Mark Bryan is one of the only good things to come out of 2020. The 61-year-old grandfather of four, who moved from Texas to Germany where he now works in robotics engineering and coaches a football team, looks incredible in a pencil skirt and six-inch stilettos. "Maybe it's because the heels make me feel a little taller," Bryan told PAPER of his viral uniform, which he's developed in response to "boring" menswear that sticks to a dress code of "black pants, navy pants, brown pants and grey pants."
Fittingly, Bryan has now landed a fashion campaign, lending his legs to Amsterdam's Ninamounah, who transformed him into stylish taxidermy for their Spring 2021 collection, Nest. Helmed by Designer Ninamounah Langestraat and Brand Director Robin Burggraaf, Ninamounah wanted to produce imagery that reflected an era of extreme isolation — when everything came to a stop and we were forced to nurture our own environments from within isolation.
"Taxidermy boxes are a standstill of time," Ninamounah said in a statement, explaining how the campaign presents its models inside the brand's habitat. "Which makes the object in it preserve its essence and the morbid beauty that is inside of it. When you assemble a taxidermy display, you have the opportunity to completely fill it in as you need. We let our imagination take over and created a nest — a safe place."
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A bit of research unveiled how the Netherlands first attempted mounting in the 1600s when an affluent Dutch trader brought back exotic birds after traveling to the former Dutch indies. "All the birds died of suffocation, but because they wanted to preserve the beauty of these birds they stuffed them in cotton," according to the brand. "They put the birds on display in taxidermy boxes in natural positions to signify the exotic beauty of traveling abroad."
This is why there are direct allusions to birds in Ninamounah's taxidermy displays, with models — Iekeliene Stange, Karina Zharmukhambetova and Kobus — wearing beaks on their faces and feathers decorating their legs. One model's eyeshadow even looks like a bird's wing. "The nest is a womb, a home, a place to grow and reflect," Ninamounah previously told PAPER of this collection, building off a brand history that explores the intersection between animals and humans.
Photography: Blommers & Schumm
Art direction: Ferdi Sibbel
Set design: Pieter Eliëns
Makeup: Kathinka Gernant
Hair: La Toya Velberg
Manicure: Frédérique Olthuis
Prosthetics: Carola Brockhoff
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