The inspiration wall in my office After deciding to put the Push Girls in space, we debated the merits of harnesses and rigging vs photoshop. I pinned this photoshopped image on my inspiration board to show the kind of weightlessness I wanted to convey Another photoshopped zero gravity shot, I pinned as a reference Initially, I looked at pulling really on-the-nose space outfits like this one from Armani Prive’s SS 2013 collection I fell in love with this Craig Lawrence “bio-luminescent” dress. I met the British designer at a pop-up showroom in L.A. last year. When I tried to call in this dress, his agent said samples weren’t available due to “unforeseen circumstances.” From there I moved on to Jane Fonda in Barbarella as an inspiration, definitely for hair and make up. I wanted a ’60s spin on our futuristic space women. Yes, part Barbaralla and part Bond Girl. This was the hair and makeup I had in mind…. I also played with the idea of ’60s airline hostesses, who had to be model-perfect back then (or risk getting fired). It was totally sexist, but I wanted to take it back and own the sex appeal for our space warrior Push Girls I even found a couple spring/summer ’13 Michael Kors looks that fit the bill, but… in the end, I decided not to parallel that ’60s exploitation of women in the friendly skies… though I did dig these Pucci helmets from the Braniff days. Next we needed to decide on the visual aesthetics of what our version of space would look like (Xanadu? or Kubrick’s 2001?), and as we began to story board it, our photographer Michael Rodriguez (aka Comrade) suggested an opening shot of the Push Girls in stasis. I loved the idea and immediately began pinning images to my board, like this one from Alien Comrade’s rough (rough) first sketches of the stasis tanks I began choosing looks for each girl for the stasis tank shot. If you check out the final shots, you can see that we shuffled the looks around a bit. The Mathieu Mirano rainbow paillette gown (top left) ended up on Tiphany Adams, we decided not to use the Alberta Ferretti water-y mermaid gown (middle top) at all, and the Etro butterfly cocoon dress (top right) was worn by Mia Schaikewitz. This futuristic goddess/priestess gown by Rick Owens wasn’t available, much to my dismay. I had wanted all the Push Girls to wear long flowy- dresses in the opening stasis shot. Try as I may to stalk the woman who reps Falguni and Shane Peacock, I was unable to pull this cosmic dress. It appears the designers may be between reps. I thought it would’ve looked ethereal floating in the stasis tanks. We pulled tons of Erickson Beamon pieces but these space-age earrings were not available at the L.A. showroom. same with this Erickson Beamon cuff Holographic platform booties pinned on my inspiration board. The Mathieu Mirano dress Tiphany wears in the opener. Angela Rockwood wears this Farrah Angsana while in stasis. Auti Angel rocks this Nicole Miller ensemble during her trek to space The Etro dress worn by Mia Schaikewitz during stasis shot Comrade’s initial sketch of one of the Push Girls landing on the asteroid (asteroid not shown yet). We chose Push Girl Auti Angel for the job, not knowing she had already volunteered for the mission. Barbarella’s helmet was an inspiration for Auti’s version. Of all the Falguni and Shane Peacock pieces I tried to get, this was the one I wanted the most. This is what I envisioned Ms Auti Angel wearing when she landed on that asteroid. This Herve Leger was a nice alternative to the unattainable space suit. Sadly, it too was unavailable. Such is the nature with samples. I was able to score the top of this outfit, but the skirt was out on loan to another mag, but you’ll see this jacket in the shoot paired with some sexy silk and beaded leggings Next, we moved into the mission control room, where we chose Push Girl Mia Schaikewitz as our Captain Kirk. This initial rough sketch by Comrade gave us an idea of scale. Naturally, I pulled some Star Trek images for inspiration for our command center Another Star Trek set, this would inform the command center as well as the stasis room This was the outfit from Burberry I saw Mia wearing at command central. Unfortunately, the rep missed the Fed Ex drop off and this futuristic ensemble never made it across the country from N.Y. Initially, Mia was to wear these Tom Binn earrings with the Burberry dress, but since it didn’t arrive, I used them in another