Marko Kalfa's 2012 photo (left) & the Numéro Russia photo (right)
The Fashion Law Exclusive - Hey Tom, that spread you shot for Numéro Russia looks a bit familiar. I'm referring to the one starring supermodel Pat Cleveland and recurring Tom Ford face Conrad Bromfield (you may have caught him in the brand's Spring/Summer 2014 and Fall/Winter 2013 ad campaigns) clad in your Spring/Summer 2014 womenswear collection. Well, actually, Cleveland is. The editorial has been making the rounds online recently for its racy nature and its use of the iconic Cleveland, who first graced the pages of Vogue in 1966 and subsequently became the go-to model for Chloé, which was under the direction of Karl Lagerfeld at the time. And while we think the spread is undeniably beautiful (you can see it in its entirety here), we are interested in one shot in particular.
Since Andre Leon Talley took over the editor-at-large position at Numéro Russia about a year ago, he's been signing off on some boundary-pushing spreads for the mag, namely ones where he can "execute ideas that wouldn’t fly in an established American fashion magazine," he told WWD. No exception to this rule is an editorial for the magazine's March issue, for which he teamed up with Tom Ford and which is set to his newsstands on Friday.
So, what exactly is the issue here? Well, one particular image from the 14-page editorial feels familiar, and that's likely because NYC-based creative consultant and photographer Marko Kalfa, who has shot for Interview, Esquire, Fashionisto, Fiasco Homme, Fucking Young!, GQ, and Womens Wear Daily, among other publications, lensed a similar image in 2012 for an issue of B. Couleur, a Los Angeles-based luxury fashion magazine.
We caught up with Kalfa, who spoke about his 2012 shoot with Cleveland, saying: "I shot Ms. Cleveland at the Judith Leiber showroom in NYC. It was completely bare and very, very small. We had these amazing vintage dresses from designer Stephen Burrows. I did not want to do something typical and boring. So, I had to think on my feet as there was no clear art direction. On a whim, I asked my assistant Marcin, who was working with me that day (a former model), if he would strip down and pose with Pat and he obliged. I set them up very specifically and purposefully and there was a series of the images published for the magazine. I thought they were very sexy and fun and encompassed the spirit of 1970's fashion and what Pat and Stephen represented."
Kalfa says he has "mixed feelings about seeing the new images for Numéro." He continued on to say: "I have the utmost respect for Tom Ford as a designer and as a creative visionary. With that, I am not sure why they need to copy my image in such a blatant manner. As artists, we all tend to re-appropriate images and ideas from the past and find ways to them new again. This, however, crosses the line for me and I feel somewhat violated by it."
While we won't elaborate on the potential copyright issues now (keep an eye out for a follow up post), and there may or may not be some, in terms of the content and composition of the two photos, we welcome your thoughts on the two photos. Are they just too similar or is Ford's version original enough?