©Tim Walker for W Magazine
I usually come across fantastic fashion shoots as I scroll down my tumblr. dashboard; this particular time however, there was something that triggered an immense excitement in me, as well as an endearing déjà vu feel. I had already seen the latest Tim Walker shoot photos he did for W Magazine, featuring the ingenious Tilda Swinton, but it was this particular image above that sparked something inside my memories archive. I've only seen that particular kind of architecture in a very far away place near my hometown. And in fact it is the place I was thinking of: a fantastic set of constructions built in the jungle by creative mastermind Edward James, called 'Las Pozas' in Xilitla, México. (you can read a brief story of this place over here).
Tilda wearing Giorgio Armani blouse, skirt and pants; Haider Ackermann dress; Ann Demeulemeester top; Cornelia James gloves; Prada gaiters and socks; Painting by Leonora Carrington.
As you make your way through the quirky passages and the fantastic vegetation, you can confirm that sense that these huge surreal structures are actually merged with the landscape; it's like they're part of it and they coexist to exude the beauty James intended. I've visited this location 3 times, and it's been quite a delightful experience, it's a fantastic thing to see these artistic manifestations take place in this beautiful places you don't get to see on a daily basis. Below you can see some pictures I took on my last trip.
Tim Walker's work never ceases to amaze his audience with his superb work. His photographs have a fantastical vibe where the unreal merges with the real, blurring the line of what's considered as a normal perception of beauty. This same premise was the basic component of the surrealism / magic realism movement that took place among artists in the mid 90's mexican circle. Artists such as Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington created a dimension of their own, worlds that obeyed their own rules and made sense in their own way.
Tilda wearing Rochas Dress, National Theater Costume Hire underskirt; Cornelia James gloves and Céline pumps; copper character sculpture by Leonora Carrington
Last year I had the chance to experience several art exhibitions where the work, of both Varo and Carrington, was exposed. I took pictures of some of the sculptures made by Carrington (I believe she was around her 90's when she made the one you see above) so you can admire the fantastic way Walker condensed his vision on this shoot. Believe it or not, there's sort of a timeless fashion style in the pictorial work; fashion is a very influential and resonating factor in the surreal movement as it works as a connector between the fantastical characters and their surroundings.
Tilda wearing Haider Ackermann shirt and trousers; 'Breaking the Cycle' by Remedios Varo
I'm in love with the styling done in 'Stranger than Paradise', not only because of the fact that Swinton's unique physical features fit so well in this aesthetic, but also because of the fantastic garments she's wearing. I find Walker's dynamic so interesting, the way he adjoins the runway onto his compositions. There was a time when 'Las Pozas' was almost decaying, therefore, tourism had to be incited in some way to keep this surreal place alive; looking at the whole set of photographs I can't help getting the feeling that the vision of the melange of surrealists takes an even more vivid representation of how this particular place should look like, giving it some kind of life.
Tilda wearing Louis Vuitton dress and shoes; Cornelia James gloves; Emilio Cavallini tights; 'The Alchemist' by Remedios Varo
The resonance of the work of an artist is what makes him or her feel realized, it gives one the freedom not only to create realities, but to interpret them. It's thrilling to actually watch how fine arts, fashion and photography combine to tell stories, regardless of the difference in eras, movements, language and geography. I think there's some sort of universality to it, images talk by themselves and invite you to believe what they're saying.
Tilda wearing Rick Owens jacket and dress; 'Star Hunter' by Remedios Varo
Overall, I think this whole collection of concepts and artistic statements go way beyond today's perceptions. W Magazine's 'Modern Beauty' premise makes me think about what we as a society think beauty is, and how most of the times we get into the debate of what the true concept of beauty should be (and it goes on and on). However, I believe that Walker gives us a clear example of what beauty is all about: the celebration of nature's mystical paths alongside the human's most intricate yet amusing ways of expression. ★
Tilda wearing Ann Demeulemeester dress and Cornelia James Gloves
© Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington paintings (found on the web)