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India Salvor Menuez

When I was discussing with Kelly about casting for our CHANEL Haute Couture shoot she suggested this amazing young creature named India Salvor Menuez. From the first google image search I did of her I found her so fascinating, you really can see how this girl is just herself, a true individual who makes decisions based on her ideas and who she knows she is… so refreshing. Her presence in the studio was that of a calm artist, confident beyond her years. When I began to photograph her I could not contain my delight. She moved naturally in front of the lens the way I always try to direct models to do. This creative little creature, something of an exotic flower, was like a Renaissance swan to me. When I found the moment through the digital frame, India, so patient would hold it while the large format polaroid technician would help me capture the moment again but this time for analog. After the shoot we interviewed India about her personal projects, a fitting companion to these personal photos~

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You’ve modeled, acted, painted, photographed, created performance art – which of these mediums are you most drawn to? Is there any medium you want to explore that you haven’t yet?
I appreciate them all for such different reasons, for me it’s the cross pollination that is most interesting right now…seeing how different mediums can work together, or what the discrepancies are, how each path communicates its message differently is what interests me. I have so much respect for masters of crafts, artists who focus on their one way, but I’m just not there yet…I still want to try so much more. I co-wrote a film that has been in the works for 4 years now with my dear friend Maiko Endo; and working on that side of filmmaking has been really special for me and is certainly something I want to continue doing more of. One day I’m sure I’ll direct.

How would you describe your art?
A practice in search of new experiences.

When do you first remember thinking, I want to be an artist?
As long as I can remember. When I was little I remember thinking it must be the most free way one could live.

What do you look to explore in your work?
The human experience and how to push that further.

Who inspires you? Who are your heroes?
There are too many! But the heroes who influence me most are those I get to meet and work with. I cherish getting to grow up in NY, especially for the opportunity to call artists I so adore in time my peers.

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Your big acting breakthrough was as Leslie in Something in the Air. What was that experience like? 
It was amazing; I was so unexperienced but I just totally went for it and am so glad I did.

Do you have any films coming out soon?
A film I shot last summer with director Nathan Silver is going around the festivals right now called Uncertain Terms that’s getting some great response from audiences.
Then the film I mentioned that’s in post-production right now with Maiko should be finished sometime next year, so that’s super exciting. I shot a really special feature with director Luigi Campi upstate this past spring that I am looking forward to coming out and a short film with Zia Anger shot just a few weeks ago…and a handful of other indies in post-production I’m curious about. I’ll be shooting a short film later this month with Sebastian Sommer. I guess you can say I like to keep busy!

What projects are you currently working on?
Aside from all the films…I am soon to release my first public treadings into music on a project called YOU WHO with my amazing friend and collaborator Brian Close on Save the Day Records. We’re playing our first two shows this weekend actually: Friday at Body Actualized Center and then Sunday at PS1′s Book Fair which comes through us both having shows on Know-Wave Radio which is a continuing project.

I of course have my studio practice I put a lot of effort into keeping up, and then there are some exciting performance art projects - Gallerinas being one and then another is coming up with the same collaborators Mike Bailey-Gates & Claire Christerson at a show called Gymnasty which should be delicious…

What would be your dream project?
Something that brought everyone together at their full potential somehow.

What are you most passionate about?
Love.

Where do you find your calm amidst the craziness?
In nature and good food.

What drew you to live in Chinatown?
My dad moved here when I was in 4th grade after my parents split up. My mom still lives in the same sweet home in Park Slope but it was really Chinatown that opened me up to the whole of Manhattan and I’ve had two apartments elsewhere since I moved out but moving back to the neighborhood a year ago felt so solid. I knew this would be an apartment I would really live in a while. There are a lot of different reasons i love living in Chinatown but in general I just like the attitude of the neighborhood.

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Fashion is…
a moment

Art is…
important

Women are…
humans who identify as women

Love is…
lifeforce energy

Beauty is…
appreciation

New York is a city of dreams…my New York dream is…
every day different

Favorite trait of New Yorkers is…
they are weird

I wish people appreciated more…
the planet

An ideal day for me is…
a new experience with a good meal

I am happiest when…
moving

The best way I express myself is…
through action

In ten years I hope to be…
alive



India’s website // Instagram // Tumblr

All things CHANEL here

 Clothing & Jewelry by CHANEL //Modeled by India Salvor Menuez // Styled by Kelly Framel // Makeup by Christine Cherbonnier // Hair by Joseph DiMaggio // Manicure by Angel Williams // 8×10 Polaroid Technician Noé Arteaga //  Concrete Mural by Mr Perswall for Wallpaperdirect

More female muses: Laurel | Caroline | Jasmine

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Chanel Haute Couture

I had never photographed couture before, but I had dreamed about it for years, ever since my first meeting with CHANEL. To see, to touch, to photograph something so special, so one of a kind, would become one of my greatest honors. I think every great photographer has their first “couture story”…the pieces are so rare that couture comes with quite a bit of fuss.

