“There’s nothing quite like it – weeks of preparation for fifteen minutes of beautiful, elegant theatre – a moving gallery piece, a graceful veneer over the absolute chaos backstage. And it happens every season,” says Kensington Leverne.
In his new photo zine Powerful Morning Energy Volume.2, Leverne gets an intimate look behind the scenes at London Fashion Week. The black-and-white images find the quiet moments before the shows begin – models idling in changing areas, stylists tending to costumes, catwalks being prepped for expectant audiences.
Leverne, who studied Contemporary Photography at University for the Creative Arts in Rochester, fell into backstage photography as a seventeen-year-old, while on work experience with a production company. He admits his skills as a production runner left much to be desired, but constantly took pictures on set.
Through cultural osmosis, we’ve become more than familiar with the artful tailoring and impossibly beautiful models that showcase these events. Leverne pulls back the curtain to show the industry in its most testing moments, with 5am call times, 2am finishes and a lot of coffee.
As he explains, “these images are as much about the places as the fashion. Brands stage their shows in beautiful and extravagant spaces around London but the backstage areas aren’t client facing.
“This makes them fascinating. Cables dangling, lights flickering – models often having their make-up and hair done in kitchens, stuffed into tiny hotel rooms or the back office of a Mayfair gallery. It’s hot. There’s hair spray everywhere, and maybe a Helmut Newton print on the wall. Fashion week is exhausting, often aggravating, sometimes upsetting, and always beautiful – not quite like anything else.”
Find more of Kensington’s work here.