Nicolas Moore on Vogue Arabia And Borderless Fashion
Nicolas Moore is no stranger to the infamous marbled halls of Vogue—in fact, he’s shot for many international renditions of the magazine, many times over. Vogue Arabia, however, is a whole new beast—delving into territory previously untouched by the empire that is Condé Nast, the magazine, with Editor-in-Chief Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz at its helm, is making Middle Eastern waves—one high fashion spread at a time.
We sat down with Moore for a quick chat prior to the first issue release (it’s since dropped—peep the Gigi Hadid cover here), and made sure to cover all the basics—including (but not limited to) Abdulaziz’s vision for the mag, Moore’s experience thus far, and the Middle Eastern luxury market that Vogue Arabia is about to tap into—and take by storm. Check out the full interview below.
How did you first get involved with Vogue Arabia?
They approached me. I’ve worked with Paul Cavaco for years. He was one of the first people to hire me when he was at Allure. He was involved with Vogue Arabia and suggested me to Vogue Arabia and that’s how I shot the story for the first issue.
It was interesting because I didn’t know much about the magazine, since it’s a launch. But I did have lunch with Deena, the Editor-in-Chief, when she was in town, and it was great to meet her and get her perspective and what she’s planning to do for the magazine. It’s very exciting.
So what was that conversation like? What is her vision for the magazine?
Well, one of the things we talked about specifically was, who is their reader? I think something that’s very important for a magazine, and even me as a photographer, is to know what their audience is, you know, when I’m doing casting, when I’m choosing a story idea and so forth. It’s obviously for a very chic woman—it’s for a Vogue reader—so there are certain parameters I guess, and culturally certain things that are acceptable and not acceptable, in terms of how much skin you can show, how sexy it can be, and what their woman is. We’re trying to cast a woman that fits their market, and those are challenges. Vogue has always been a chic magazine and I think that she definitely has a really clear and good vision of how the magazine should look. And I think she’s putting together a great team. Deena is extremely knowledgeable about fashion and fashion photography and wants it to be about creating beautiful images and not just about the clothes … as long as it’s for the right woman.
You touched on this already, but how is the entire process of shooting for an American magazine different from shooting for this magazine?
I would say the number one thing is casting; that’s been the hardest. The challenge is to make something that is uniquely Vogue Arabia and something that looks different from American Vogue, British Vogue, German Vogue for example.
Do you know how much of the magazine they’re shooting overseas, and how much is in the States?
I don’t know. I do know that they shot one story in Paris, but from what I’m guessing, all the shoots have been done here. I think it’s just based on the teams. Most foreign [Vogue] editions are shot here unless it’s for a specific location story.
What do you think the role of the magazine will be in the Middle Eastern publishing world and the international publishing world as a whole?
I would imagine—I would assume—that it will have a big impact. The Middle East certainly is a very big luxury market. The collection that we shot for the Fendi story was designed specifically for the Middle East, so I think that’s pretty interesting.
Do you think you’ll keep doing issues with them, or potentially go over there on location? Any plans for future issues?
I hope so; I’m hoping to have a good future with them. Deena is very collaborative. She said, “Please, any story ideas that inspire you, that’s what I want to hear.” At the moment, it’s fashion week, so I think that everything will be resuming in a month or so, for the new season. Also, as the first couple of issues start to roll out, it’ll start to have a rhythm and a pace. I certainly have ideas I want to shoot. I haven’t thought about shooting in the Middle East, but I’d love to go.
For you, personally, what’s your favorite kind of subject to shoot?
I enjoy shooting fashion and beauty, anything with people. It’s often really fun to shoot personalities because you never really know what you are going to get. It’s different from working with models but overall I like to shoot people. I don’t really care for still life or landscape. I don’t think I am very good at it.
If you had any assumptions or preconceptions going in, how did those compare to the reality of shooting for a Middle Eastern magazine? What did and didn’t surprise you?
Well, the first story we shot was late for the issue, and it was a bit difficult because it was a special Fendi fur collection which came from Europe. This made it difficult for the editor because he didn’t have the usual freedom of pulling looks from a large collection or from the showroom. As a result the story became more of a portrait story that had to be very cropped.
Have you shot for other Vogues?
Yeah, a lot of them but I would say this was the most different because of the casting.
Yeah, it really is so special and different, especially compared to other editions of Vogue.
Yes, and what appeals to me is that it’s something exotic.
Images courtesy of Nicolas Moore; Wardrobe Stylist: Paul Sinclaire; Post Production: Velem
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