You know that scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where we float through time in a steady stream of technicolour? Well, sprinkle in brands like Damir Doma, Jil Sander, and Yohji Yamamoto and you’ve got the new LN-CC campaign. Taking cues from Kubrik, photographer Rory van Millingen lenses the A/W offering in a giant grey honeycomb. Reminds me of the Y-3 S/S 2013 show with another dazzling honeycomb wall. Maybe honeycomb is trending.
MIX Model Management recently opened its boutique doors after Neal Hamil, former head of Elite Model Management for all of North America, convinced one Wayne Sterling—cofounder of models.com—that this would be a good idea. Thus, a reputable agency became the birth-child of two figureheads in the industry, and this time, they were going to do it right. Wayne Sterling took the time out of his day to give me an exclusive interview about this new endeavour, and revealed some insight behind doors that are too often closed and yelled behind. Images courtesy MIX.
Trey Taylor: So you’ll be pretty busy come the end of August?
Wayne Sterling: Yeah, exactly. The world is on vacation but it’s like 14-16 hour days here already.
TT: Well, I guess that’s what you take on with a new agency.
WS: Exactly. It’s fine. It’s a challenge, but I like that.
TT: I know you had a bit of apprehension when Neal [Hamil] kept asking you to start this agency with him. I was wondering if you could tell the story of how he approached you with the idea for MIX.
WS: The idea was around for almost the entire time I’ve known Neal, which is 10 years, because he was running Ford. That’s when he first made the offer, which I very quickly declined because in my mind, I thought, “I don’t think I would make a very good agent.” Then when he went over to Elite as the director of North America he repeated the offer, and I processed it and I was just—you know, that’s not my gift. But the turn around for me was last summer when we were having lunch and specifically he said, “I’m looking to buy a small agency. A small pre-existing agency in New York, and then just reimage it and revamp it and turn it into a really amazing boutique.” For some reason I found myself saying hey! Okay, now that I would partner with you on. I think the resistance, in my mind, was the idea of being in this big machine of this big pre-existing brand and I think subliminally, what Neil [Hamill] was saying the third time around was that it would be a new brand; or it would be a rebranding of something small and that was a lot more exciting to me.
TT: Where did he get the idea from? Do you know what his motives were with this?
WS: I couldn’t speak entirely for Neal but insofar as I know him, this is in his blood stream. I joke and we always say, “You’re a modelling industry blue body.” He’s been doing it for 30 years in some form or the other. So he’s just like one of those people who lives it: eats, sleeps, breathes… He stepped off the plate for about three years and we would talk weekly and I would update him about what was going on in the industry and the market and what clients were doing. It’s his lifelong passion, definitely.
TT: Can you explain a bit what you were doing before taking on the idea of Mix?
WS: I was editorial director of models.com which is a company I cofounded with Stephan Moskovic. That was eleven and a half years ago. You have to realize at the time when models.com went up, ‘dot-com’ was almost like a dirty word, meaning relative to print publishing—which was the prestige arena—working at a dot-com you were this unfashionable tech geek. So it’s sort of ironic. Basically, the Internet revolutionized the way we perceive and consume and process fashion and it wasn’t planned; it was just being in the right place at the right time. I left the print world somewhere around 2000-2001 and I remember everyone telling me I was an idiot for switching over to the Internet. I just had a sense that—you know what? It’s a new medium and a new medium that has endless possibilities. I’m very lucky. I’m very proud of everything models.com achieved, almost beyond my expectations.
Over the course of that ten or eleven years I also did a lot of consultancies. I still work a lot in Japan. I have a column in a Japanese magazine. I’ve done casting consultancies for cosmetics companies there. I have The Imagist, of course. That’s pretty much been the framework for the past ten years.
TT: In regards to becoming an agent, what were you nervous about? I know you had a bit of apprehension at the start.
Photographer Yann Faucher got down to business with Select’s new face Sam Sud for an exclusive interview and photoshoot for See Like Me. The “top bloke” is newly 17 years old, and was scouted outside of Boots (that’s the UK equivalent of Rite-Aid FYI). Since, he’s shot for Dazed Digital, USED and Sleek magazine, and he’s creating quite the tidal wave. I mean, how can you resist such boyish charm?
