Saturday 17 April 2010
Dylan Jones: 'Being too cool for school is no longer cool – it just makes you seem like an overgrown schoolkid'
Everyone knows Todd Selby. Actually that's not true at all as only everyone in the industry knows Todd Selby. The magazine business, that is, the sharp end. Or at least the end that likes to think it's sharp, the end that wallows in the new and the oddball and the counter-intuitive and the annoyingly edgy.
Not that Todd Selby is annoyingly edgy. Anything but. Starting out as primarily a fashion photographer – working for hardy perennials such as American Vogue, New York Magazine and Vogue Hommes International – for the past few years Selby has been taking portraits of "dynamic and creative" people (Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Louboutin and Helena Christensen as well as dozens of people neither you nor I have ever heard of) in their home or work environments in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Tokyo and Sydney (Godalming is for some reason not featured) and posting them on his website, building up a huge archive of quite extraordinary material in the process.
Selby's photographs have just been published in a gloriously old-fashioned coffee-table book called The Selby is in Your Place (Abrams, £22.50).
The Wallpaper* aesthetic suddenly feels very old-fashioned, as though the modernist/retro/ minimalist/irritating Scandinavian airport look has just been appropriated by Primark. And being too cool for school is no longer cool – it just makes you seem like an overgrown schoolkid.
No, eclecticism is the order of the hour, and Selby's book celebrates that with great fanfare. Townhouses, lofts and Laurel Canyon cottages all display a bric-a-brac quality, one that looks deceptively easy to copy but would probably be incredibly difficult to emulate.
Some of my favourite images are those of Lagerfeld's studio, in which he has piles (and piles) of horizontally stacked books, making his workplace look like a bookshop designed by Andreas Gursky.
Not only would I be happy to move into Karl's atelier tomorrow, I'd be happy to move into most of the homes in Selby's book – although what I'd really like is to have my house featured in the sequel.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'
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