Where the Sidewalk Ends Fashion Begins for Don Sumada
To anyone who cares a stitch about style, a walk down the sidewalk is like a walk down the runway. At the end of that sidewalk, Shel Silverstein tells us, is a world of pause after the bustle of a city. It’s a place where we go to slow down. In Imagista’s latest editorial with Don Sumada, ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends,’ they combined these two ideas and give us a view at fashion with a loving dose of stillness. We’re offered beauty in the space between the energy of high fashion and the calm of meditation.
Don brings the volume with pieces by Gucci, Miu Miu, Christian Dior, and Sacai in bold colors and exciting textures including a fur jacket that is reminiscent of another Silverstein story: The Lorax. The looks are recontextualized in environments that are stark and gritty, giving us a taste of contrast that bring the playfulness of the fashion upfront, encouraging a bold attitude and courageous point of view.
Don Sumadaâ€™s Fine Art Inspiration
SOMA's latest cover comes from their story “La Femme au Chapeau.” Although it draws no direct line to Matisse’s groundbreaking painting of the same name that inspired the story, it offers a similar challenge of the status quo. The clean lines and soft textures chosen by Don Sumada create a new context for an accessory that has recently been overlooked or been relegated as far too casual. Instead, Don’s styling and the photographs of Sergio Kurhajec reestablish headwear as a sophisticated choice for the adventurous woman. Don proves that a hat needn’t be a statement, instead it can be a flawless element of graceful confidence, speaking volumes without shouting.
In a recent editorial with Four Seasons Magazine, “The Shape of Things,” Don takes these fine art inspirations even further. Working with photographer Liz Von Hoene, he explores the inherent geometry of clothing and accessories. Like moving from Matisse to Mondrian, bold shapes and color build contrast in these almost graphic compositions. Soft movement has been traded for bold lines and solid juxtaposition, suffusing the images with clever complexity, proving Don Sumada’s proficiency with the widest range of creative endeavors.
Don Sumada Takes it Home
“E ‘Ike Hou Ia Lana’I,” the title of Don Sumada’s latest editorial for Four Seasons magazine, translates from Hawaiian into “To know Lana’i once again…” Offering a visual representation of natural grace, it references the Four Seasons Resort on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, one of the quieter Hawaiian islands, less populated by tourists.
It’s an apt title for Don, as this shoot was exactly that: knowing Lanai once again. He was born and raised in Hawaii, so he was right at home during the shoot. Don and the rest of the crew traveled all over the island, getting a taste of every environment the island has to offer, while make a stop over or two at his mom’s house. In fact, Don’s mom and her friends created all the leis worn in the editorial.
Don is known for his luxurious styling using rich fabrics and tones. The contrast between these incredibly sumptuous garments and the raw natural spaces adds an element of contradiction resulting in inviting looks with unfamiliar context. Donna Karan in the desert, Michael Kors on a dirt road, Salvator Ferragamo on a weathered wooden dock, Marc Jacobs with no shoes on a wet beach. Grace is injected into the lonely landscapes, like a surprise oasis of beauty.
Don Sumada highlights Michael Sam's confidence for People Magazine
When Jason Collins came out as gay on the cover of Sports Illustrated he became the first out player in an American Major League sport. It was a huge moment for the LGBT community, but they were still looking for a win. At the time Collins came out, he had already been playing in the NBA for more than a decade. He was an inside man. Drafted as closeted man, he came out after more than ten years of play, having proven himself on NBA courts in more than 700 games.
The real marker for the LGBT community would be when a league took an openly gay player in a draft. In early 2014 it looked like Michael Sam would be that player, as he was expected to be a third or fourth round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. But, after a disappointing Scouting Combine, his future was uncertain.
That period of uncertainty, before the draft, was the week that People Magazine shot him as a part of a feature on gay professional athletes. At the time of the photoshoot, Michael was not a professional athlete, just a celebrated college graduate with high hopes. Nothing was for sure. By the time the story ran there would be an answer, but on set they didn’t know.
