The Shapes In The Shadow

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MODELS MARC MASSA @ FUSION NY + EMILY MEULEMAN @ NEW YORK MODELS

HAIR & MAKEUP ANDREW LY @ AGENCE L'ELOI USING LA BIOSTHETIQUE

LOCATION IMPERIAL CINEMA, COURTESY OF MONIQUE BOISVERT @ MARCEL PRODUCTIONS

PHOTOGRAPHY, ART DIRECTION & FASHION SSENSE

Ruddy P Mix

Growing up in a small town in Virginia, Ruddy Javier Paniagua was always somewhat disconnected from the electronic music scene. After years spent trying to break into post-rock with a number of different self-made bands, Paniagua began experimenting with electronic production in a move that he says stemmed from a desire to “do everything himself.” After taking on the Ruddyp moniker in 2011, Paniagua earned early acclaim for his chopped-up rework of Destiny’s Child’s Say My Name, quickly establishing himself as one to watch. Ruddyp gained further notoriety thanks to a self-titled split-EP with XXYYXX which dropped in 2012, and later, a split release with BEAR//FACE that featured reworks of A$AP Rocky’s PMW (All I Need), and Long.Live.A$AP. His first solo EP is set for release later this year.

Ruddyp’s exclusive mix for SSENSE opens with a screwed version of A$AP Rocky’s Fashion Killa, before pulling in his own production, Maybe. The mix also features tracks from Rustie, XXYYXX, and Yung Satan, alongside remixes from Ryan Hemsworth and Deebs.

Tracklist

A$AP Rocky Fashion Killa (Screwed)

Ruddyp Maybe

Rustie Slasherr

Big Chocolate Silk Milk

Meek Mill Ft. Rick Ross Believe It

XXYYXX Witching Hour

Tinashe Boss (Ryan Hemsworth Remix)

Big Sean Ft. Common Switch Up

Birdman Ft. Lil Wayne & Drake Money To Blow (Deebs Bootleg)

Yung Satan Being Mine

Alex & Felix

The artists behind JUUN.J's neoprene sweaters and t's

When Seoul-based designer Juun J released a selection of neoprene sweaters printed with robotic portraits for Fall 12, they took on an almost immediate cult status. The portraits possessed an otherworldly sensibility; stoic female characters in exotic, surreal settings, half-hidden beneath discarded RedBull cans, detached zippers, hand warmers, or old toys. JUUN.J later released the images on a series of t-shirts available now at SSENSE (with more coming next week).

JUUN.J’s now-famous prints come from a larger photographic series created by Swiss duo Alex Gertschen and Felix Meier, better known simply as Alex and Felix. Dubbed 13 Queens, the photographs are created using staged shooting techniques, produced almost entirely without the use of digital alteration. We caught up with Alex and Felix to discuss the making of the 13 Queens, their collaboration with JUUN.J, and the significance behind each of the Queen’s objects.

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How did your creative partnership begin? Where did you meet?

We met at a party! We started to talk about photography, and after we showed each other our photography maps, and a lot of our work fit together very well. We worked on small projects together and eventually the partnership just happened.

How did the collaboration with JUUN.J come about?

He wrote me an email. We didn’t know his work before he contacted me, so we looked at his collections. We knew immediately it was going to be great – he has very much his own voice. Our aesthetics work well together, which is good because you never know how something like this will turn out. I would love to do something like this again.

So you’d work in fashion again?

Yes! Why not? We think that bridging art with other things is wonderful. Fashion especially…taking the paintings off the wall and putting them on the clothing you wear every day. Seeing the Queens in movement on the runway was amazing.

Tell us about your rejection of digital alteration.

We tried in the past to work with computers, but it’s a very different world for us. Staging the shoots means a lot of decisions need to be made on the spot, and we can’t go back and change it, so it’s more fun. Sitting in front of a computer, you have a lot of chances to change things.

What are you trying to say with your Queens?

Creating a story is always at the center of our photography. We like to create characters and take them on a journey – especially with the Queens, we searched every day for the objects we used, and each one told a different part of the story. They’re like identity cards.

What has been your biggest challenge in taking these staged photographs?

The biggest challenge is to actually realize our ideas. The first time we staged one of the Queens, she looked like a character out of Star Trek Enterprise or something. Even though the Queens are meant to be a bit funny, the Enterprise look was a bit too funny.

What was the main inspiration behind the Queens?

We loved the idea of portraiture, the very strong portraits you see in churches or in castles, even Russian or Greek religious icons, the Virgin Mary. We loved the serious nature of those portraits.

What’s the story behind the objects in, say, Queen Rocket’s portrait?

The main element in the Queen Rocket portrait is the RedBull can, which represents energy - it is essential to her character. There’s also an hourglass, which represents that the energy is “limited” - it is unstable. Queen Rocket’s biggest challenge is deciding how to spend her energy.

How did you decide which objects to include for each Queen?

Sometimes, we were very inspired by one object, like the RedBull can. When we saw it, we knew that we wanted to create an “Energy” Queen, and we built the image around that. Sometimes, we had come up with story first, and we had to find objects to match it. It was different for every Queen.

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