Described as one of the most influential photographic practices in contemporary fashion, the dynamic and inspiring works by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott represent a creative tour de force. The fashion photography duo styles and portrays some of the most powerful brands, fashion models, designers and personalities of our time. The two met in 1994 in England where Piggott worked as a photographer’s assistant. Alas, on the other hand, worked as a prominent male model. One night, at a party on a pier in Hastings, Piggott asked Alas for a light and the two got chatting about fashion and photography. As their energies collided, they quickly decided to work together and join their abilities and creative vision into one special and uncommon project. The first photographs the duo submitted to Dazed & Confused made the cover. The rest is fashion history.
They have made it to the BoF 500*, worked for fashion giants such as Armani, Gucci, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton and lent their skills to many worldwide campaigns and editorials. “Obviously, we are here to sell a product — you can’t disguise that fact — but the trick is to say that message in an unconventional way, where it doesn’t become just about that sale,” Alas told Time in 2003. Their photos encircle a wide range of styles and influences, but are renowned particularly for the use of digitized augmentation of images, and a strong fascination for bold, sexually charged, confident female subjects. As Piggott once stated, they prefer “powerful women, women with a meaning, a you-don’t-have-to-talk-or-move-too-much-to-tell-who-you-are kind of women.”
They recently celebrated two decades of working within the fashion industry by promoting a 400-page tome published by Taschen. A selection of their greatest hits, so to speak, includes a 2010 Naomi Campbell editorial for Interview magazine, a 2011 Kate Moss Editorial for Vogue Japan and a 2005 Missy Rayder editorial for Pop Magazine, among others. Their work is often described as sophisticated, yet provocative at the same time. “The difference between us and other photographers is that we care a lot about appearance,” says Alas. “We spend most of the time in the make-up and hairstyling rooms.” Although they are a Vogue regular, I could not help but celebrate the 2018 Love Magazine editorial that Piggott and Alas shot with Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s daughter and the it girl of the hour. The photographs reminisce the 1980’s vibe, portraying Kaia with smudgy eyes and tousled hair, embellished with statement jewelry. The editorial is an homage to Gia Carangi, an American fashion model who tragically passed away in 1986 at the age of 26. Baggy tracksuit aside, Kaia wears a lot of beautiful statement pieces by Saint Laurent, Polo Ralph Lauren, Chanel and Hermes. Here’s to another two successful decades, at least!
Photo credit: Love magazine, Hazine Magazine