Parsons The New School for Design hosted its annual Fashion Benefit red carpet event on Wednesday, May 23.
Call Me Joe
In retrospect, though, McKenna doesn’t like to take the credit he deserves. He’d rather refer to the photographer as owner of the picture. “I think that really great pictures are done by teams,” he says in our interview. “And the photographer is the most important person on the shoot for me.” In this way, McKenna is post-modern, making the result not only on his own, but giving it up to the participation of fashion objects within the collaborative narrative—the dance between hairdressers, makeup, assistants, and flashing lights—what Wagner was to bel canto opera, to get the fashion set within the tune of the character and context. He makes the photographer his audience, as a contemporary artist would make the subject of the work a viewer’sexperience. “Generally, it’s finding a character whom you like,” he clarifies, “and dressing that character—whether or not it’s the model’s real character or you invent a little character for him or her.” That may be one of the reasons why he likes Linda Evangelista so much, pictured as Katherine Hepburn, for example, in Vogue Italia in 1994, or, today’s chameleon, Raquel Zimmerman, on a virginal cover of V, the theme of purity a running thread in McKenna’s styling. The photographer captures the character’s performance—a model as actress or saint—dressed up by impulse and a type of naturalism unique only to Joe McKenna.
Excerpt from ISSUE 01, Best Stylist: "Call Me Joe" by Frank Expósito.
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