Lurve has shown itself to be an intriguing publication in the few issues that it has brought out since its inception. Although it offers a very specific and serious vision of fashion it is one of those titles that frequently operates on the more experimental edges of fashion publishing and is more than open to a little free-form creativity.
In it’s new issue we are offered a prime example of this in the form of the fashion story ‘My Mad Bad Dad’ shot by Tyrone Lebon and styled by Max Pearmain. Since the model is a certain Andy Pearmain, it seems reasonable to assume that he’s Max’s dad of the title.
It’s a quirky little oddity. Actually a menswear fashion shoot profiling a mix of brands such as Versace and Louis Vuitton and leading sportswear brands, one would never suspect it at first glance. Rather we are offered idiosyncratic images of eccentricity that we associate with a particularly English trope. A typically English suburban street, the familiar red pillar postbox and knobbly knees on skinny pale legs sticking out from under shorts… All the iconography adds up to the perennial nightmare every English child that a seriously uncool parent will turn up out of the blue and prove the source of unending social embarrassment. Together with eschewing pretty waif model boys in favour of one’s character model dad and the use of Little England locations, it’s a strange mix of the territory of Maritin Parr’s documentary photographs of a quintessentially bland British life and tacky English seaside caricatures, here envisaged as a vision of fashion.
Yet it’s not a singular narrative. Mr Pearmain senior certainly brings a fresh sense of strong character into a manifestation that we do not usually associate with men’s fashion. Yet, despite his birdlike appearance and po-faced humourous poses, he is not presented as either a joke or a hero. Far less mad or bad than the title insists, we are actually offered up some very intimate and human images over the course of the story. Their fleeting impressionistic nature is emphasized by the art direction that makes use of devices such as turning them into objects – by for example showing the sprockets of the film on which they are captured- that engender them with the power of a prized memento. This sense of time, of some treasured old photograph slowly aging under the limitations of its own chemical composition, is also somehow connected with the palette that evokes the strange colour changes to which 1970’s Kodakcolor prints were prone.
Dad, that age-old threat of being shown up in public, is not so bad that he needs to be forgotten and in turn, one suspects that Mr Pearmain might be proud of his boy.