I’ve only ever given credit to Sasha “Chameleon” Pivovarova for versatile editorial performance. I would cite Coco but c’mon this video is just a headache. There isn’t even sound and I’m reaching for Tylenol. Aymeline Valade has been around since ‘09 when she debuted at Blumarine. Since then, the French femme has been making the circuits (especially recently) which is why she’s held a solid position as #16 on MDC’s Top 50 and is in the running for a versatility award. She’s like an Adele album, because Adele’s been on Billboard Top 200 for how long? Answer: 72 weeks. That question was meant to be rhetorical but I just had to check. Woah, you know how many weeks longer that is than a certain marriage of a certain celebrity who shall not be named? Needless to say I’m waiting for the Aymeline Valade breakup album to really secure her place in my faves list.
I was watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles today and realized that 80s New York is somewhere I’d like to be. There was just so much to report on, and I could make a damn fine April O’Neil. The streets and the papers and the “Don’t Walk” sign. Just so many different things to look at and so many perfect perches from which to gaze upon. I was debating today whether I should move to London or to New York. My one goal is to live in both for a period of time before I kick the bucket, but in the indubitable words of Cher: “Yiff I could tuuurnn back tiiiime!” If anyone else is debating, there is some pretty good information here. What do you think? Should I huff it in NY like Raphael, or puff it in London like … Dickens?
Male models don’t really get all that much attention, and when they do, it’s unpaid or from a fangirl. Ben Allen is only 16, and has recently opened the Prada show, which in terms of modelling, means you’re destined for at least a whirlwind year of everybody else wanting to book you. You also get to skip the Asian market testing where they send you to Tokyo for months to get your picture taken for strange carrot ads and Suntory Time! Hear the story of his scouting below (spoiler: his friend was caught spitting gobs along Portobello road) and how he’s got all these mood swings and likes to moan. Mr. Allen, ladies and gentlemen.
U+MAG does it again. That cliché pains me but how else do you describe something that is constantly impeccable? There are more to magazines than just pictures, but Art Director Romeu Silveira knows how to make words look anything but dull. It’s Brazil’s finest offering, and you’ll know what I’m talking about once you see that other Brazilian export. View the current issue here.
You know what I haven’t done in for-never? Tell you about a photographer who deserves more attention. Andrew Vowles has that perfect balance between commercial and, for lack of a better word, uncommercial. Sure, as a photographer you need to be able to express all those great ideas you probably don’t have (if only I could fathom the hundreds of e-mail submissions/pitches I get for possible editorials to be shot). But the truth is, mostly nobody wants you to have your own ideas, mainly because you’re hired on as a photographer simply for your signature look. The editors want to know the outcome of a shoot before it even happens, which sort of defeats the purpose of hiring a visual artist to interpret an idea or message. There is a fine line between selling out and being a sellout. Andrew Vowles has managed to keep his cool (i.e. look up phantasmagoria) and is still able to sell it. This, my friends, is the recipe of success. He’s just shot the Christopher Shannon menswear campaign and for publications i-D, B magazine, Dazed & Confused & Clash. See more here.
How to give no fucks 101: Vogue Germany featuring Kendra Spears, Melissa Stasiuk and Iris van Berne by Knoepfel & Indlekofer. The first step is to dress as though you’re referencing Toucan Sam in a Pulp Fiction sequel. Now, I’ve been to Germany once, and the moment I got there I headed to Burger King. I asked for a paper crown to make me feel more at home. Why? Because I gave no fucks. Usually Vogue does all sorts of nothing for me, but I’ve made an exception for this editorial. It’s completely disconnected story-wise, but no fucks were given in the story department. Step two: angry face. As if somebody already pissed you off, make a face that says, “You wanna fuck wit me?!” Chances are, they won’t want to. Like 98.5%. Lastly, for the final step, find something to prop up against so you look relaxed while giving away not one fuck. It keeps it casual, because nobody gives a fuck about a try-hard.