a beau­ti­ful mind

New York-based photographer, cu­ra­tor, model and muse to Gucci’s Alessan­dro Michele, Pe­tra Collins has cap­tured the hearts of the art and fash­ion worlds with her unique style and colour­ful ex­plo­rations of fem­i­nin­ity. With a new book, Com­ing Of Age, out thi

ELLE (Australia) - - Contents -

Ac­claimed photographer and Gucci muse Pe­tra Collins lets us in­side her in­spi­ra­tional world.

AS A TEENAGER, I WAS AL­WAYS FIG­UR­ING OUT A WAY TO REDE­FINE FEM­I­NIN­ITY.

A big part of that was us­ing clas­sic im­agery to cre­ate and sub­vert new im­agery. I’ve al­ways been fas­ci­nated with what we think and what we see as fem­i­nine. It’s some­thing that’s fluid, un­de­fined and mul­ti­di­men­sional. It’s not just some­thing pink or makeup or one body type. So, for me, it’s al­most kind of noth­ing and ev­ery­thing at once.

I DID BAL­LET FROM A YOUNG AGE

and I was al­ways ob­sessed with cos­tumes and how they moved. That’s sort of bled into my real life where I re­ally look for things that are fun and ex­pres­sive. The cloth­ing my sub­jects wear is very im­por­tant – it dic­tates how the whole im­age is per­ceived.

I RE­ALLY LOVE THE AES­THETIC OF ’70S DISCO.

It’s not so ap­par­ent in most of my pho­tos, but with Gucci for sure. Alessan­dro ref­er­ences the Stu­dio 54 era a lot, but he mixes it with re­nais­sance, ev­ery­thing at once. I love liv­ing through im­ages and I’m also fas­ci­nated by colour and move­ment, and that sort of time pe­riod for me has al­ways been the strong­est – it was so colour­ful and bright and there were so many things go­ing on. A big part of the ’70s was the rain­bow mo­tif, too, which I re­ally love.

I FIRST MET ALESSAN­DRO AT HIS STU­DIO

when I went for a run­way fit­ting. It was crazy – I got thrust into his world. It’s so beau­ti­ful walk­ing into that room with the fab­rics and the colours and all th­ese shoes and se­quins. Right away I was like, “We’re go­ing to get along!” We spoke the same lan­guage – not lit­er­ally, he’s ob­vi­ously Ital­ian! – but we have a lot of sim­i­lar ref­er­ences and love tak­ing from every era and mak­ing some­thing new.

THE MORE I CAN DO IN DIF­FER­ENT WAYS THE MORE I LEARN,

and the bet­ter ev­ery­thing I do gets. That’s how I felt in school. I de­cided to study crit­i­cism and cu­ra­to­rial prac­tice in­stead of pho­tog­ra­phy be­cause strength­en­ing my mind is more im­por­tant than just study­ing how to take pho­tos.

I KEEP MY APART­MENT VERY CLEAN AND WHITE.

I have some pho­tos hang­ing on the wall, but oth­er­wise I don’t stick to any aes­thetic. I like to have a blank slate where I can just think and cre­ate new things.

I HAVE THIS AMAZ­ING WHITE SILK VIN­TAGE COW­BOY SHIRT

with rhine­stones that I wear with my Levi’s. I buy a lot of vin­tage pieces from Stella Dal­las and L Train Vin­tage [in New York]. I love dressing com­fort­ably, so I’m a real hoodie per­son. My favourite one is from a friend who found it in Chi­na­town – just a New York tourist hoodie. I wear it every day and ev­ery­where. Pe­tra Collins: Com­ing Of Age ($57, Riz­zoli) is out this month

Jeans, $445, Re/done, my­chameleon.com.au Sun­glasses, $210, Ray-ban, ray-ban.com

Jacket, $3,935, Gucci, gucci.com/au

Shoes, $2,580, Gucci, gucci.com/au

Belt, $932, Gucci, gucci.com/au

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