John Stember FanBox


the making of





Coming Thursday 3 November

an amateur video by Jayden Heron Black
including Rautea Howan 


The Hinano Calendar Shoot, a hymn to the Vahine, has become a much anticipated and unmissable feature for anyone in love with Polynesia... and with Hinano too! For 2012, the calendar’s concept and artistic sense were a creation by photographer   John Stember and advertising agency Pub Conseil.  


For 2012, the calendar was a collaboration between advertising agency Pub Conseil and photographer John Stember. The latter, an English artist who has been living in Tahiti for several years, worked on many fashion shoots for internationally renowned magazines; he is the author of “Te Hine Manea”, a book of artistic photography.







Cadre Noir by Helmut Newton, 1980 | Source: Osborne Samuel

NEW YORK, United States — I once began a fashion meeting at French Vogue in Paris with a question to the rest of the team: “Why do we take pictures of clothes?” Everyone just gave me that look and said “Debra!” I know it probably seemed crazy for a fashion editor to say this, but sometimes we need to ask ourselves the question and I think now is a great time to revisit this topic.

Franceline Prat, an editor at French Vogue and a mentor to so many of us, always reminds me that the most important work she did for the magazine was less often inspired by the clothes themselves than by the great stories that she and many of the forces in fashion’s creative ecosystem pulled directly from their own life experiences.

As Franceline said herself, “always remember the great characters you meet in your life, they will inspire you later on and you never know when.” Our own life stories will always be, for fashion, the strongest and most powerful reference of them all.

An example she often cited was the shoot she did with Helmut Newton, inspired by a young lieutenant belonging to the Cadre Noir de Saumor, the elite French mounted cavalry which was stationed not far from where she grew up as a young belle of Nice society. The lieutenant had loved her from afar.

Many years later, trying to think of an idea that would please the very difficult Mr. Newton, she remembered the Cadre Noir and the young lieutenant, the beautiful black horses and the magnificent black uniforms, which were a particular fetish of the photographer. So, 20 years later she called up her young lieutenant (then a colonel!) and said, “Do you remember me? I want to come and do some photographs with you!” Luckily for the history of fashion photography, he agreed.

But today, fashion creatives just don’t seem to be pulling from these kinds of personal stories, neither at the shows nor in the pages of magazines. Collections are hailed for having great “pieces,” but if this becomes the focus, it leaves the rest of fashion’s creative ecosystem starving and unbalanced.

Magazines, like great absurdist theater, whether operatic or minimalist, tell only vague stories, made from carefully art directed still images that leave a lot of blanks for the reader to fill in. Who didn’t want to run off to Greece after seeing Bob Richardson’s romantically gorgeous editorial in French Vogue, a tear running down the girl’s tanned face as she ends her summer romance in the final spread of the editorial? This is what makes storytelling so important. It allows us to fool ourselves into believing that if we purchase the following list of items, or wear our hair a certain way, we too would be jetting off to Greece in no time. And if we just head over to Bergdorf’s, we too can have that life.

Why did this all start to change? Maybe it was because of the rise of celebrity in fashion. Or the focus on “behind the scenes.” Or the practice of referencing upon referencing. Maybe it was the focus publishers put on cross-marketing film and record releases. Or perhaps it was the their relationships with merchants, because, the truth is, for the most part, we now take pictures of clothing in order to optimize merchandising.

It was not so long ago that fashion enjoyed a rich period of more personal storytelling, starring creative forces like Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Yohji Yamamoto, Hussein Chalayan, Martin Margiela and Helmut Lang — and boy did they put on a show! All of these designers found tremendous inspiration in their own life stories. Then the teams that make up the rest of the ecosystem — from hair and makeup artists to shoemakers, jewelers, set designers and music producers — all contributed to the “mise en scene.” There seemed to be a balance then, between the vagueness that allowed us to dream and the more informational “where can I get that?’ aspect of it all.

