Jillian Clark Explores Paris Fashion Week with Lachlan Watson

Aug 8, 2019
Photographer Spotlight

Lachlan Watson is one of Hollywood's youngest non-binary stars, trailblazing the redefinition of gender in the arts. The up-and-coming Netflix star from The Chilling Adventure’s of Sabrina was invited to Paris Fashion Week this year to attend shows for Mugler, Kenzo, and Courreges.

The three fashion houses — known for reinventing personal identity by evolving gender expression — planned to dress Lachlan throughout fashion week. When Lachlan half-jokingly invited friend and Raleigh, North Carolina-based photographer Jillian Clark, the latter very seriously responded with a “yes.” The two teamed up to explore Paris, creating their own impromptu fashion shoots throughout the trip.

Along with experiencing Paris Fashion Week for the first time, Jillian had the goal of expanding her fashion promo material for larger clients. She utilized every element of their trip to create spontaneous documentary-style shots, cataloging their experience into a giant collection to choose from. Utilizing organic settings and the natural beauty of Paris, the shoots varied from indoor to outdoor, day to night, and candid to editorial. 

I helped Lachlan plan some around-town looks for photos, and in the hotel, which was super picturesque — the Hotel Coron de Beaumarchais. We really just went with the flow of things, stopping where the light was good in airports and on the street.

It was important to me to try to avoid extremely major landmarks for big photos like the Eiffel Tower, [a plan] which we stuck to. I knew even without all of that it would still have an overtly Parisian feel by default, but I wasn’t really prepared for everything to be so photogenic!

What was the creative process like?

We shot pretty much off and on all day every day when not just exploring for the sake of it. The creative process was a little stressful because at times we were in front of so many people. The instax shot of Lachlan with photographers wearing Mugler outside of the first show was taken in front of probably forty or forty-five street photographers. When I looked up from my cameras, I realized people were photographing me as well. That was super weird.

Were there any particular challenges and/or any pleasant surprises that you encountered in planning or execution?

Paris was intimidating to both of us at first — because of the language barrier mostly — but we also realized quickly that with our hair being so short and colorful, we stood out like sore thumbs. Laughed at and stared at, pointed at by strangers, sometimes even followed for blocks by Lachlan’s fans and being asked for photos. The first time that happened it was super surreal, and we both felt like we were on high alert on the way back to the hotel, but Lachlan handled it really gracefully.

What was your vision for this project? How does this reflect or represent your photographic style?

I wanted to show the spirit and truth in this experience, this young person’s first time in Paris and at PFW, a star on the rise, etc. I think the candid sort of open nature of the photos says a lot about my work and how I’m able to make a lot happen with just a few elements, which is easy in a city like Paris.

Talent: Lachlan Watson
Stylist: Zadrian Smith 
Designers worn by Lachlan/Shows attended: Mugler, Kenzo, Courreges.

For more of Jillian Clark's work, visit jillianclarkphoto.com.

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