“Instagram! It all started with Instagram!” explains the Brussels-based photographer Luca Mastroianni. Transforming the average selfie into a high fashion world of wonder, Luca’s unexpected career as a jet setting fashion photographer all began when he started documenting his outfits on the gram. “One day, I decided to create a background on Photoshop to deepen the aesthetic of my photos and make them more interesting,” Luca tells It’s Nice That. “That is when I realised I could create a multitude of compositions with almost no resources thanks to Photoshop.”
For the Belgian photographer, digital art has no limit. Pushing his visual aesthetic with every image, photography has become a vehicle of discovery and experimentation for Luca; who incidentally, is also studying graphic design presently. With fashion at the heart of Luca’s work, last year, he posted a photo of himself wearing a pair of Gentle Monster sunglasses. In turn, the Gentle Monster team came upon the striking image and before he knew it, Luca was on a plane to Tokyo a year later to create a new campaign launching the first children’s collection of the designer sunglasses.
And now this is the part of the story where the the eight-year-old style icon Coco Pink Princess comes in. With nearly 700k followers on instagram, the Harajuku fashionista is beloved all over the world for her unique (and absolutely fantastic) sense of style with bags on sass to accompany each model-esque pose. “I was really excited to photograph her as she’s already a little star,” says Luca. “I’m sure I was more impressed with her than she was with me."
Applying his ethereal vision of moody skies, fluffy animals and haute couture to the new Gentle Monster campaign, Luca and Coco make a heavenly creative duo. Though the photographer was “a bit worried” at first as he’s “not really comfortable with kids”, Coco’s professionalism shined through and the shoot was swimmingly harmonious. Luca goes on to tell It’s Nice That, “She’s really patient even though she had to remain in the same pose for a long time to get the right shot.”
The concept for the campaign behind the new kids line stemmed from Luca’s past work where he duplicates himself. “I created something inspired by a child’s imagination and around Coco and her fake twin” says the photographer. “Something soft, dreamy with flowers and cute animals. The work of Mark Ryden was the perfect inspiration for this project, especially for the colour scheme. Ruud Van Empel was also on my mood board.” Also influenced by myriad styles of painting, surrealism, fantasy and the likes of Pierre et Gilles, David Lachapelle and James Bidgood; Luca’s artistic output is a resultant mix of all these weird and wonderful things. Not to mention his graphic design education also comes in handy with the framing of his painterly works.
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