FQ chats to NZ-born street style photographer, Dan Roberts, to get the inside scoop on his favourite fashion week moments:
What is your connection to New Zealand?
I’m a New Zealander, I grew up in Devonport, Auckland. I worked in the New Zealand fashion industry for five years before deciding I needed to go international and make something within the industry that was my own. Even though I’m now involved in the international side of the industry, I try and stay in touch with New Zealand and the work of so many talented designers.
Can you tell us one or two of your favourite Fashion Week or NZFW memories?
Last season seeing Kanye for an intermit show at Foundation Louis Vuitton, which was designed by Frank Gehry. During my first season, it was getting taxis between shows with Tommy Ton and Scott Schuman, two guys I’d been aspiring towards for years. Getting into crazy situations with model Hanne Gaby Odiele, like lying in the middle of the road with her so we could get the car headlights to reflect off the reflector one-piece she was wearing… Ahh, there are so many – it’s hard to just name a few.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at NZFW this year and why?
I’m really looking forward to seeing what the New Generation has to offer. Seeing new designers can be so raw and refreshing. Also, I’ve worn Zambesi since I first realised clothes might be more than just something that you got as dirty as possible before Mum or Dad put the washing on – so I’m looking forward to a studio visit with them and to their show.
What are the worst fashion week faux-pas you’ve witnessed?
Well, from my side of things: photographers getting in fights with cops, photographers getting in fights with each other! Rookies asking Anna Dello Russo what her name is, what she does and what she’s wearing. Wardrobe malfunctions that left me with photos unsavoury for the likes of Instagram.
Speaking of faux-pas, what’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done in front of someone you look up to?
Winter in New York a few seasons ago and a few of us were photographing models Marine Deleeuw and Manon Leloup. They were walking down a little side street, it was snowing perfectly and there were nice trees overhead… It was beautiful. But as it turns out, running backwards in snow trying to frame a photo and keeping your footing is quite hard. I slipped and fell pretty hard into a pile of snow in front of everyone. That was quite embarrassing, but admittedly not actually the last time I’ve fallen in front of models, editors and photographers.
What’s one item of clothing that you’ll be repping at multiple shows this NZFW – or will you be looking fresh top-to-toe at every single one?
At the moment I’m wearing a lot of Acne Studios, APC and ami Paris mixed with some streetwear, bottomed out with white sneakers and a healthy serving of ginger on top. Fresh, top to toe, at every show!
Whose style inspires you?
For the women it would be designer/stylist Gilda Ambrosia, she just gets better and better every season. Gilda has a way of mixing luxury and street like no one else. For the men it would be fashion editor Simone Monguzzi. The Milanese must be onto something because again, he mixes luxury and streetwear seamlessly.
What does your fashion week survival kit consist of?
Honestly, I wouldn’t survive without Tommy Ton [Style.com photographer] and Phil Oh [Vogue.com photographer]. Tommy pushes me and has been a huge help to me from the get go. We work really closely together and I guess you’d say he’s my mentor. Then Phil is there to help me not take it too seriously when times are stressful, or to find a bar at the end of the month in Paris that’s playing old school hip hop. We all have a lot of fun together! Survival crew.
What would you consider the highlight of your career so far?
Working with Vogue Paris. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I wake up on the other side of the world and my slideshow from the day before has just gone live and is on the home page. I pinch myself, then grab a cup of coffee before running off to the first show of the day. Vogue Paris has really pushed me to refine my own style and to curate a collection of images each day that tells a story.
What’s something that would eclipse that?
I’ve got a few things in the works that have the potential to eclipse working with the likes of Vogue Paris. But I’ll leave that for a surprise; you’ll have to keep watching this space. Let’s say that I’m only just getting warmed up!