In an artful new campaign, Margaret Howell worked with photographer Jack Davison to find human life where it seems like there is none. In a bold choice which ends up paying off in spades, the campaign features no models, but just the clothes themselves.
The campaign was shot early in the lock-down period, when physical human contact was very difficult. But Howell used the opportunity to create a body of work which, though it features no human bodies, breathes with a human spirit.
I thought hard about how to shoot the Autumn Winter 2020 collection, given the Covid-19 restrictions. But knowing Jack’s work, I felt sure he would be in sympathy with my ideas and choice of location. I hope you enjoy the images as much as we did photographing them.
— Margaret Howell, Creative Director of Margaret Howell
The campaign was shot on the coast in Suffolk, England. Davison alternates between black-and-white and color film, the latter of which he impressively manages to make feel both muted and warm. He captures Howell’s pieces hanging on lines, on trees, wrapped around tide markers, softly blown by the wind.
The imagery feels both lonely and hopeful. The elements of human architecture make us aware of the lack of actual people, though we also recognize that clothing created for a human body suggests both a creator and a human – much like how inherent in art in general are identities and relationships, a creator, a subject, an audience. These individual pieces form part of a narrative. They are abstractly human shapes that point to a concretely human emotional content.
A fashion campaign with no models is a bold, potentially even dangerously contradictory choice – clothes are meant to be worn by people. Howell is obviously aware of this, and brilliantly uses this limitation to find profound moments of meaning. She seems to have chosen the perfect photographer for the job, and the campaign comes together beautifully.
Margaret Howell Creative Director | Margaret Howell Photographer | Jack Davison Location | Suffolk, UK