L’Officiel: Art + Tech

We gravitate towards things that we don’t quite understand and call it genius.

Fashion has always looked to the art world for validation. I find this ironic. Art can be such an abstract cloud of subjective noise. Particularly in modern art (which may not even be in reference to contemporary art – rather, the new breed of self-titled social media artists, where the parameters on intellectual property and inspiration are blurred beyond recognition), it’s difficult to distinguish between what is marketing and what is true ingenuity. The same can be said for fashion. We gravitate towards things that we don’t quite understand and call it genius. It’s true that a throwaway reference to Vermeer or Renoir certainly seems to build the illusion of separating the wheat from the chaff. I know art history, it says. I’m better than you and your lowly commercial motivations. I’m a purist. You’re a capitalist. I don’t have money on my mind (I do it for, I do it for the love). I suppose fashion is, at the end of the day, a beautiful (or dysfunctional, as 2015 has seen) struggle between art and commerce.

With an emphasis on commerce.

All of this is not to say that there is not and should not be an influential common ground between art and fashion in the 21st century. Mitchell Oakley Smith and Alison Kubler’s book titled as such is a pretty excellent analytical and visual starting point, should you have any fundamental doubts. Our greatest design talents operate in very similar creative processes to our greatest artists. Couture, when executed with soul, is one of the most fantastical forms of live escapism you can experience. The more progressive Ready-to-Wear shows too, are truly shows in the sense of performance art – not like Chanel’s spectacles, per se, but rather, Rick Owens, Yeezy and vintage McQueen. Then there’s the balancing collaborative space between the two. Not in the throw-a-party-and/or-blogger-brunch-at-Art Basel sense (why brands with no vested interest in the art world would go to the effort of attaching themselves to an art fair is a mystery to me – though, I’m sure Miami is a great deal of fun). More of artists bringing more abstract interpretations of a brand to their consumer, or brands bringing mass commercial relevance to an artist. Or even artists who independently and expertly straddle the two worlds.



Cover Lofficiel 27-2

All three of the artists I worked with on these alternate covers I shot for last month’s L’Officiel Indonesia do just that. Of course, Michael ZavrosDonald Robertson and Vicki Lee, all have incredibly different aesthetics, but each of them (in an era of oversharing and questionable appropriation) are original creative minds for whom I have a huge amount of trust and respect.

Thank you so much to everyone involved in putting together what is surely my favourite story to date, and to Hessy and the L’Officiel team for having me as your covergirl – even if I’m not all that easy-breezy-beautiful-*wink*.


ASSISTANT // Nicol Mouton

HAIR // Richi Grisillo @ Work Agency

MAKE-UP // Charlie Kielty

LOOK 1: Prada SweaterChristie Nicolaides EarringsVersace Choker with artwork by Donald Robertson

LOOK 2: Osman Top from désordre – Third Form Skirt – Roksanda, Man the Label, Natasha Schweitzer, Wanderlust + Co Jewellery (self-portrait)

LOOK 3: Romance Was Born Dress – Holly Ryan, Mania Mania, Amber Sceats Jewellery

LOOK 4: Marimekko Jumpsuit – Alice + Olivia Coat – Mania Mania Earrings with artwork by Vicki Lee

LOOK 5: Louis Vuitton Dress and Belt with artwork by Michael Zavros


Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.