Thursday, February 24, 2011


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

Girl #1: Abbey Lee Kershaw after the Issa show at London Fashion Week on Saturday. 
Look: Abbey is wearing a key look for A/W 11 - the grand gesture fake fur jacket.

I'm a moth to the flame of great photography, especially fashion photography. Recently added to that category for me is the art of street fashion photography. The last few years has seen it become a significant genre both online and in book publishing, complete with its own visual rules and power players. So many people want to be the 'next big thing' in street style photography it has got to the point that walking into any fashion show venue anyplace in the world is akin to a game of British Bulldog.

Of course most senior among the street-style photographers is Scott Schuman; I also appreciate the work of Tommy Ton and Garance Dore. I'm not a fan of Facehunter - his images feel bland and un-engaging to me. But I do have another name to add to my list and that is Phill Taylor.

Phill Taylor

Taylor is 28 and from Leicester, he is a professional fashion photographer who has worked with serious players, notably Nick Knight, Gemma Booth, Alice Hawkins and Ruth Hogben since graduating with his photography degree in 2008. Last year he started taking street style pictures with his Canon 5D mark II for his girlfriend Hannah Almassi (my former assistant, currently the junior fashion news editor of Grazia), for the magazine's Style Hunter pages, and started a blog with his unpublished works. In a short space of time his blog has gained a large following for its wry and warm written observations of the girls and women he captures, and of course for the wonderful photographs.

His work always stops me in my tracks. Unlike Tommy who has an penchant for the eccentric character (Anna Dello Russo, French turban-loving stylist Catherine Baba) and a sublime eye for capturing details and accessories, Phill has an emotional connection with the girls and women he photographs, and it is not predatory unlike some people I could mention. He captures them being themselves seemingly when nobody (especially a bloke)  is looking, except he is a guy. How does he do that?

Girl #2: Clara Paget attending London Fashion Week. 
Look: bright blonde hair, all-black leather and chiffon outfit with an animal print bag. This feels like the London look for now.   

"I learnt a lot from Gemma (Booth) and Alice (Hawkins,)" he told me today when he popped in so we could edit the pictures here to encapsulate five women and five distinct fashion looks that I feel are right for now. "I came to understand a more gentle approach through them. It doesn't feel abusive. When I take a picture, whether it is for a main fashion shoot or for the street style work, I'm guessing what this person is like, and how they are naturally. In a fashion sense I am trying to guess the character they are playing that day. I start a dialogue with them in my head."
Girl #3: Model Charlotte Free taking a pre-show fag break before the TopShop Unique show last Sunday. On his blog Phill wrote "Charlotte Free introduced herself to all the street photographers by bursting out the doors, [from backstage at the Unique fashion show, where she was modelling] leap- frogging over a wall and steps and screaming "oh my god, no way! I fucking love Geese!". She then proceeded to chase two Canadian Geese that had appeared from the Thames behind us."
Look: As for me I love tough girls like Charlotte. She is a total tomboy and full of angst. She is also a bit of a midge for a model, but I expect she will become a fashion icon in the space of a week (well she is to me already).

Girl #4: Bip Ling between shows at London Fashion Week this week. Look: The cute DJ and blogger is working a neck-to-ankle print look very successfully.

"The difference with me," says Phill, "is that I'm a photographer who shoots on the street, not a blogger who shoots street photography.  My work is an observation. On the blog I'm in a position to express how I feel about a girl's style and how they draw my attention when I see them walking down the street. I guess its an emotional response."
Phill's current favourite girl to capture on the fashion circuit is 20 year old Swedish model Dorothea Barth Jorgensen. This picture, he says, "makes me feel like Dorothea's about to get a flight in the mid-70s, except for the phone of course. I absolutely love this look and Dorothea is...just chic, polite and naturally beautiful."

Girl #5: Dorothea Barth Jorgensen. Look: cropped jacket and wide-leg trousers with platforms. The seventies remixed for 2011.