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Sunday, May 5, 2013

High Fashion vs Glamour

I remember people used to boast this thing or that.  Appearing in magazines and not doing runway, or doing lots of runway and not doing magazines.  Being a swimsuit model though flunking the fashion prints, or trying to be everything at once expecting success in print + runway etc. etc.  I always thought that it would be extremely unlikely one could be the best at everything, or that people just kind of settle for less than optimal models for their business.

One obvious difference is between High Fashion vs Glamour.  Here's some info on the topic.

High vs Glamour

Favourite Internet Commentary About Topic:

"To a fashion photograher [photographer], glamour is another word for "get naked", to a glamour photographer, fashion is another word for cosplay (costume play). now to an art photographer, their [there] is no difference between fashion or glamor, but street life, or scenic landscapes are an other word for "pasted in backdrops " 

"Glamour is about the model/person at the expense of other items in the frame.
Fashion is about the clothing at the expense of other things in the frame.

You should not be able to look at a glamour image and have the first thought be... "that is a great pair of pants." And the oposite for a fashion shot... Have a shot about the pants and the model stands out."

  • High Fashion Is About The Showcase/Focus.  Glamour Is About The Model.
  • High is Vogue, Bazaar etc.  Glamour is Maxim.
  • There is a Functional Difference.  High Fashion is to establish functional acknowledgement without trying too hard for the sale.
  •  High Fashion = Couture Fashion.  Glamour = Eye Candy. (disagree a bit)
  • Regardless of the Distinctions Draw Upon All Art Itself
  • High Fashion Can Move To Glamour easier than Glamour to High Fashion
  • High Fashion Shapes Are Different Than Glamour Shapes
Table Summary 

1. What are the viewers supposed to think when they look at the photos?
“Oooh, Jimmy Choos”
“Oooh, boobs”
2. What is the model supposed to feel about the clothes they are wearing?
Feel good in them
Feel like they're lined with deep heat
3. How does the model bend her back?
Hunchback like the Huncback of Notre Dame
Arched back like a pole dancer
4. Model movements
5. Alright, let's not just focus on female models - what look do male models have to go for?
I’m hard
Hmmm, I’m hard
6. Those eyes
Icy cool
Smoking hot
7. What is the model doing with her fingers?
Reaching out elegantly
Giving them a little squeeze
8. Who's doing who?
Model looks like they want to have innappropriate relations with the camera. Bloke behind camera gets excited.
9. Model requirements
Height and slight
Open minded
10. In summary
The “f*ck yeah” look
The “f*ck me” look

I think the above table is a really good summary

Here are some answers from the Net (Ref 1. http://photo.net/portraits-and-fashion-photography-forum/00Pxmz) with my opinion thrown in.

Answer 1.  High Fashion Is About The Showcase/Focus.  Glamour Is About The Model.
"high fashion is about showing the clothing (or the setting, or atmosphere, or other showcased accessories, or hair, etc, to their best advantage)"

"Glamour is about the person doing the posing."

"While that doesn't speak in practical terms about the differences between one arm placement or chin position and the next, it dictates what it is that's important as lighting and posing is considered."

As with most any deliberate photographic process, it's all about being able to answer one question: "Why am I taking this picture?" It all trickles down from there. High fashion is about ... the fashion. Glamour is about (usually) the woman. 

It's simple enough, as one looks through the viewfinder, to ask: "Is the way the model is arching her back making the most of the dress, for the sake of the dress ... or is it making the most of her bust?" Not that those two things (so to speak) are mutually exclusive. 

But I can see how being vigilant about asking those questions throughout every moment of the shoot would be one of the things that differentiates a skilled fashion photographer from someone who is more green.


I often catch myself doing this.  While playing with photos, I noticed that I tried to flatter my avatar instead of finding the right shot to show off the article of interest.  For example, there is a certain angle because of the way I redid my face shape to accommodate light sourcing better that shows off an extreme angle (at about a 3/4 facial angle).  So I tweak the camera despite the fact that it shows off the focal point better.

That is why I shoot my alt, Theo.  He/she/it I have not invested nearly as much time or personal attachment to, so the shots will be a touch less biased.  

That said since I create all my own shapes, I still have a touch of bias.  Maybe I should try store shapes that I did not create.

Answer 2. High is Vogue, Bazaar etc.  Glamour is Maxim.

Look through issues of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar for examples of fashion poses. Look through Stuff and Maxim for examples of glamour poses. 

