Neiman Marcus’ “The Art of Fashion,” a multi-page advertising insert that appears biannually in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Vanity Fair and the Neiman-Marcus publication The Book, is a recurring lesson in great photography. First shot by Richard Avedon, it debuted in Spring 1994; Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, and Geof Kern soon followed. In the years since, Tim Walker, Nadav Kander, Norman Jean Roy, Ruven Afanador and Albert Watson have all taken a turn. Creativity carries more weight than the photographers’ fashion portfolios. And for Spring 2017, Kern has returned to scoop up the photographic honor for a second time.
To meet the somewhat conflicting criteria that the series be photographed outdoors and in November, Los Angeles became first choice for location. Art Director Peggy Bennett requested “blue skies,” so Kern began to envision “a sprawling landscape always in motion” and Angelenos’ “utter dependency on cars, planning life around travel time, planes landing every fifteen minutes at LAX, rows and rows of petrol tanks.” The city’s urban bustle and vast, cloudless skies became his backdrop. Sketches were made and shoots were booked at the Los Angeles International Airport, the Los Angeles Harbor, and at a refinery in Long Beach.
Bennett and Randy Elia brought the creative force of Bennett-Elia to the project; also instrumental were hair and makeup artists Renato Campora and Beau Nelson from The Wall Group, stylist Lauren Ehrenfeld from Elyse Connolly Agency, and model Sarah Brannon from New York Models. “Art of Fashion” is the brainchild of NM Vice President of Creative, Georgia Christensen.