Montrealer Yuli Sato spends her time creating photographs of unseen other worlds with an assortment of thrifted vintage cameras. Yuli studies at Concordia University. Her photos are haunting but beautiful, often taking place in deserted snowy forests, upon grassy hilltops, or in empty indoor swimming pools. Yuli talks to WORN about butterfly clips, school uniforms and chai lattes.
What’s the last fashion publication you read?
Lula, but I haven’t actually looked through it thoroughly yet even though I got it a few months ago. I love the overall aesthetic; they’re not as concerned with showing the clothes in a commercial way and its general mood lures me in. I also dig the interviews.
How has your style changed since elementary school?
Quite a bit. I grew up in the ’90s, so I was obsessed with wearing those woven plastic necklaces. Platform sneakers and butterfly clips were also big for me. I think I was a little too young to really get the full effect of the ’90s, but my sister is three years older and was such a ’90s teen – it was so fantastic. She rocked bell-bottom jeans, cropped tanks and flannel.
I’ve been trying to move toward a more classic look lately, so I only buy things I know I will like in five or ten years, as opposed to something super trendy. If I ever feel like dressing a little crazy, I’ll shop at a thrift store so I don’t feel guilty if I don’t end up liking things in the long run. I just bought an amazing Navajo print blazer, a floral maxi dress, black maxi skirt, and a few giant men’s sweaters at Goodwill for less than $20.
Liana Schmidt is a photographer whose work you may recognize from WORN’s “This Shit Ain’t Free” make-up column in every issue. Liana is also one half of Arianna, an art-duo, and she published an ever-charming book called Paper Dolls in 2007. Liana is a member of Toronto’s Mercer Union, and is helping organize this year’s OMG SWAP, a clothing swap where you can pay a $5 entrance fee and walk away with all you can carry. Watch out for expert hoarders – they may be violent.
You’re a part of Mercer Union, which promotes the production of art of all kinds. How does fashion fit in?
In a sense, fashion fits into Mercer’s culture because a lot of artists in and around the gallery can get especially creative with their clothing. On a more general level, fashion and art seem to influence each other and tend to be visual references from which we can look back on to define a particular time.
Can you tell us about the OMG SWAP? Why do you think it’s important to share and recycle clothing?
The OMG SWAP, conceived by Xenia Anemia of the Mercer Union board, is a fund-raising opportunity for the gallery and a community initiative; it’s also a great opportunity to socialize, cleanse your closet and find new pieces for spring. For a $5 entrance fee you can pillage a great deal of clothing and all leftover clothing will be donated to Sistering, a woman’s agency serving homeless, marginalized and low-income women in Toronto. Recycling clothing is an obvious inclination if you have ever seen the warehouses that vintage buyers pick from. There is a lot of excess clothing kicking around out there.
I haven’t been familiar with Sam Haskins’ photography for long, but something about his black and white work has captivated me. His ability to capture his models as if they were actors in a play is truly astounding, making for some fascinating photographs.
Drawing inspiration from the late Irving Penn, Haskins’ noted use of several style techniques have remained prominent in fashion photography for the past 40 years. However, Haskins remains a photographer first and a fashion photographer second. He has credited high-brow fashion editors, with a view of models as props instead of people, for his initial disengagement from the fashion community. Unwilling to be pin-holed into the highly-structured business of fashion, Haskins preferred to shoot his own work in lieu of giving up any creative control. Intent on capturing personality in his models while making the female nude’s movement seem ever so effortless, Haskins’ photographs instantly spark the viewer’s curiosity.
His most iconic works are captured in his seminal collections: Five Girls (1962) and Cowboy Kate (1964). These sixties classics remain cherished landmarks, projecting the elusive stylistic qualities that would become so popular in fashion photography. Five Girls challenged still photography by giving the female form movement, with its cinematic approach to capturing the persona of its characters in provocative, yet compelling depictions. In a 1963 article published in Journal Infinity, Andreas Feininger described Haskins’ work: “Whether smiling quietly, laughing in exuberant joie de vivre or seriously looking into space, they appear completely unconscious of their nudity. It seems to me it is precisely this frankness—those large clear eyes candidly looking at me—that gives Haskins’ nudes and semi-nudes their bewitching quality.”