Nicotine stained fingers grasp a cigarette, desperately sucking the remains as if drinking through a straw. In this confined space called a model apartment the stench of old fags is suffocating. The threadbare carpets match our dispositions. Mere shadows of our former selves. Greasy unkempt hair, exquisite bone structure jutting out from under thin pale skin. Hey, I should be worried, break this silly mold we are stuck in, but this is the look of the season, totally in vogue and due on a photo-shoot in a few short hours. So on goes the coffee pot bubbling away like an old friend and the only thing on the menu for breakfast. We are the abused beauties of the Heroin Chic era.
It’s the 90’s. Trainspotting is a box office hit, people have pagers or very large mobile phones with limited battery life and it seems that the fashion industry is flirting with the realism of the art world, with raw images of dangerously emaciated models appearing everywhere. Fashion is imitating art. All of a sudden a model wasn’t a glamorous representation of impossible perfection, she was shot raw, ungroomed, impure and edgy. There was a certain beauty in this realism. Models looked like they had something to say for once, maybe even be your friend or the ‘girl next door’. Gone were the hair rollers and high maintenance looks of our predecessors and in came the anti-glamour movement called Heroin Chic. The decade I fell out of my school uniform and into the fashion industry.
The public was instantly infatuated, absorbed in the lust and lunacy of this new trend, engulfing it in its entirety. Voyeuristically gazing into the intimate photos of a models world. The images cut to the bone, and the models were almost typecast becoming the characters in the photos going beyond the role of just selling fashion. Models were selling themselves, some showing the good and the ugly side of their lives. Beauty was now a feeling and this look was easy to imitate, perhaps explaining why the world became so unduly obsessed during this decade of change.
Every client was looking to book a ‘waif’. Every pose we looked like precious broken dolls, half clothed, glazed over expressions, dark eyes, or better yet, no makeup at all.
One of my first editorials I ever did was called ‘Fashion Junkie’ a story of a girl so obsessed by clothing she put fashion above all her other needs and lived on the street begging for money to buy more clothes.