- Port’s fashion director, David St John-James, looks back over his year
Researching our favourite costume designers was an exciting project for spring’s Film Issue, guest edited by Daniel Day-Lewis, as we compiled our lists of iconic designers and stylists responsible for imagining the wardrobes of some of the most memorable characters in cinema. There are dozens of greats, but coordinating schedules and dates, (some being literally on set and unable to tear themselves apart from their projects) meant we weren’t able to include everyone we wanted. Sadly, Milena Canonero (Clockwork Orange, The Shining) was very difficult to get hold of.Like last year’s shoot with photographer Stefan Heinrichs in Berlin, travelling to shoot in Casablanca in February with photographer Azim Haidrayan was jeopardised by an unseasonal rain storm. This was such a challenge that we decided to hit the road and head for Marrakech. The model, Clement Chabernaud, snoozed in the back seat while we drove for hours in fog, coming through the other side into a great big wall of sunshine and the Atlas Mountains in the background. It was suitably cinematic, a stunning backdrop for a beautiful shoot.
The summer issue’s special moment was a story shot in Wales with Stefan Heinrichs. Called ‘Land of My Brothers’, Stefan and I wanted to shoot something sentimental, with lots of feeling. Port’s casting director Eddy Martin and I decided it would be really nice to shoot a real family or, more specifically, brothers. Eddy found three brothers from the Garner family from Tregaron in Wales. While shooting in the Welsh countryside, we spent the weekend with the whole family, their mum and dad, all the boy’s girlfriends, and a little dog called Pip. Their generosity and kindness was overwhelming and I hope this was expressed in the story. Having a welsh connection of my own through my granddad, I also re-visited my own roots.For the autumn issue I styled the bad boy of ballet, Sergei Polunin, in an unairconditioned studio on one of the hottest days of the summer. The day began with us getting lost backstage at the ENO, before finding Sergei deep in contemplation, warming up during rehearsals before a big performance. It was tense and I thought he was going to live up to his reputation. But you shouldn’t believe everything you hear: at last, when he rejoined us at the studio after his performance, he was attentive and very generous with his time.
- For the cover I paired up again with the wonderful photographer Nadav Kander to shoot the actor Michael Shannon… Four hours sped by as he snapped his fingers, shuffled his feet, and sang along to rare jazz and blues tracks on his iPod. A true southern gentleman from Kentucky.
Our most recent cover shoot for issue 12 was with Chiwetel Ejiofor, a rare talent and the most down to earth actor I’ve met. Keeping it real, we shot the entire story on film on a rather cold day in the early winter.
Other fashion stories for the issue involved a big trip to New York to capture a lively cast of friendly and interesting characters and friends of the photographer Mark Peckmezian, and a visit to Mount Vernon to see US Olympic figure skater Evan Lysacek (see our film HERE). All achieved over bright sunny, and very cold weekend in autumn.
David is Port’s fashion director
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