Don Sumada was tasked with styling the NFL hopeful, without tying him to a particular team, and preparing for any possible outcome. As styling jobs go, it wasn’t difficult to source the apparel. When looking for clothes, Don said “Whoever I contacted said, ‘you can have whatever you want.’” Everyone knew who Michael was and wanted to be a part of the story. “As soon as I mentioned Michael Sam people overwhelmingly wanted to give me things.”
In the photos you can’t see the weight on his shoulders, carrying the hope of a community. “He was very friendly, wasn’t guarded at all,” says Don about working with Michael on set. But it was a charged set. They only had a few hours with Michael before he was whisked off to his next interview, and the following event, and the photoshoot following that. It was a frenzied week, all shadowed by the question: Would he be drafted?
To capture the moment, People and Don chose navy blue and blacks for a timeless, teamless look. B&A groomer, Sylvester Castellano, kept Michael looking untouched. We see a football player stripped down. Beyond the pads, beyond the uniform: just the vulnerable person. Confident, secure, but in the moment he was unsure.
Of course now we know Michael was drafted to the St Louis Rams. He was the 249th pick, which was later than originally anticipated, but an overwhelming relief after a trying few weeks. And it was a moment of victory for a whole community who had been marginalized in the arena of professional sports for generations. As the gates opened to Michael Sam they opened to people who had been left behind, forgotten, ignored, and sidelined. But as Michael gets suited up for his first game this Fall we all see that you will be judged on the your abilities and nothing else.
Tom Corbett and Disney Reach Across the stars for This Shattered World
On the heels of Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s wildly successful YA Novel, These Broken Stars, comes the second in the trilogy entitled This Shattered World. Two young adults, caught on opposite sides of a revolutionary war on another planet, find the promise of love inside one another despite the impossibility of their circumstances.
To match the amazing cover of These Broken Stars that Tom Corbett shot last year, Disney tapped him again to recapture the magic. Tom was tasked with capturing the intergalactic love conflict in a single image without giving anything about the highly anticipated plot away. What Disney and the authors decided on was an image of the two lead characters reaching towards one another while being hurdled through space, tossed off an exploding world. Thematically, it’s an elegant idea, but the execution required intense work.
Tom, his team, and the two models headed to a stunt facility in Williamsburg Brooklyn called Hollywood Stunts. The facility was fully outfitted with trampolines, jumping platforms, crash mats, and a handful of stunt instructors to keep everyone safe. After some careful experimentation, Tom and his team realized they would achieve the best results if they shot the models separately. “We had them jumping from a platform to a huge crash mat, jumping towards me,” Tom explains, which is neither easy nor safe without supervision. But, with some emotional direction by Tom, they were able to achieve a dynamic, three dimensional look as if both models were in movement together. “We got it in the end,” Tom recalls with a laugh.
The high-energy day was fun, but not easy on anyone. Tom says, “There were a lot of bumps and bruises on the day, it was a lot of fun, both models were real troopers.” At the end of it, it was all worth it. Especially with B&A artists Don Sumada styling and Gregg Hubbard on hair and make up, everyone wrapped up safe, sound, and looking out of this world.
Despite the energy and desperation with which the couple reaches towards one another, infused throughout is a feeling of high fashion. Tom is known for his spunky, energetic campaigns - a signature style unique to Tom. Recently, Photo District News caught up with Tom to catch some of that magic. The magazine is out now, where he describes "How I Got That Shot" going through the logistics, lighting, camera, and retouching process that complete his final looks. (You can see what results from that polished process with the Tom's newest Tissot ad campaign featuring Steve Stamkos.)
Retoucher: Eddie Caruso
Styler: Don Sumada
Hair & Makeup: Gregg Hubbard
Don Sumada ensures Laverne Cox fits perfectly on Time magazine
It’s easy to herald Laverne Cox’s cover on Time Magazine as a triumph for having the first transgender individual on the cover of such an iconic magazine, but doing so would minimize it. What Time Magazine has done is not just slap a celebrity from a popular show on their cover, but assume a cause célèbre. By putting Laverne on their cover they named the position of transgender Americans as American’s next civil rights frontier.
