2014 could hardly start in a fresher way. Mauritius has been used to glamorous, clean, pure as well as sensuous shoots so much so that it gets old. So what happens when some of the best representatives of the local scene get together to create something new?
Photographer: Karen Pang
Make-up Artist: Cedric Lanappe
Model: Chandré Meiring
One of the most exciting and original shoots we have seen here in years. I interviewed Karen Pang, Cedric Lanappe and Chandré Meiring for my very first blog post on ION, with pictures from the shoot that you will be the first to see.
Karen, what was the concept behind the shoot and what inspired you to create it?
Karen: I have always wanted to work on concepts that would change how people look – not in an especially rebellious way, but in a manner that would completely change the way they are perceived. I am fascinated by Japanese style and the post-punk look. And I have this thing for people who dress in ways that make a strong statement about themselves, the anti-conformists who dare and do not care, like Vivienne Westwood and Nicole Formichetti.
Did you deliberately want to create something new or was it all freestyle?
Karen: It was a project that I had in mind for quite a while. I was tired of all the “glitz and glam”. It was the first time that I worked with Chandré, and I absolutely wanted to change the way she looked. Cedric Lanappe contacted me to do a shooting for Bourjois Paris and I thought that this was the perfect occasion to do something crazy. I had so much fun working with them, and to be honest, just experimenting and doing things differently for a change is much more fun and rewarding.
Cedric, this shoot blends in elements of your style but in a whole new way: your signature brights are there, but transformed to reflect not the glamorous but the post-punk. Was this something you wanted to do?
Cedric: It had been a while since Karen and I had collaborated together on a project for our personal pleasure and creative experimentation – in fact, not since Pigmentation (Editor’s note: Cedric Lanappe’s make-up show held in July 2013). I am a Bourjois Paris representative, and I wanted to show the transformative power of make-up, that it can be used effectively and powerfully in any kind of photo shoot. Karen had talked to me about a concept she wanted to explore and I was immediately keen – she’s a photographer I feel really at ease with. We wanted to completely change Chandré, as she is one of the most in demand models working in Mauritius today, and everybody had already seen her in the cute girl/glamorous girl way before. She came to us as a blank canvas: I started painting, Karen created mood and looks. We tried different styles before getting the looks we wanted.
Was there a message you wanted to convey in the make-up?
Cedric: There was no particular message… We were all inspired by the concept and let our imagination work as hard as it could. Working with the best gives me a little adrenalin rush too, makes creating different make-up looks even more pleasurable. Personally, I think the make-up is very much the “teenage rebel” type, and for sure for Mauritius, it’s shocking, but oh well! We are here to make the local fashion industry grow!
Chandré, this is a drastic change in the way we’ve been used to seeing you. Were you planning on such a transformation?
Chandré: As a model, I try to keep reinventing myself: my aim is not to be recognised in a picture. Once you shoot and you keep recognising yourself, it becomes mundane.This type of shoot was on my wish list, but I never got the opportunity to do it and needed the right team.When Karen and Cedric explained the concept I panicked at first, as it was so different to what I was used to, even finding the looks in my wardrobe would be impossible. Cedric just told me: “Bring your entire wardrobe and we’ll improvise.” The evening before the shoot, Karen sent me all types of images and I wondered how on earth I was going to be able to switch from the shoots I was used to and become a “bad girl on the street”.
How challenging was it?
Chandré: I came on set having looked at all these ideas the night before not knowing where to start and how to act. Karen and Cedric got me in the right mood and I was therefore able to portray myself in a very different way: I think that’s why this shoot was so successful. If it wasn’t for them knowing what they were doing, I think it would have been one of those wishy-washy photo shoots that you look at once then forget about in a week. Seeing the end results of this shoot made us all feel very proud.
Style Mauritius for ION