shot— Auti wears them while securing the bomb on the asteroid. Another option for Mia was this Christian Dior dress. but I found out why it was unavailable for our shoot, a week later I spotted Emma Stone in it on the cover of Vanity Fair. I would have paired the dress with this Erickson Beamon bib necklace, which too was unavailable. These United Nude sandals would’ve completed Mia’s look… This is the truly space-age 3D-paillette Fendi dress Mia wears in the final version of her in the command center. The dress was covered in one-inch long bead and sequin antennae-like paillettes. For the last spread, shown on these initial sketches by Comrade, the left-hand page would show Tiphany floating in space while she detonated the explosive device and on the right-hand facing page, we’d see Angela’s satisfied expression and the asteroid exploding reflected on the spacecraft’s window. In the initial sketch Angela’s stick figure expression looks more horrified. Our editor in chief Mary Melton pointed it out, saying, “wait, they DO save Earth, right?” Yes, of course! We’d make sure to convey that. But that “uh-oh” line drawing face cracked me up more than a few times. Sadly, this Mary Katranzou gown didn’t make it into the shoot (the dresses in this collection are based on old money— literally, dresses printed with the images of defunct currency). Initially I saw Tiphany floating in space in it while she detonated the bomb. Something about it reminded me of the Endeavor space shuttle. Another Falguni and Shane Peacock number I pinned to my board. I thought Tiphany could wear this in the floating in space shot, or it could’ve worked for the stasis shot but this gown never manifested This was the Christian Dior dress Tiphany wound up wearing in the detonation shot. Her waist is so tiny it got lost in the tent-style dress, so she added own flair to it and belted it with one of the layers of fabric. I pulled this holographic top from Hugo Boss as an option for Angela’s last shot. She would only be seen from the elbows up, and I think the cut of the shoulders and the shiny fabric give the shirt a futuristic, authoritative-military vibe. Angela could have rocked this Falguni and Shane Peacock as she peered from the spacecraft window too, smirking at their success, but…I just couldn’t get my hands on it. Had I been able to, I might have paired it with this Tom Binns necklace This was the Etro dress that Angela wears in the final shot of the style spread. It looks like a disco ball with little planets and moons orbiting it. I knew I wanted this dress to appear in the shoot somewhere. It looked great on Angela, shining in the light of the asteroid explosion.
Who are the Push Girls? The
Push Girls are about to launch the second season of their critically acclaimed docu-drama on the Sundance Channel in June. The show follows three paraplegic women and one quadriplegic woman living in L.A. as they battle misconceptions about paraplegia and quadriplegia and navigate the day-to-day challenges many of us all face. The show has gotten rave reviews and won some celeb fans, among them Ellen De Generes (who called a “fabulous show and an important show, because everyone should be represented”) and snarksmith Perez Hilton, who lauded the girls on his Push Girls blog. But to truly understand what Push Girls is about, check out this teaser clip from their show.
We were thrilled when they agreed to model for our May issue fashion feature, but we had a lot of decisions to make: What would they be doing and wearing? We wanted to get their input, so
Los Angeles photo editor Amy Feitelberg and I met the Push Girls after they wrapped an episode at Santa Monica beach. It was freezing, and seven of us piled into a mini-van to hash out concepts. I had a one word concept in my mind: space. In space everyone is subject to the same laws of gravity, no one walks. To find out how the fashion feature’s storyline grew from there, check out the behind-the scenes video taken during our photo shoot. Next, click through the final fashion spreads that appear in our May issue, on newsstands now.
Finally, you can click through the slide show above to see the evolution of the shoot. These are the images I tacked to the giant corkboard in my office—from initial sketches to inspirations, hair and make up looks, and outtakes of some of the out-of-this-world clothing and accessories you won’t see in the final images.