FAJO Photoshoot: Andy Warhol—stars of the silver screen

January 14, 2016

In late 2015, FAJO collaborated with the Toronto International Film Festival on a special creative project. This was a unique collaboration, as it was the first time a fashion photoshoot was conducted on-site at one of the TIFF exhibits. FAJO‘s team wanted to do something new too, so this is the first time a fashion editorial photoshoot is appearing as our cover story!

For this project, we collected clothing and jewelry by many renowned Canadian designers, and superimposed the editorial against the colourful and striking Andy Warhol exhibit. FAJO’s Features Editor, Julia Eskins, reports.

There’s something intriguing about the way Hollywood’s golden-age legends appear in their glamour shots. Even when they’re gazing down the barrel of a lens, the gauzy lighting makes classic celebrities appear god-like.

For Andy Warhol, these stars were icons worthy of devotion. Fittingly, stepping into the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen exhibit feels a bit like going to the pop artist’s church—it consists of idols and relics of the past.

The collaboration between the Andy Warhol Museum and TIFF features the Pittsburgh-born artist’s personal collection of Hollywood memorabilia and his own photography, drawings, films and screen prints.

Running until Jan. 24, the exhibit delves into Warhol’s celebrity obsession from early childhood to his death in 1987, and it portrays how this fascination was reflected in his work.

The photoshoot is on the cover of this month's The (Pop) Art Issue.

The photoshoot is on the cover of this month’s The (Pop) Art Issue.

Growing up in the gritty, industrial Pittsburgh of the 1930s, Warhol would escape the poverty of his surroundings by going to local cinemas with his brothers. His pastime of sending away for fan photos of celebrities is exemplified with an autographed photo of Shirley Temple from the 1940s, addressed to “Andrew Warhola,” his given name. Interestingly, Andy held onto this passion throughout his adulthood, as seen in a signed photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger from 1977.

The exhibit’s mirrors, silver displays and recreation of Warhol’s famous factory in New York City add to the raw atmosphere. According to TIFF’s director of exhibitions, Laurel MacMillan, the aesthetic was intentionally created to represent Warhol’s endless archives and his penchant for haphazardly collecting odds and ends. Among his prized possessions are a dress worn by Jean Harlow and a pair of Clark Gable’s shoes. As MacMillan reveals, the Toronto exhibit is only a slice of Warhol’s extensive collection of Hollywood souvenirs.

One of Warhol’s early drawings on display is his creation of the ultimate movie star, made by piecing together features of famous actresses. The artist’s fantasy muse had the lips of Sophia Loren, the eyes of Joan Crawford, the hairline of Greta Garbo and the cheeks and nose of Marlene Dietrich. Around the same time, Warhol would illustrate shoes for Harper’s Bazaar and ads for the I. Miller shoe company that would run in The New York Times.

The exhibit showcases a few of his later pieces too, including a triptych of screen prints of Ingrid Bergman from 1983 and a Liza Minnelli screen print from 1978. Of course, who could forget his films? Screens suspended from the ceiling play Warhol’s most famous movies such as Chelsea Girls and other 1960s’ classics. In the room that recreates Warhol’s famous factory, a retro television plays dozens of the artist’s three-minute screen tests featuring Jane Holzer, Edie Sedgwick and Susan Sontag.

Just as Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen offers a voyeuristic peak into life at the factory, it also showcases the core of who Warhol was: the biggest voyeur of them all. His fascination with fame and faces drove him to hobnob with the stars and become one of the most prolific artists of all time. In the end, Warhol became a celebrity himself, perhaps even more so than many of the stars he idolized. He got his 15 minutes of fame, and then some.

The exhibition runs until Jan.24, 2016. For details and tickets, click here.

Photoshoot gallery

Click on each photo to enlarge it.

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By Hannah Yakobi (concept) and Julia Eskins (story)
Art Direction by Marcus Kan
Photography by Aleyah Solomon
Stylist: Amalia Bentivoglio
Make-up Artist: Amy Pigeon
Hair: Chelsea Collinson
Models: Mary Jane and Rae (both from Elite Model Management Toronto)

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