I first worked with PLATON many years ago for Esquire magazine. It was a boxing story that we cast at Gleason's gym and I will never forget Platon's intense focus while working on this job. So when I came across this brilliant story in Garage Magazine, it was no surprise to me that is was a PLATON project. As he so aptly recalls, "This project was an extraordinary experience. For me it was a celebration of the relationship between human beings and animals. Having all these beautiful dogs in my studio changed the dynamic immensely with all the models I was privileged to work with. In many cases, the dogs needed reassurance and were timid in front of the light. The models suddenly found themselves nurturing and supporting these lovely animals in their moment of vulnerability. The end result has soul, humility and sincerity. You can see it in all the model’s eyes in each image. They are nothing but perfectly authentic.
From a personal perspective, I was also deeply touched that I could include a portrait of my own dog. She was an airedale terrier and her name was Dudley. She sadly passed away last year, but I did, however, capture her nobel spirit a few years ago in a powerful black and white portrait. The same camera and the same lighting that I use for all my heads of state. Dudley looked regal and proud. This picture became the genesis for our entire project and I was so happy that we could include it as a fitting tribute.
Of course, there is a very important element here and that is the fashion. I was honored and privileged to work with one of the great artists of our time, Charlotte Stockdale. She proved to be my perfect dance partner allowing me to express myself as an artist, encouraging me every step of the way to be true to my values. The fashion, itself, is extraordinary and what started off as a whimsical idea ended up becoming powerful and epic. Charlotte went to incredible lengths to match each animal's unique characteristics with some of the most beautiful creations from the world’s leading fashion designers. I see this story as a tribute to the fashion designer's eye and inspiration.
What made this so much fun was the range of dog breeds, scale, character, shape and texture. But also, we were able to bridge the generation gap between so many of our model cast from Cara Delevingne to Dree Hemingway to Kirsten Owen and finally, the one and only Carmen dell'Orefice. All these extraordinary people came through my studio to create a spectacular madness which permeates my pictures. I salute Charlotte Stockdale, all of the incredible models who gave their souls to the pictures, and finally the most noble animals who moved us all in such a fundamental way. "
Casting: Piergiorgio of DMFashion Studio Hair: Ashley Xavier Makeup: Anastasia Durasova