Coming straight from the runway in Paris, the fall 2014 Chanel Haute Couture collection visited New York for two days. I could have the pieces from 7pm to midnight at our studio which took three guys and two guards to carry up. The garments lived up to all my ideas of what haute couture is: immaculate quality, so intricate you could get lost in the details…fascinating aspects to the construction, just layers upon layers of depth and design. It is, quite simply, wearing art. Photographs will never capture the way the beauty feels in person, it’s like seeing a photo of a Botticelli painting online and standing in front of one in Florence. It brought tears to my eyes.

So what is haute couture?…

Haute couture, meaning “high fashion”, can be traced back as early as the 1700s at the court of Marie Antoinette, but the father of haute couture was Charles Frederick Worth, the man who changed the public perception of dressmakers from laborers to artists. At his atelier, he would create a living portfolio, a display of his work on models from which clients could choose a piece for themselves.

From this foundation, many couture fashion houses were born – so many that the term “haute couture” is actually defined and protected by a committee in the French government who have certain criteria in order for a fashion house to meet the haute couture standard. At the beginning of the twentieth century, there were well over a hundred houses considered haute couture, now there are only around a dozen.

Chanel is one of those legendary haute couture houses. Beginning in the 1920s, Coco Chanel revolutionized the fashion scene by ignoring typical fashion standards – creating a false bust and hips, using corsets to narrow the waist – in favor of fashion that allowed for women’s comfort while creating a new kind of polished style. As Coco continued to design until her death in 1971, Chanel became well known for creating fluid, effortless pieces that oozed glamour and sophistication. Today, under the vision of Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel continues to set the bar for the haute couture side of the fashion industry… to say the least.

So here we are, on an early autumn night at our studio, the windows are open with the distant sounds of New York city flowing in as stylist Kelly Framel is dressing our model, actress & artist India Salvor Menuez and I am standing on set ready to go to another world- one in which only Chanel can take me.

Clothing & High Jewelry by Chanel Couture // Modeled by India Salvor Menuez // Styled by Kelly Framel //  Makeup by Christine Cherbonnier // Hair by Joseph DiMaggio // Manicure by Angel Williams //  Concrete Mural by Mr Perswall for Wallpaperdirect

All things CHANEL here

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Mandarin Oriental Dreams

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High atop Manhattan’s skyline, overlooking Central Park and the Hudson River sits the proud Mandarin Oriental, glittering in the golden setting sun of an early autumn day. I love New York this time of year, I love the fantasy of glamour, a world where fashion, culture, business and design all collide into spectacular moments. When I was young and I dreamed of New York it was always like this – overlooking that powerful skyline that still mesmerizes me, in diamonds and designer gowns. Here, model and artist Jasmine Poulton brings my dreams to life in the Mandarin Oriental’s Oriental Suite in Donna Karan‘s very special 30th anniversary fall 2014 collection (remember when I took you backstage) and Chopard diamonds from the high jewelry collection

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Mademoiselle Suzette

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Mademoiselle Suzette sighs away the long afternoon, daydreaming in bed about what it must be like to fall in love. She wishes she could join the party that evening, to have encounters with gallant men, to dance the night into dawn – but alas, she is too young for the attention she longs for, especially in the shadow of her beautiful older sister PenelopeMy age may be in the way, she thinks, but my dreams have no such limits…twirling her treasured ring around her finger, she closes her eyes, fashioning fantasies of what her life may bring, the places she’ll see, and the loves she’ll meet along the way…

Despite her youth and innocence, Mademoiselle Suzette may indeed have some #ChopardSecrets of her own…even if they are only in her dreams.

 

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Mademoiselle Suzette in her daybed wears Chopard’s Chopardissimo ring in white gold //  Marchesa top & skirt // In the garden of her dreams below, she wears Chopard’s Chopardissimo ring in rose gold // HONOR top & skirt

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Mademoiselle Suzette played by Sage // Shot on location at Old Westbury Gardens by Ann Street Studio // Styled by Kelly Framel // Props by Zio & Sons // Makeup by Ashlee Glazer // Hair by Justin Woods // Manicurist Katie Hughes for Butter London // All watches and high jewelry provided by Chopard

 

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