Our own Don Sumada got the chance to style Laverne for the Time cover shot by Peter Hapak, and be a part of this particular point in history. And everything happened very quickly. Don was called late on a Friday for the Monday morning shoot, but it wasn’t even a question for him. It was Laverne Cox on the cover of Time, so he said, “I’m definitely doing it.”
Time is a news magazine which means it’s their responsibility to stay on top of current events, and the cover can change at any moment. Any major event could steal the cover, but Laverne and Don knew that she was in the running for covering one of the most proto-American magazines in the country. They weren’t going to take it lightly. Don talks about their strategy for dressing Laverne by saying, “She loved very fitted dresses, sophisticated, showing her femininity and strength, and she gravitated towards the fitted dresses… She tried on about 8 of them.” They had to get it right.
When it comes to the gravity of the opportunity, it was easy for Don to leave the chaos of the dressing room behind. It’s a sobering thought and Don summed it up perfectly, “The time has come, it’s very brave and forward of [Time]… It’s about time these issues are the cover of magazine. On the mainstream cover.”
Inc. Unbuttons With Robert Maxwell and Partners & Spade
Inc. tapped Robert Maxwell to capture Partners & Spade, the creative-branding muscle for J.Crew, Target, Warby Parker, and Shinola, among others. "It was a smooth shoot," Maxwell recalled. "Both Andy [Spade] and Anthony [Sperduti] were affable guys who took direction well, and Anthony was already familiar with my work and had kind things to say. I was really flattered."
The photographer used a couple of different setups at Pier 59, each with simple lighting. "Inc. wanted the cover a little less buttoned-up and business-looking, which I tried to interpret through body language and the clothes we put the men in," Maxwell noted. "To achieve the right stance, it's give and take ... sometimes they did things on their own that I liked, and sometimes I told them, 'Move this, move that,' so it became a team effort." Other team members included B&A stylist Don Sumada and Gregg Hubbard for grooming.
Don Sumada Styles 'Deep Blue' Cover
B&A's Don Sumada styled the cover for "Deep Blue," New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Donnelly's latest young adult novel and the first book in Disney Publishing Worldwide's Waterfire Saga. The inaugural installment follows Serafina, "a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakening from a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil," according to a press release. "Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons her mother. Now, led only by shadowy visions, she must search for five other mermaids who are scattered across the oceans, seas, and freshwaters of the globe. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence."
Sumada, the art director, and the photographers discussed concepts ahead of the underwater shoot. "Because of the specifics, I knew we had to make the dress – and two, at that, in case we needed a backup," Sumada said. "There was some back and forth with sketches and swatches before the design was approved and we went ahead with the construction of the garment." The team rented a pair of incredibly detailed mermaid tails, which had to be taken into special consideration. "The dresses needed to fit over them and it all had to look 'real.' Getting the models into the tails – which were really heavy – was a bit difficult, but once everything came together, it looked amazing" – and helped create an attention-grabbing image.
"Deep Blue" (DPW, $17.99) hits bookstores May 6.
Sam Robinson's Latest Work: Nike, Rockefeller Center, Lufthansa, & More
Sam Robinson's latest projects include Nike's "We Own The Night" series, his inaugural commission for the sportswear giant. Set in his "second home, Barcelona, my passion for the city and brand resulted in a brilliant shoot that was fun for the whole team," he said. Lufthansa, another household name, turned to Robinson to lens its global advertisements. "Considered one of the most prestigious campaigns in Germany, it has been exciting to be part of their new identity from my first Lufthansa shoot back in 2012," he remarked.
Robinson, B&A stylist Don Sumada, and B&A hairstylist and makeup artist Gregg Hubbard partnered on a recent campaign for Rockefeller Center. "Working with them was an incredible experience from start to finish," said Miranda Langan, senior director at Tishman Speyer. "Not only are the three at the top of the game creatively, they are serious professionals who get the job – and get the job done." Robinson described the images as "designed to talk to New Yorkers about locations traditionally aimed at tourists." Sumada and Hubbard added they always love participating in an all-B&A crew.
