Sara Cooper Puts Designer Apparel in a New Context for Hunger TV
Runway shows are just that: shows. The clothes are real, the girls are real, but everything else is a construction of an idea that is intentionally unrealistic. For Stylist Sara Cooper, that’s great, but it’s not the way the clothes should be presented when the show is over. “I think showing head to toe runway looks, like $5000 dresses, the way they’re shown on the runway isn’t that interesting,” she says. She loves clothes like that, but she likes to put them in a different context.
Her latest work for Hunger TV with Nick Thompson follows that point of view. For their story, The Wanderer, Sara used pieces from Peter Pilotto, Peter Som, and 3.1 Phillip Lim. To the average reader, a feathered dress paired with adidas Stan Smith sneakers is a bold, aggressive style choice. But to Sara, it’s just the way she sees things. She doesn’t have a bone to pick, it comes about naturally. “It just sort of happens,” she says. “I try to really feel it out and respond to the girl, and the background, obviously the hair and make up, but the girl a lot.” Responding to the clothes, the model, and the surroundings she’s able to create looks that are fresh for her, and certainly for us. “I try to bring high fashion stuff down to earth,” she explains.
The photographer Nick Thompson is from London and was really into using New York City as the background. But this isn’t the nighttime shot on Fifth Avenue with steam billowing from a manhole and the Empire State Building in the background. This is the New York inside parking garages, in front of electric regulators, in a cab riding past vast apartment buildings. This is the New York known only to New Yorkers. Sara and Nick were going for something that the inducted would recognize because they wanted it to be realistic. “A model off duty type of vibe,” she says.
What Sara has brought to this is a new way to look at designer apparel in a way that is uniquely her take. "I’m not really drawn to anything too serious," she says. But the way she's allowed us to rethink what designer clothes are is pretty serious.