Iconic Foxton images taken from FTape article.
I had to leave London on Wednesday for a couple of days to pay my respects to my old nan who passed away at the tender age of ninety five. The outside world unfortunately didn't stop with me and I missed out the chance to be shot by the Sartorialist as part of a Burberry promotion (there should be further opportunities if I follow the flow chart) along with the opening of Simon Foxton's When you're a boy exhibition at the Photographer's Gallery (fortunately Susie did and she has confirmed what I thought, it is amazing!). The exhibition celebrates men in fashion and is the first exhibitions to focus on the work of a stylist as opposed to a photographer.
With a career spanning three decades, Foxton has built himself a reputation as a leading image-maker of men’s fashion; anticipating and defining key shifts in menswear design over this period. Foxton's interest in masculinity, ethnicity and sexuality are captured in images shot by photographers and longtime collaborators Alistair Mclellan, Nick Knight and Jason Evans.
After graduating from St. Martin's College of Art and Design in 1983, he set up his own design label, Bazooka. Foxton began styling for i-D in 1984, at a time when the visual language of fashion photography was still being established. Since then he has contributed to our favourite magazines including The Face, Arena, Arena Homme Plus, Vogue Hommes International, Details, W, GQ Style and Big Magazine. Without his work, the magazines that we know and love would certainly not be the same. Foxton evolved a highly recognisable and much emulated approach to creating fashion photography which balances a deep respect for traditional men’s fashion design with an injection of street culture, popular imagery and much needed humour. He is quite simply the quintessential menswear stylist, consistently progressing men’s fashion.
Although I missed out on the opening night, I did however get the chance to ask the great stylist a question, albeit through the wonderful Fred Butler. Fred asked for question contributions via her twitter and I made sure that I didn't miss my chance. The full interview can and should be read here but for now, here is the question I asked along with the answer:
"Ive read that you keep a box under your bed for inspiration containing tear outs from magazines. How do you formulate your ideas from these scraps?"
I can now confirm that this is the case. Simon doesn't believe in stacking up smelly old back issues and prefers to make a more considered and concise reference bank. If an image resonates with him, it winds up ripped out and glued in. These scrapbooks are a personal vehicle to consolidate his own vision, affirming his taste and form a reminder of ideas and direction. Curator Penny Martin got involved from trawling this primary starting point, all the way through to ordering the space at The Photographer's Gallery. The two of them rooted through the archive boxes and Penny assertively assisted Simon to weed out the cream of the crop for this first show. According to Simon there is a great more to be exhibited but it could not be accommodated this time.
Dazed Digital recently published a nice interview with Simon and included some amazing images of the stylists shed where his ideas are formulated. I need a shed just like this, the quality of blog posts would surely improve if I had my own inspiration filled hideway...