Steven Klein is known the world over as a visionary photographer, but this season has turned his attention to the world of beauty with a collection for NARS that is inspired by the dark side of glamour. Eerie but seductive, the products capture the essence of Klein’s work, and here the photographer tells us why beauty can be a goddess or a beast…
What was your first impression when you learned NARS was interested in collaborating with you on a collection?
The whole idea was a no-brainer. I love the idea of not shooting images for a campaign, but using archival photos. What François said to me were key words, because I’m always restricted. He said, “If we use your strongest images, we want you. We love what you do and I want your vision.” How could you refuse an offer like that?
Tell us about the collaborative process.
It was really interesting because he had me submit pictures that I like, and then he made a large selection, and we both chose the final images together. We thought we’d represent this new collection and represent me as a photographer. I found that really exciting given the climate of the corporate control with most brands (especially in cosmetics). Everything has still come back to me. That’s why this project was so exciting; I was working with another creative person, collaborating directly with him. He’s the one in control, so he doesn’t have to go through this corporate board to crush ideas.
How did you choose the shades for the collection?
For me, it was a great opportunity to explore my work in a different way – it’s turning my images into three-dimensional products. The collection was based on my images that existed as opposed to creating images that were inspired by the products.
What is your favourite piece in the collection?
I don’t really have a favorite; I like them all for different reasons. That’s the thing, I think they all work together, so I like the whole project.