As far as fashion show locations go, it's pretty hard to beat Westminster Abbey, the site of Gucci's 2017 Cruise Collection. The brand sent renowned photographer Nick Waplington, better known for his hard-hitting documentary photography than glossy spreads, to cover the show. The results, seen in the new book Blind for Love, provide a mesmerizing glimpse behind the scenes (some sneak peeks of which you can peep below). We chatted with Waplington about his first experience shooting fashion, Westminster Abbey, and Italian takes on English style.
Do you approach a shoot involving fashion different than you do other shoots?
Actually, this was the first time I have shot fashion, when I shot the look book that is. Before I have only documented the creation of fashion in a reportage style. I had no control over what took place in the past. I'd never before had the pleasure of controlling a model!
Is there anything about a fashion subject that you find particularly interesting?
To be brutally honest, no! But what makes it interesting is my non-involvement in fashion. I am looking for something beyond the subject itself. I want to transcend the subject matter and create an image that suits my own purposes.
Did Gucci give you any guidelines about what they wanted you to shoot?
Well they created the environment with Westminster Abbey, Alessandro and his team, and the models, and just let me loose. Good thing I got an early night the day before--there was so much to cover. It was a great opportunity to make something special. I hope I rose to the occasion and did the designs justice.
Westminster Abbey is such an iconic space. Had you spent much time there before the shoot?
It was actually my first time. But what a magnificent location, so steeped in British history with so many wonderful people and tyrants are all buried there. Lots of people I'd like to meet when I take delivery on my time machine.
Alessandro Michele said the show was quintessentially British. Do you agree?
I would think so--from an Italian perspective. I could see the references, for sure, like the beach wash jeans that skinheads used to chase me in when I was a kid. It was good to see something I associate with a nasty past recycled in a positive and thought-provoking manner. These are ugly times and it was great to be involved in something so positive and exciting.
Blind for Love is out January 2017 from Assouline.
All photos courtesy of Assouline and Gucci.