In his seaside hometown of Brighton, England, 27-year-old photographer James Perolls captured spring fashion’s most vivid colors in a whimsical style reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.
With a box of our fashion editors’ favorite looks from the spring 2018 collections, Perolls had the freedom to photograph the clothing however he pleased. Model Elizabeth Yeoman wears a red leather Calvin Klein coat and billowy dresses by Adam Selman, Balenciaga, and more designers, standing on the same rocky beach where Perolls grew up playing with his father’s camera.
“A lot of the editorial work I create tends to revolve around the idea of an imaginary world with stories of adventure and exploration,” he says. “There is often a sense of innocence and magic with some slightly dark or humorous undertones. I like to arrange characters in a bright, playful world with a running theme of inquisitiveness and strength.”
Perolls also has a form of red-green color-blindness, severe deuteranopia, which prevents him from distinguishing certain colors from a few others. In his eyes, the pink Missoni dress above is pink or gray, and a blue Stella McCartney outfit is blue or purple. “I suppose with my photography, being colorblind has naturally helped me to create my own color aesthetic based on how I see things,” he says. “It’s all based on gut instinct and what I feel looks right, rather than any specific rules or color palettes. Only people that also suffer from severe deuteranopia will see [these photographs] exactly as I do.”
It was here, sitting on the sand three years ago, where Perolls decided to move to Berlin and become a full-time photographer. His return to the beach for this editorial was both a homecoming and an opportunity to explore feelings that any city transplant will recognize: the loneliness that we so often hide after moving to a bright new city.
“I wanted the model to appear calm and collected while harsh winds blew through the dresses, hair, and set design to represent psychological struggle,” he says. In one photo, even when the wind whips her white flag, her Dolce & Gabbana dress remains steadily in place. The reactive postures (balancing on rocks, holding her arms up to the wind) are meant to represent “pushing forward with courage and strength despite getting knocked back again and again,” Perolls says, just as this colorful clothing will push us toward spring.
This story has been revised since publication to include additional information.