We’re very excited to publish the shoot ‘Visions of Johanna’, featuring an interview with its model and creative director, Margot Des Alysés.
‘Visions of Johanna’, shot by Russian / Italian portrait photographer Ekaterina Ignatova, was inspired by the 1966 Bob Dylan song of the same name and revolves around the theme of the pure, ethereal feminine. Shot in a converted monastery and featuring a series of dreamy, detailed Valentino and Blumarine gowns in dusky pinks and creams, Margot shines as a pensive muse.
Margot’s modelling and creative direction has been featured in shoots worldwide, including Dark Beauty Magazine, The Forest Magazine, self-control magazine and Revoltzine Argentina. Keep reading for an inspiring and insightful interview with this young talent!
Q: How did your modelling career begin?
A: I started to pose without a precise knowledge of what I wanted to become: I posed for passion, and to stay in touch with the art world. There was no great ambition on my part, nothing planned.
But slowly I realized how much I wanted to take this passion of mine to a more professional level, and fortunately it came to be: even though I did not have agencies or agents pushing me, I started working on very interesting international projects and I did not stop!
Q: What drew you to branch out and become a creative director?
A: One day I realized that my imagination is really very big: I’ve always been an extremely creative person, since I was a child. I painted on anything, I wrote poems, novels, songs, I had a strong imagination…a dreamer side, I would say. I understood in this case that I could use my creativity also in photography, not just as a model, but creating myself the idea behind it, following the whole organization.
At first I was not bold, I did not want to put my name in the credits as a creative director, even if I felt tempted to do so. Then I realized that I had to expose myself more and without fear.
In the next point I will explain better what I’m talking about.
Q: What attracts you to a project?
A: Every project must have a meaning for me, and I have to feel really passionate about what I am doing. At the same time, photography is a highly skilled activity: it is the basis of a perfect yield, or at least it is the premise. I usually divide my projects in broad lines into: editorial and commercial.
In the editorials, I have a greater freedom of expression, I imagine a story that fascinates me, I choose inspirational photos to refer to people who will work with me, I imagine and organize everything, in detail, sometimes maybe in a maniacal way, but this could be because of my Swiss side :)
If I work for a client, for instance, if I’m developing a catalog or campaign or social project for a designer or a brand, what I’m trying to do is first discuss with the manager as much as possible, understand exactly what they need, and from there I develop and I present my idea: it is approved or changes are made. Then we move on to the actual organizational phase: booking date, location, photographer, team, etc.
The work does not end and does not start on the day of the shooting, as it begins much earlier, it also ends some time later: after the vision and choice of shots, we move on to post-production. I have to make sure that everything works well, that everyone has worked well, because if it is a success or a failure, the client will perceive it mainly as my merit or my fault.
In both cases, whether it is a project for a magazine or a brand, it is not always easy to choose the right photographer for a specific project, because everyone has a precise style and depends a lot on the interpretation and the impression you want to give to the series. So my job is to discuss and deal with all the team’s figures, the photographer, the magazine, and the client/designer. Quite complicated but actually very nice and pleasant for me. I do not know if there is someone else who does all these things together, but it is not heavy and in fact, it satisfies me a lot.
Q: Please tell us more about the editorial ‘Visions of Johanna’?
A: In this series that I have sent exclusively for you, I went wild, in particular: I had always dreamed of shooting in this hotel, which was once an old monastery: as soon as I had the opportunity I put this story on, inspired by the purity and beauty of this woman whom I imagined and that I would have to interpret, in the nicer corners of this enchanted place.
I decided to tie the hair in a hairstyle that reminds at first sight the braids but they are something more: they are knots, and it is something more particular, which gradually melted and gave me a more angelic air.
I chose the clothes, as well as makeup: I remember everything, before shooting and that same day, we did not have all day but I was super organized and I had a precise mental lineup on what to do and how. I have to thank Ekaterina Ignatova so much for having participated and believed in this project, as well as having shot it in a magnificent way.
Q: Who would be your dream designer or photographer to work with?
A: Paolo Roversi: I am absolutely in love with his photographs, which blend art, poetry and dream together. Regarding the designers, I recently read two books on the history of fashion, and I feel even more similar to the femininity and preciousness of the Christian Dior clothes and style. I would really enjoy working with Miu Miu, it would excite me for Blumarine…it would honor me for Valentino.
I already work with an Italian designer that I adore, Vladimiro Gioia; he is modern, extravagant, but always in total good taste and elegance. He makes my dream creations! You’ll hear more about him: and will make you fall in love.. I hope there too in Australia.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring models?
A: My advice to girls who want to work in fashion and/or photography is to have principles and keep their heads on their shoulders, their feet on the ground. Dreaming is good, but with awareness and keeping one’s values.
It is a world that requires great professionalism, not all are predisposed, and there is much more effort than one might think externally. Work days can stretch up to 12 hours, and everything can end up very quickly: lightning careers. One more piece of advice to give you some cachet: do not do it just for money, or thinking of enriching yourself. However, if it’s really your dream, do not give up on the first disappointments. Persist with your strength and determination!
Cecile is a writer from Brisbane, Australia. She writes and edits at The Creative Issue and hoards vintage clothing – follow her adventures on Instagram at @saintcecile.