Robinson was also the photographer behind British retailer New Look's "new look." He recalled: "They approached me to work alongside their in-house creative team and the incredible designers at & Smith to [contribute] to the rebrand of the fashion store." He helmed shoots in Cape Town, London and Scotland, featuring a trio of different collections and creating a new style for the High-Street chain.
Both Little Bird Clothing by Jools Oliver and The Fableists, makers of sustainable garments for children, asked Robinson to apply his expert eye to kidswear. His one-off collaboration with Little Bird has evolved into four shoots a year – "and a superb family effort from all parties." For The Fableists, he noted, "heading ... with a band of rebellious kids to take over a skate park perhaps isn't everyone's idea of fun," but the completed images come with Robinson's own guarantee that "all stylish kids across the globe will soon be wearing these clothes."
Tom Corbett Captures Teenage Love for Disney-Hyperion
Tom Corbett and Don Sumada collaborated with Disney-Hyperion on the cover for These Broken Stars, the first book in a forthcoming, young-adult science fiction trilogy. The plot follows Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen, lone survivors of a luxury spaceliner crash. Sumada's styling helps visualize the protagonists – the daughter of the richest man in the universe and an adolescent war hero – and Corbett's direction captures their desperate brand of teenage love. Makeup artist Gregg Hubbard rounded out the B&A crew.
Authors Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner called the cover perfect. Spooner told The Book Smugglers: "I think my favorite thing about it is that it's clearly both science fiction and romance. That's a hard thing to accomplish with one image. The way they're reaching for each other is so appropriate for the book, because they're the only survivors of their shipwreck – they have to rely on each other to survive." Kaufman added, "It's a haunting, slightly creepy and ultimately beautiful image, and that's definitely the experience Lilac and Tarver have on their unknown planet together."
These Broken Stars hits bookshelves December 10.
Cover designer: Whitney Manger
Summertime in Tom Corbett's 'Sun City'
"Bold, direct, colorful, and beautiful," Four Seasons magazine's design director Jaimey Easler said of Tom Corbett and Don Sumada's summer style editorial. "Tom's photos and Don's fashion direction shined a brilliant light on the fashion pages of our issue."
In them, the photographer and stylist take readers to "Sun City," where rich hues, billowing silhouettes, intricate prints, and eye-catching accessories are de rigueur. Closets contain silk Gucci gowns, wide-leg Suno pants, and laser-cut Thakoon dresses, worn with Kara by Kara Ross tribal necklaces and Ippolita Rock Candy Deco earrings – treats for celebrating the lavishness of the season.
Producer: Jean Herr
Retoucher: Eddie Caruso
Hair: Alberto Guzman at Ray Brown
Makeup: Janeiro at Art Department
Model: Helena Sopar at One Management
Tom Corbett Photographs Mavi Jeans' Fall Campaign
Tom Corbett captures the fall 2011 campaign for Mavi Jeans. The denim maker is the first Turkish fashion brand to go global. The fall campaign features young cool New Yorkers wearing Mavi Jeans around their homes and the city.
Corbett shot over three days in New York City. The idea was to capture the essence of the city without making the images appear like postcards. For the first two days he captured the models in lofts in uncomplicated and spontaneous situations from their own perspectives. Corbett spent the third day and final day of shooting in Soho, capturing models in Mavi's sophisticated line. Don Sumada styled the campaign while Liam Dunn did the hair and makeup. Steven Thomson of Bondi Advertising says that working with Corbett was "both a pleasure and a success," and that Corbett and his team were" professional, thorough and collaborative, with the results speaking for themselves."
Mavi Jeans' fall 2011 campaign is out now.
See more of Tom Corbett's photography here.
Client: Mavi Jeans
Agency: Bondi Advertising
Creative Director: Steven Thomson & Jonas Allen
Account Manager: Angus Thomson
Photographer: Tom Corbett
Stylist: Don Sumada
Hair & Makeup: Liam Dunn >