As a whole, this digital fashion month has been pretty (understandably) underwhelming, with a few exceptions where designers got exceedingly creative or did something that made us smile. One of these was Saks Potts, which did something, well, very cool for its Spring 2021 lookbook.
Shot by photographer Joséphine Lochen, the images were made to look like paparazzi photos, complete with watermarks. And they’re Khloe-Kardashian-dressing-up-as-Kris-Jenner-level convincing — only instead of Jenner, the lookbook’s main model, Laura Bergh, is a dead ringer for the late, beloved style icon Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. (In some of the pictures, the blonde beauty is even seen canoodling with a handsome John F. Kennedy Jr. lookalike, backwards baseball cap, dad sneakers and all.) Though it was shot in the Danish countryside, the lookbook’s backdrop could easily stand in for Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard. Then, the styling recalls Bessette Kennedy’s well-documented aesthetic, down to the oval-shaped sunglasses, the headscarves and the long coats.
Of course, Bessette Kennedy’s signature look embodied that easy, late-’90s minimalism that feels so desirable right now. Thanks to Instagram (and the account @carolynbessette, in particular) the paparazzi photos of her and Kennedy Jr. living out their east-coast love story are still easy to recall. The entire Fashionista team immediately saw the resemblance — although, strangely, the Saks Potts team did not mention her as a point of inspiration. The brand told Vogue that the images were meant to evoke “a Danish family on summer holiday,” which, sure. (A rep for the Saks Potts didn’t immediately answer our question about whether Besette Kennedy served as a reference.)
As for the collection itself, designers Barbara Potts and Catherine Saks told Vogue‘s Brooke Bobb they aimed to incorporate more of the very quarantine-appropriate Danish concept of hygge into Spring 2021, resulting in more relaxed, easy pieces. They also described this line as more grown-up than past outings, given that they, themselves have aged and matured.
This lookbook is but the latest example of a fashion brand staging a paparazzi-inspired photo shoot. In 2017, Kanye West hired his very paparazzi-friendly wife Kim Kardashian West to be photographed in his Yeezy Season 6 designs while pretending to go about everyday errands, like running to McDonald’s and FedEx. The Yeezy team repeated this formula with a slew of Insta-celebrities including Paris Hilton donning their best KKW drag and going about similar activities not long after.
Around the same time that Yeezy dropped mock-paparazzi shoot number two, Balenciaga came out with a paparazzi-inspired campaign of its own. Demna Gvasalia tapped frequent collaborator Lotta Volkova to style models like Stella Tenant and Alek Wek in appropriately unpolished looks for a photographer from Agence Bestimage, a French version of Getty Images.
This burgeoning trend begets a couple of questions. First, whose mock-paparazzi shoot was the most realistic? Personally, I’m partial to Saks Potts’s version, due to the models playing so unaware that they’re being photographed (aside from that one bird-flipping shot), too distracted by the fun they’re having. And second, with fashion magazines dying out and brands shifting their marketing dollars from glossy campaign shoots to social media, is this another indication that fantastical, editorialized fashion imagery is on its way out for good?
See the full Saks Potts Spring 2021 lookbook in the gallery below.