Spring in Reverse: Detailed Backs Take Center Stage


In his second installment of the Cut’s Out of the Box feature, Minneapolis-born photographer and artist Erik Madigan Heck revisits spring 2014 collections in reverse. By framing a series of richly decorated silhouettes from the back, Heck counters the common inclination to pass instant, face-value judgement on a designer’s proposition. He prompts viewers to rethink some of the season’s most ornate designs, taking advantage of details like the swing back on a Giambattista Valli coat, the sweeping train of Ann Demeulemeester’s velvet-flocked gown, and the arching zardosi collar on Thom Browne’s lace shift.

The high-contrast series strips back the third-dimension in favor of a painterly flatness, with perspective returning only in sporadic moments, as Heck comments reflectively on the studio sphere (Chanel’s paint swatch silk column trapped in a houndstooth corner perhaps, or Dolce & Gabbana’s jacquard smock casting a rare shadow). Extending his technicolor narrative beyond the garments, his artful manipulations of color-matched backdrops add a surreal detachment, in perfect alignment with the spring season’s unavoidably artistic obsession.

Market Editor and Stylist: Rebecca Ramsey; Set Designer: Andrea Huelse; Hair: Tiffany Patchett; Retouching: Andrew Bennett at Versatile Studios; Photo Assistant: Xi Sinsong; Studio: Jack Studios

Spring in Reverse: Backs Take Center Stage