The mask of desire

Fashion is, for many, a fetish. A construct of objects of desire. It’s a natural fit, then, for the desire for fashion to be projected onto traditional notions of sexual fetish. It’s why that little hint of the taboo, of the creeping desire that pushes the boundaries of like and lust, carries on as an undercurrent, a sub-plot, of every season. This shoot handles that sub-plot with delicacy. There are no whips or shibari ropes, no stiletto digging into flesh like a pin about to pierce a balloon. Instead it’s about the subtlety of desire. The literal mask as symbolism for the figurative, the thing we hide behind when we want to keep our innermost thoughts from the world. Or perhaps when we’re simply unsure of what we want.

la femme masquerade

By the end of the shoot the dominated becomes the dominant and the masks come off. But not before Mercy Watson’s styling explores contrasts of masculine and feminine, with that hint of fetishism glowing through in Givenchy’s studded leather, Balenciaga’s metal-tipped collars, Fleet Ilya’s armour-like leather accessories and Dianne Von Furstenberg’s androgynous suiting.

With hair and makeup by David Cranson, and starring models Natascha Verkaik and Millie at The Agency, it’s a shoot worth indulging in full. You can view it all by clicking on the thumbnails above.

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