Vanity Fair Italia: Behind the Scenes with Creative Director, Devin Pedzwater

Vanity Fair Italia: Behind the Scenes with Creative Director, Devin Pedzwater
In the editorial world, September is a big month for fashion spreads and this September is no exception. Vanity Fair Italia's recent fashion issue features a special collaboration with film director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, The Neon Demon) that features a 40+ page story featuring today's top Italian actresses. We spoke with Devin Pedzwater, Creative Director of Vanity Fair Italia, about the collaboration and how this story came to print.

Read on for Devin's answers and to see some spreads from the story after the jump!



SPD: Tell us about Vanity Fair Italia's latest fashion issue.

Devin Pedzwater: We collaborated with visionary director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, The Neon Demon) to photograph a unique feature for the first of four September issues (we're weekly!). The concept was for Nicolas to create an extra chapter of The Neon Demon - his recently acclaimed psychological horror film, a dark journey through the cruel, beauty-obsessed world of fashion. As a setting we moved into a (probably already haunted) villa just outside Rome for four days and invited eighteen young Italian actresses to play the roles. The result is a 44-page cinematic fashion spread with top designers like Prada, Chanel and Gucci. 


SPD: What was the collaboration process with Nicolas Winding Refn on the "Night at the Villa" story like?

DP: For me, it was the first time working with a film director in this context. And for Nicolas, it was the first time shooting an editorial story. Both of us were working in new creative territory which is why I think the result is so special. He brought with him a team of super-talented collaborators, including Natasha Braier, the director of photography on The Neon Demon and Joseph Bennett, a production artist who has designed all the fashion shows for Alexander McQueen. It was a thrill working with Nicolas because he has a strong vision, but also encouraged collaboration and creative problem solving. For example, we decided to shoot the cover image - a 4-page gatefold featuring thirteen actresses - in the villa's abandoned pool at night instead of relocating to a studio in Rome. The pool was a challenge to light and shoot, but it worked better to establish the overall theme. Nicolas was open to any any all ideas, but once he decided on a direction he was uncompromising on making certain the image was perfect. We were all on a creative high working through 18-hour days fueled by adrenaline and espresso so none of us wanted to stop.

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SPD: What's next for Vanity Fair Italia?

DP: Now I'm working on "Il Demone della Bellezza", an exhibition to be unveiled in Milan during fashion week which will feature special oversized prints of the images as well as a short film I developed with Nicolas and his team in Copenhagen. 


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