primarily monochrome collection by Ricardo Tisci for Givenchy.One of my favorite models is, in fact, called Bianca and I have taken many photographs of her in a similar style. Bianca’s gaze is sullen, introspective and yet nonchalant. Her hands and skin are delicate. She is not looking at us, she is looking behind us – something that I always try to capture in my photography as I find it creates a magical and inviting pose.”
“This haunting image of Leighton’s, ‘Head of an Italian Model’ is relevant today as it could almost be seen as a ‘fashion portrait’. Beautifully groomed and poetic in appearance, he looks like an affluent artist or nobleman, a man of distinction. His hair looks like it is slightly moving in the wind. The subject looks like a choice of model that many campaigns and editorials are using in fashion right now, the beard has been very en vogue for a while – and facial hair is not frowned upon like it was in the 1980s and ‘90s.”
I’ll be posting more to the project as the week progresses.