While watching The September Issue, the documentary about the making of American Vogue’s September 2007 issue, at first I was honestly perplexed by Grace Coddington’s insistence that Galliano’s costume drama collection was her focus for the season. With all due respect to Mr. Galliano (for whom I do have a great deal of respect), it hardly seemed appropriate that in 2007, he would be the key reference point for the creative director of American Vogue considering the radical change we have seen in the way designers, editors, and photographers work today.

But upon further reflection, it made sense. Ms. Coddington comes from the era of fashion storytelling, which was like a beautiful dance between the couturiers, the models, the art directors, the editors and the photographers. They all lived and waltzed through the same world, where Monsieur Saint Laurent fell in love with The Ballet Russes; where Anna Wintour became enamoured with Mark Morris; where Diana Vreeland herself turned the whole of Vogue into a work of theatre both on the magazine’s pages and in its offices. Ms. Coddington was just going back to what she knew was the best way to tell a fashion story.

Luckily, we do have some great fashion storytellers today. So let’s give credit where credit is due. The Mulleavy sisters of Rodarte bring their hard style ballet costumes to Chelsea art galleries. Scott Sternberg refers to himself, not as a designer, but rather as someone who “makes content.” Thom Browne disrobes flying nuns to reveal exquisite clothing which launches a thousand new ideas on how to present clothing, not just in his theatre, but also how to present them in-store, how to present them in the context of a magazine, and, of course, how to present and use the pieces in the theatre of life, as Daphne Guinness, Anna Piaggi and Anna Dello Russo are more than happy to do. It’s much needed oxygen for the industry.

Debra Scherer has worked at American Vogue, French Vogue and Italian Vogue, where she is currently a contributing editor. 

She is co-founder of The Little Squares.



Why ‘Savage Beauty’ Should
Tour the World



NEW YORK, United States — From Jean-Paul Gaultier at Montreal’s Musée des Beaux Arts to Husein Chalayan at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, this has been a year of high-profile fashion exhibitions. The grand daddy of all these shows is theAlexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Last week, I finally managed to catch the exhibit in its final days.

In total, 661,509 people passed through the exhibition, making Savage Beauty the most visited fashion exhibition in the museum’s history, putting it in the same league as the Treasures of Tutankhamun (1978) and Mona Lisa (1963). So high was the demand that the Met extended the exhibition’s run by week and stayed open until midnight on the final two days, releasing a statement explaining that this was the first time that the museum had ever kept its galleries open so late to accomodate the “extraordinary response”

But despite this “unprecedented interest” in Mr. McQueen’s body of work, museum officials said that Savage Beauty will not travel to any other museums because it is composed almost entirely of loan. What a shame.

By all accounts, the Met and its curator, Andrew Bolton, did a formidable job of bringing Mr. McQueen’s body of work into a tightly and expertly curated fashion experience, immersing visitors deep into McQueen’s world. Those of us lucky enough to have attended any of his fashion shows could see the same kind of high-quality production value, creative integrity and aesthetic sophistication in this wonderful, inspiring exhibition.

As I walked into the room entitled “The Cabinet of Curiosities,” packed shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of other people, I overheard a little girl asking her mother, “Mommy, why do the hats have animal horns?” Her mother answered softly and authoritatively, “Because he was a very special, talented man who made fashion into theatre. He was no ordinary fashion designer.”

Listening to this exchange brought home the real impact of this exhibition. Unlike so many of the television shows and media that claim to show the ‘reality’ of fashion, Savage Beauty managed to get underneath the glossy surface and make fashion understandable, interesting and inspiring to a mass audience.

For this reason, I hope the Met will reconsider its position on taking Savage Beauty on the road. Surely those who loaned their McQueen items to the exhibition — most notably Daphne Guinness and Alexander McQueen, the company — have seen the powerful impact of the exhibition. Surely there can be no better tribute to this great designer than having hundreds of thousands of ordinary people enjoy Mr. McQueen’s work and see it up close.