And keep in mind that America's Next Top Model is a "reality" show designed to entertain; it's not a realistic look at the world of fashion. About 95% of the girls who appear on that show wouldn't get a second look if they walked directly into a fashion agency.

Oh so true wrt the America's Next Top Model comment.  Here's some pictures from Vogue and Bazaar (I cheated a bit esp the Sofia Vergara one, but omg she's so awesome).





Answer 3. There is a Functional Difference.  High Fashion is to establish functional acknowledgement without trying too hard for the sale.
The difference is functional. A fashionista may want to keep fashion magazines on her coffee table, but she may also not want her significant other giving them a second, or even a first, glance. 
Likewise a dominant female can walk into a room and behave in a manner that instantly draws the attention of other women and establishes her social rank, without drawing the eye of a single heterosexual male. 
Women have to do this for essentially the same reason professional wrestlers go through a glare-grunt-and-groan performance that is obviously staged--to avoid putting each other in the hospital. Peck rights are negotiable and recreational, competition over males is a serious business.
I agree with the comments about Top Model above. Tyra has a forte for doing whatever is Bankable, and she goes all out to make her show persuasive. Watch the other professionals, particularly Twiggy and Paulina Porzikova. Their comments are usually restrained and quite vague, and they seem to be holding their noses.
Old models are referenced.  But I think the examples described are good.

Answer 4. High Fashion = Couture Fashion.  Glamour = Eye Candy. (Do Not Totally Agree)
Glamour is eye candy, and the girls often "make love" to the camera.
Commercial fashion has been described above, and can be seen in a Victoria Secrets catalog and the above mention magazines.
High Fashion, often now, refers to Couture Fashion-- the poses are unnatural and bizzare. They are often seen done by Benny Ninja on the show, and look like the Vogue dance moves from the 90's. None of the above magazine features these poses on a regular bases, but can oft be found in high end (e.g. Neiman Marcus) fashion retailer's catalogs, and of course promotional ads for such shows.
Not sure I totally agree with this.  High Fashion is high fashion.  We should not regard the bizarre and unnatural as Couture since overly "different" poses and pictures are just a different form of Glamour photos.  Both are trying to grab your attention in a totally obvious manner and deviate from the showcase itself.  Perhaps that is modern "Avant-Garde" shows are considered old school and dwindling in popularity.

Oh yes.  See this http://www.neimanmarcus.com/.

Answer 5. Regardless Of Distinctions Draw Upon All Art Itself
Absolutely agree with everything said here. Certainly TV is not a good place to go for inspiration. Try the library and the fabulous history of fine art portraiture represented in books by the great photographers. You may never get there, but those are the people to emulate. To say nothing of all the things to be learned from the great painters (e.g. the Flemish) and their way with light, bodies, expressions, etc. and especially COLOR!
To my mind, what goes for 'glamour' these days is usually more like what used to be called pinup or cheesecake photography. Worse yet, when it's awkwardly done (which is typical) it makes both models and photographers seem cheesy.
I really did try to hammer this concept.  Fashion and posing are art forms (I was amused by those who thought posing was simple and yes they tried to belittle my views but I usually let time prove me right).  Composition theory, light, colour, shapes and lines, spirals and thirds are all factors.  Even if I can't do it all, I know what should be included in a good piece.

Answer 6. High Fashion Can Move To Glamour easier than Glamour to High Fashion
My take is easy... Glamour - Rude, High fashion - Classy!
Another aspect is this... a high fashion model likely COULD move to glamour if they wanted to, the other way around is VERY unlikely. Even those with some level of fame at best got to host tv shows and never made it past the gate.

Answer 7. High Fashion Shapes Are Different Than Glamour Shapes
Also, High fashion requires a model to have a certain stature, typically, you don't see that in glamour. If the model is curvy it works in glamour, not so in high fashion.
So, apart from the posing aspect, the shapes that are struck, most glamour models wouldn't be able to replicate it due to their body shapes. (typically)
Look at the shots... feel the image, seeing the difference is relatively easy!
So true.  There are certain body types that work for different modelling gigs.  Tall, weird and skinny does not translate well to Glamour.  I carry a lot of shapes, because I know a different one will suit a different occasion.  Learning the nuances of shape modification is one of the most important, but overlooked skills.  Yes, you probably have my old discarded shape you copy-botters.  I tweak almost daily.