Candice Lake is one of those girls who is hard not to love. She is beautiful, talented, funny,ambitious,smart, sweet but not sickeningly so and very much a girl’s girl. I always admire women who are driven , perhaps because it’s one of those things i never got my head around. Responsibility, Career … – Huh ? A stirring perpetual trip around the world and a closet full of dresses maybe but that other stuff never interested me much. Somehow though Candice has been able to find a way to have it all – travel and an exciting career, beautiful clothes and an inspiring creative outlet . She is one girl who makes me want to put my shoulder pads on á la Christina Applegate in Don’t Tell Mum The Babysitter’s Dead. I asked her a few questions.
Tanja Gacic: I love your blog the “Style Magnolia” and you have such a good eye when it comes to street style photos, not to mention your own incredible sartorial flair.Tell me what other things have you been working on?
Candice Lake: I have been in Australia shooting for Vogue.com UK and Vogue Australia, which has been amazing. Vogue.com UK asked me to shoot a diary of RAFW (which you in fact featured heavily in as the best dressed of the week!!!) It was a collation of images from the front row, backstage and behind the scenes. I also interviewed and shot portraits of 7 amazing Australian designers to introduce/ reintroduce them to the UK.
Vogue Australia have been super supportive of me throughout the years and I was SO honored when they asked me to join the team for Fashion week. I shot some portraits for them for the current age issue whilst we were in Paris for the shows and this came out the first day of fashion week, which was SUPER EXCITING as it is my first main fashion pictures published. Also whilst I was here I shot an 8 page piece for Vogue Australia which was amazing but terrifying as some shots we only had 5 minutes to do! In between all this I also look after Commercial and Strategy for Parisian fashion house Rue du Mail, which is who I was dressed in all week (lots of fluorescent yellows!) so life is quite busy at the moment.
TG: What was your first Fashion Week and what were you doing back then?
CL: This is my 10 year fashion week anniversary! I started modeling exactly 10 years ago at Australian fashion week. I remember being terrified by the entire industry and spent the entire week in the same carefully curated outfit all purchased from Sportsgirl (thank god there were no street style photographers back then.) I wore a white parachute mini skirt, a denim jacket and some impossibly high, bright pink heels (that my agent had bought for me and instructed me to walk up and down my hallway) for the entirety of the week. My first show was for Charlie Brown and I looked like a skinny little deer in headlights!
TG:You started off doing modeling and now you are on the other side of the lense- how have you found the experience different?
CL: I think modeling was an amazing vehicle to drive me towards photography. I had always wanted to go to art school when I was younger although was convinced this was a bad idea and somehow I ended up at Law School. A couple of years into it, I luckily fell into modeling and everything else went out the window. I met the most extraordinary people, experienced things I never would have had access to without modeling. It was an accelerated life lesson and it was a few years into it whilst in between shots on a shoot, as I had lights entwined around my body and I was standing precariously in a pool of water, I asked the photographer if I could possibly come with him on his next shoot to assist — I don’t think he could really say no at that point! That was how I began assisting fashion photographers and transitioned to the other side of the camera. Without modeling I would never have had these amazing opportunities in photography.
TG: You document fashion week and the hours are exhausting- how do you keep up your energy? You always look so radiant!
CL: Well funny you say this as I have just been in hospital with pneumonia for 8 days after RAFW! My doctor advised lots of rest, a no fly ban for 2 weeks and that I get an assistant. The hours associated with this job are really exhausting and there is lots of travel. Normally I try to take lots of vitamins, don’t drink champagne before dark and try to ensure I eat – although sometimes there is literally no time for that. An example of my day at RAFW: day starts at 7 am to ensure I arrive at the first show before everyone else to get street style shots of people arriving. I also try and pop backstage quickly before the show starts to get some shots of models for the Fashion week diary. I run back to my seat and after watching the show, I quickly interview the Vogue Australia team to get their fresh thoughts on the collection and then muscle my way backstage to get a quick interview with the designer. There are usually about 6 shows per day where I do this and in between this I shoot a few pages for the story I am doing for Vogue Australia. I will snap some street style in between running to the next show and try with all my might to track down elusive designers to set up shooting portraits. The last show usually finishes at about 930pm after which I go back to the hotel room to edit images and download/ transcribe the video interviews until 3am. Then I start all over again with less than 4 hours sleep. I really get off on the rush of it all and how inspiring everything is, which is what I think keeps my energy levels up but obviously it is not sustainable. So essentially my resolution is to obtain balance, ensuring I eat well and perhaps getting in an assistant who can transcribe copy!
TG: What do you find the most interesting thing about photographing street style?
CL: For me, street photography is an anthropological study. What inspires me about it is the diverse way subcultures express themselves and are heavily influenced by their social environments. So wherever you go, from Fashion week to out west, to NYC cool kids, Upper-East-Side women, Chelsea girls, the art crowd, girls in Shanghai… all these subcultures have diverse yet binding similarities that make them unique – and to experience and document that is pretty fascinating.
TG:When did you first fall in love with fashion? Were you a girly girl or a tomboy?
CL:When I was 17, I must have thought I was Bob Marley reincarnated as I was wearing woolen head scarfs and fisherman pants – clearly I had never heard of Karl Largerfeld or Marc Jacobs and fashion had never really been an important element in my life. It was only after a few years of modeling when I fell in love with fashion. I realized that everything associated with fashion was a powerful fantasy – the amazing thing was that with all these incredible elements of photography, styling, hair and makeup you could really be whoever you wanted. I began playing with these ideas and experimenting with photography and looking at artists like Cindy Sherman and Sophie Calle. It is interesting the way society still accepts most imagery as truth. I think what is so fascinating about fashion and photography, is the fantasy that we still believe and buy into, despite really knowing that it cannot be real and this is why I am still so in love with it.
TG: What were your highlights this fashion week?
CL:The venues of the shows were a photographers delight and Marc Vassalo’s shows were incredible – he is a seriously talented creative director. Sitting front row with the Vogue Australia team was a really amazing insight and experience; and having the opportunity to speak with the designers and then photograph them was wholly inspiring.
TG:What is the one lust item you’ve been coveting for a while?
CL:I have an ongoing lust affair with Cartier’s rose gold love bracelet (boyfriend -I’m a size 7!) and anything Celine or Alaia is hard to resist… I am beyond happy you can’t buy either on Net- a – Porter as that would be seriously dangerous for the credit card.