2013 grand prize winner of Art Takes Paris; fashion image maker, photographer, filmmaker and art director Layla Sailor is also Fashion Photography associate lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire. It is as such that she directed this project The Essence of Fashion, a course project written by UCLan Course Leader for Fashion Promotion with Styling, Jacqueline McAssey.
On the course, photography and styling students are paired up to address numerous live briefs designed to get them to work as a team. For The Essence of Fashion these students were invited to create a jelly based around the SS14 collections of randomly allocated designers. This 1 week project required the students to take inspiration from all elements of the collection, conducting thorough research into the themes and stories behind them; to really get the students to think about the ‘essence’ of a fashion collection and the team to pull on all their strengths, helping photographers to experience creative styling.
Layla Sailor explained to Modeconnect: “Straight photography students often see styling as an add-on and don’t always realise the possibilities of styling within image making. And styling students may pay little attention to the fine art and technical aspect of image making. This project started a discussion between the two.
I also treated the brief and acted as would the client art director so as to give students a feel for a real commission. I wanted the subject of their work to be a fragile object, something impermanent, mouldable and cheap. I loved the idea of jelly because you can set items inside it, make it opaque and use any shape. The images had to be studio shot by the pair’s photographer, on a pastel background and un-retouched.
Each student had to contribute ingredients and explain their inclusion and were warned that if the ingredients weren’t relevant or the images not professional they would be refused.
I was actually amazed at what came back. Some students were so professional that they re-made the jellies over and over again. The Dolce & Gabbana team sourced fresh flowers, and the Chanel jelly had pearls perfectly set inside. All of the students brought something unique and better than I had ever imagined.”