But emotional reasons aside, there is a clear business rationale for touring the show as well. It turns out that the exhibit has been a great marketing machine for McQueen. According to a release sent out by the Met yesterday, “popular McQueen merchandise in the Met Shops, including armadillo shoe ornaments, crystal skull paperweights, and tartan purses, sold out several times and were repeatedly reordered.”


Dress Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me: A Look at the Role of the Dominatrix in Fashion From 1950s to Today



The word “Fetish” is emblazoned on the cover of this month’s Numéro magazine, while Katie Holmes and Claudia Schiffer both don leather and lace with a side of kink on the covers of Vogue Spain and Germany. A pattern seems to be emerging ...

Lately there has been a flood of fashion editorials that dive into the world of fetish and fantasy, where the dominatrix rules (and don’t forget the occasional sexy maid). Fashion and pop culture have come together for the perfect storm with sinister fall collections from labels like Louis Vuitton (remember his show was titled “Fetish”), Givenchy and Alexander Mc Queen, while Rihnna is loving S&M, and Lady Gaga performs in Gianni Versace's bondage collection. It's no surprise that fashion editorials are experiencing the trickle down effect.

Thierry Mugler once described fashion as a “very cruel…very demanding mistress,” and we couldn’t agree more. It’s an apt description and helps to explain why the dark world of fetish and fashion have always been, well, bedmates. Masks, PVC, whips and latex don’t have much of a place in real life but since when was high fashion concerned with practicality and reality? The fashion editorial is the perfect place to be a little naughty.

In celebration of sin we’d like to take a look back on the dominatrix and her partner, the submissive, in fashion photography. Caution: Fetish, riding crops, and nudity ahead.







a woman to admire


“Je suis toujours mon instinct, en général il ne me trompe pas. ” Est-ce seulement l'instinct qui l'a fait avancer si vite, avec des succès éclatants et parfois la sagesse de renoncer ? A 15 ans, elle réussit les rochers les plus difficiles de la forêt de Fontainebleau. A 17 ans, durant ses week-ends de lycéenne parisienne, elle multiplie les plus grandes courses dans les Alpes en cachette de ses parents inquiets de son audace. Vers 20 ans, elle rompt avec l'escalade pour se consacrer à son métier de kinésithérapeute, mais cinq ans plus tard le goût de l'escalade reprend le dessus.

Dès le début des compétitions d'escalade elle cueille les meilleures places, et en falaise elle réussit le premier 8 féminin. Avide de découvertes et de rencontres, elle commence aussi à parcourir le monde : elle ne cessera plus de ramener des reportages de ces voyages. Elle est devenue célèbre mais se lasse de la compétition, de ses routines exigeantes, de son univers clos.

Elle rêve à nouveau d'aventures en montagne. En 1990 elle grimpe en libre la tour de Trango au Pakistan et en solitaire le pilier Bonatti au Dru. En juin 1991, anticipant la redécouverte des grands "voyages" de l'escalade artificielle, elle ouvre seule en onze jours un nouvel itinéraire sur la face ouest des Drus.

Le 10 mars 1992, elle réussit seule, en 17 h, l'ascension de la face nord de l'Eiger, une paroi mythique, la plus meurtrière des Alpes. La même année elle tente l'immense pilier du Latok au Pakistan. Début 1993 elle réalise l'hivernale solitaire de la face nord des Grandes Jorasses, et fait au printemps une tentative sur le pilier ouest du Makalu, au Népal. En hiver 1994 le triptyque des grandes faces nord des Alpes s'achève avec la voie Bonatti au Cervin.

En 1995 elle gravit la face sud ouest du Shishapangma au Tibet, et fait une tentative sur la face sud de l'Annapurna. Début 1996 elle est victime d'un accident en Antarctique, mais peut reprendre son activité dès la fin de l'année.

Au début de l'été 1999, en deux jours, Catherine réussit en solitaire la Directe de la Face Nord de la Cima Grande di Lavaredo, la voie "Brandler-Hasse"

En 2010 son petit Victor a déjà douze ans, et Catherine vit toujours ses passions avec la même fraîcheur.