While bodies come in all shapes and sizes, it's taken the fashion industry a long time to catch on to reality. The fight has been an uphill battle for a revolutionary few to boost different types of women onto the catwalk or into major campaigns, and fashion's recent pivot to "body positivity" arguably still feels a bit disingenuous. But the campaign continues, and among those in the trenches is Berlin-based stylist Nicole Walker.
The young creative channeled her talents into new platform AMAZE that allows her to pursue dream projects across all mediums (she puts together zines, films, live performances on top of styling and curating) entirely uncensored. Her determination to freshen fashion's stale gender and body binary came at an early age. As a child, Walker says she would dress herself in a suit and tie, with a painted-on mustache to boot.
"I think this aesthetic has stayed with me ever since," Walker says. "I like to explore what for me is unexplored and constantly push my own limits when it comes to styling," adding that she tries to insert as much emotion in dressing her subjects as possible, utilizing each piece of clothing to best express the human condition.
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For her latest project, Walker fuses fashion, art and performance, dressing female bodybuilder, Ninna Skakon, in the hottest emerging designers and having her slow down her workout to the point the movements become "coregasmic" (think a rhythmic yoga-like flow of core-based staple exercises with a soundtrack). Below, Nicole Walker explains her vision.
What attracted you to a female body builder as a model?
Lately, I have been fascinated with the idea of female strength, and the idea of a "powerful" woman. I have also developed a big fascination for how the physical strength effects ones relationship to ones inner life. How a strong body can in a way allow for a sort of more soft or weaker mind. A sort of acceptance towards ones mental vulnerabilities when ones body is strong. So I wanted to do a performance with a woman that was very strong, there for I ended up using Ninna Skakon, a Danish bodybuilder as my performer.
How do you approach styling a non-traditional (from fashion's perspective) body type?
I never usually think that garments are best when they are in the "right" size, I have always been attracted to garments and styling that is "off." Often too tight or too big is what I like the most. When things are perfect I get bored. Purity should never be the goal in exploration. Thats why styling Ninna was such a pleasure, her muscular body looked beautiful in everything.
Tell me about your favorite image from the shoot and how it was created.
I love the image of Ninna is the one when she is sitting on a chair made my artist Oline Marie Andersen. Showing of her amazing body and just glows of a sort of female strength that speaks to me in the best of ways. The whole happened right before the performance started so we did the whole shoot in like 2 hours, very stressful but the result ended up great.
How would you like viewers to interpret these images?
I want these images to be seen as strong, sexy and inspiring. The female body is capable of so many wonderful things, creating life and pushing every possible limit. I like the idea of being able to see a strong, muscular, beautiful body as something sexy and admirable.
Photography by Chris Calmer