The spring fashion photo spread inside this week's New York, featuring Elle Fanning and photographed by artist Will Cotton, is full of dresses you could wear or eat. Cotton has been using candy in his artwork “as a metaphor for pure pleasure, for something that doesn’t exist for anything but pleasure” since the late nineties. For this project, Cotton, who describes himself as a “three-desserts-a-day kind of person,” used spring looks that had caught the eye of New York’s fashion director Amy Larocca, as well as a few that tickled his own fancy. He then reworked them using real materials whenever possible — cake, frosting, meringue, and homemade rock candy. “If your eye is looking at, say, a scoop of ice cream that is actually mashed potatoes, I find you just kind of know,” he says. Some already-confectionary garments, like a Marchesa dress that “looked like a super-fluffy coconut cake,” he merely contextualized. But then there’s the Derek Lam dress re-created entirely out of candy wrappers, and Chanel necklaces out of hard candies and gum balls. He took an “almost perfect” Erdem dress and retraced the embroidery in frosting. A white leather Reed Krakoff bag he garnished by stuffing a cake into it. As for his muse, Fanning, Cotton says, “I just felt like she got it. I don’t think any of it struck her as ridiculous,” and it was her idea to start eating the Fendi bag made of candy dots. When the shoot was over, she sent a handwritten note thanking Cotton for “a sweet weekend.” And signed off: “Desserts conquer all.” Watch a behind-the-scenes video from our shoot with Cotton and Fanning above.
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