“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.” — Andy Warhol
They have blood-red talons and gravity-defying blonde bouffants, but Emma Dudlyke’s heroines in her new shoot for Bambi Magazine are none the less consumers. They can afford the manicures and makeovers and designer bags; but a Coke is a Coke, as Andy Warhol would have it, and in that, at least, they’re just like the rest of us.
Next to the everyday people Dudlyke leaves in the background of some of her frames, her models appear over-the-top – as having more money than taste. But that’s an obsession of the fashion world right now: taking the lowest common denominators of consumerism and giving them a tongue-in-cheek reworking into covetable, high-priced luxury goods. Celine’s dollar store wash bag prints. Chanel’s supermarket. Moschino’s Golden Arches.
It’s a crazy fad but one that seems not to take itself too seriously. “Maybe it’s because people are realizing that [high fashion] has gotten too stuffy and boring,” Moschino designer Jeremy Scott recently told Elle Magazine. “It’s ultimately a luxury in the real sense that you don’t need it. We don’t need another stitch of clothes. There are enough handbags in the world. You have to desire it.” Dudlyke’s girls may not be wearing their consumables so literally, but they wear their consumerism like its an accessory.
But there’s more to be said for Dudlyke’s shoot, aside from being on-trend in an unusual, novel way that most of us couldn’t even hope to replicate. Like that it’s brilliant. Like that, having undergone complete transformations courtesy Erin Kristensen’s breathtakingly kitschy and yet stunningly beautiful hair and makeup, models Hilda Dias Pimentel and Rebecca Szulc never break character for a second. And that Clarissa Bowman’s styling nails it. Nails everything.
And finally, that Dudlyke’s photography, from concept to execution, makes her shoot more than worthy of being the cover shoot for Bambi Magazine’s newly released 18th issue. You should head here now to see the issue in full.