Joan Smalls: Woman of Steel on Nowness.com
Nowness was launched in January of 2009. It was in fact a rebranding exercise for the French luxury conglomerate LVMH eLuxury retail website which ceased its commercial activities to focus instead on content. Nowness – still part of LVMH – offers a daily feature of inspiring stories, contemporary culture or global lifestyle in the form of text, photographs or videos.
The website recently treated us to a minute a half video of the flawless Puerto Rican supermodel Joan Smalls, timed to be released with the blockbuster movie Man of Steel and entitled Joan Smalls: Woman of Steel. Directed by Barnaby Roper and styled in a heroic, high fashion way, by Keegan Singh, this short video certainly took us viewers for a spin!
Barnaby Roper who has created videos for Chanel, Kanye West, Victor and Rolf but to name a few, has earned his reputation. His work stands out, often thanks to the strobe lighting, distorted images and digital manipulations which he favours. The video he created for Karl Lagerfeld posted below shows another example of this aesthetic.
Keegan Singh, the stylist of Joan Smalls: Woman of Steel who has previously worked with footwear designer Giuseppe Zanotti, Love Magazine, Intermission Magazine amongst others, reinforced this aesthetics and by dressing her with an eye catching silhouettes, complimented by dramatic statement jewellery from Eddie Borgo, added to Joan Smalls heroic qualities. This styling helps to create the image of a strong woman ready to compete against any (super-) man.
Showing the all-encompassing powers of fashion, connecting a comic book flick to some of the most respected brands in the industry, the first half of the video is inspired by super hero theme. It mimics a heroic figure spinning around to conjure super hero powers. Is Joan Smalls spinning around to get into the frame of mind for a supermodel, ready to rule the runway or, and let see a strong woman in life who has overcome sexism and machismo to be strong and independent.
The idea of spinning is carried further in the second half of the video as it turns black and white. There Joan Smalls released of her own tornado spin is seen instead strutting her stuff, valiantly in control of the camera.
Cleverly the video still rely of the notion of spinning, reproducing the effect of 19th century first moving images as seen through a Zoetrope, a cylinder with slits cut vertically in its side through which a series of images inside, have been designed to give the illusion of movement when the cylinder spins. This more subtle effect taking us back in time, gives depth and an extra dimension to the video’ it also allows for a different style of garments to be shown.
The music provided by Tristan Becket at Cadence, works well with the superhero theme of the video; it leaves us wanting more.