Kareem Black's Luxe Mob for Steve Madden
Photographer Kareem Black and a trio of models passed an afternoon in Manhattan's Lower East Side and Chinatown for Steve Madden's back-to-school promos. Dubbed "Luxe Mob," the shoot was inspired by Rihanna's Instagram account, @badgalriri, and her online posse.
"The clique has moved from the lunch table to Instagram," Khalym Schell, the shoe brand's digital creative director and the project's stylist, remarked. "Usually when I work with Kareem, it's documentary-style; he catches the girls during in-between moments and the images are candid. But for this, we specifically wanted the girls to mug for the camera, and it was more like the camera served as an iPhone."
Black said the models were quick to pick up on the whole Rihanna/Rita Ora/Cara Delevingne je ne sais quoi. "As soon as I started explaining it to them, they knew exactly what was up, so they didn't need a ton of direction," he noted. "I think that those three are such a key part of the popular culture for girls that age – not so much for me, even though I love looking at them – so everyone was on the same page."
For Schell, the final images are a study in poppy millennials and how they communicate. "They're bright and busy, and looking at them, it does that thing to your brain that you experience when you're looking at Instagram," she said. "Plus, the color of Kareem's film is so good."
Stylist: Khalym Schell