Resort 2014: Carine Roitfeld’s Romeo and Juliet
By Sarra Salib
It’s no news by now that Carine Roitfeld is the Global Fashion Director for Harper’s Bazaar, and for the Resort 2014 Collection, she interpreted the most famous of Shakespeare’s work, Romeo and Juliet. Carine was undoubtedly inspired by the fact that there were “three major productions of Romeo and Juliet debuting for fall.”
The first thing I noticed about the editorial was the diversity of the cast. Carine’s strong point is her cultural awareness and always diverse cast — she demonstrates time and time again that love has no boundaries and does not distinguish between races. We all know that the prevalent theme of Romeo and Juliet was the “ancient grudge” of the Capulets and the Montagues, but in the editorial, she clearly shows that we are one big family bounded by love. The models’ ethnicities range from Japanese, Angolan, Brazilian, to African American. This is a definite statement of rebuttal to the idea that if we come from different families or background, then we cannot be together.
For this Resort 2014 story, Harper’s Bazaar gave us a bonus backstage video, which are always not long enough, but some of the most fun things to watch because they give you a glimpse of the action it takes to create these images. I believe one of the questions the models were asked was what does love mean to them, which I dare say is a rather difficult question to answer. I noticed that several of the answers were along the lines of waiting — “You should wait for love,” “It’s better to wait for love.” This made me happy because it reminded me of one of my favorite songs by Radiohead, "True Love Waits." In fact, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to it.
I found it ironic that one of Adriana Lima’s statements was “I don’t think you have to sacrifice much for love,” when in fact, the most important motif of Romeo and Juliet is sacrifice. But is that not what love is? It’s to sacrifice something — or in today’s terminology, to compromise — in order to be with the other person, in order to make it last for however long both parties want it to. It’s equivalent to saying “I would do anything for you,” or more befitting for Romeo and Juliet, “I would die for you.”
In terms of the editorial, kudos to Carine Roitfeld for modernizing Shakespeare’s tragedy; however, it did fail to capture the essence of Romeo and Juliet — the insurmountable passion, the “violent delights,” and the love that will have you comparing the object of your affection to the sun. Unfortunately, the passion is clearly missing here — the Juliets seem rather indifferent to their Romeos. I believe the backstage video reveals much more passion, understandably. Several moving images and voices will paint truer colors than one still shot could ever portray.
My favorite shot of the editorial is the one featuring the Dutch beauty Stef Van Der Laan and Phillip Witts. Their shot has the most natural chemistry, and it evokes the idea of being truly in love. Moreover, Witts’ Saint Laurent leather pants are what we call a statement. The opening image of the editorial featuring Adriana Lima and Tyson Ritter is also one of my favorites. Lima looks like the classic image of Juliet we all imagine when we think of Juliet — beautiful, innocent, yet knowing. In fact, she very much resembles Olivia Hussey in that shot. Ritter looked rather familiar to me, so I conducted a simple search and learned that he is indeed the lead singer of The All-American Rejects. I do not listen to them, but I am not surprised that Carine chose him to be one of the Romeos, because he does have the most beautiful cheekbones.
All in all, does the editorial make me immediately think of Romeo and Juliet when I see it? No. But it does convey a much more important message that love has no boundaries. I hope no one has to wait much for their true love, and most of all, I hope no one reading is out of love.
Carine Roitfeld Romeo and Juliet images © 2013 Hearst Communications, Inc. Other images courtesy of deviantart.com All Rights Reserved.