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16-08-2007
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Elle Muliarchyk - Photographer
I was just watching a profile on Fashion Television about her and thought she was fascinating.

Little blurb about her from SHOWstudio.
Quote:
Dear Addicts of Showstudio,


I was born in Belarus (famous for it's "emperor" Lukashenko). I grew up in Vietnam, Prague, San Francisco and New York.


I came to NYC to become a supermodel I enjoyed every second of it until I realized that even though modeling opens the doors for me to a gigantic world it didn‚��t allow me to express my own creativity and sense for beauty. It was so frustrating that I had to be a perfect mannequin, never complain about the choice of clothes or make-up but never suggest or advice anything of my own, since it would be ‚��unprofessional‚��.


But I found my own revenge on this situation, and a way to let out the frustration, a painfully obsessive hobby. I started sneaking into the most exclusive posh designers‚�� boutiques all over the world and taking pictures of myself wearing the most expensive dresses. I transform the dressing room into a studio or a movie set with the equipment and props that I carry in my bag. It is a scary project that keeps my heart racing to the edge of a hear-attack, because I often get discovered, kicked out or arrested. Even though I really try NOT to get caught!


It‚��s understandable of a sales person to be shocked when discovering me lying on the floor in a $10.000 dress next to a 6-feet tall stuffed Panda bear or a giant King Kong hand, while the walls of the dressing room are covered with back drops and posters, lights sticking out from the corners and a camera on a tripod pointing at me!


Doing this I become my own photographer, model, art director, make up artist and hair stylist. I can be whoever I desire at that moment ‚�� a movie star, a Vamp, a Seductress‚�¶., and own those outrageously unaffordable clothes for a few moments, never having to pay for it!
I love it that I can explore myself doing this and have a great laugh with my friends about the crazy stories that I get myself into.

*showstudio.com

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16-08-2007
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*showstudio.com

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18-08-2007
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i like the mirror images but there is something about the framing that looks a little off to me..
which makes sense after reading about her style of photography--doing everything in a public fitting room without being discovered must surely be a challenge--especially when you have to point the camera at yourself and sort of just estimate at where you will be in the frame..

thanks for bring this is jesse

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25-03-2008
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I believe she's the best thing that has happend to the fashion photo in a very long time.

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25-03-2008
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http://youtube.com/watch?v=OAcHyDLgmwY
http://youtube.com/watch?v=KtAJY4spSVw

Two interesting Elle-features.

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25-03-2008
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25-03-2008
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NYT article:

Pretty Larceny
By ZARAH CRAWFORD
Published: August 27, 2006

Strawberry-blond, standing six feet tall in battered leather boots and wearing a scrap of vintage negligee as a day dress, Elle Muliarchyk strides down West Broadway as if it’s a catwalk, impervious to the fact that all eyes are upon her. An international model, she’s used to being looked at. She’s on her way to case out a SoHo boutique where the clothes are overbeaded and overpriced — a style the Belarus-born Muliarchyk describes, in heavily accented English, as “Eastern European mafia mistress.”

When she reaches her destination, her eye is immediately drawn to a small evening bag confected from diamantť and fur that brings to mind a bejeweled merkin. “Cute!” she coos, in Russian, for the benefit of the hovering sales staff. (The daughter of a diplomat and a linguist, Muliarchyk is fluent in five languages.) Satisfied that, beyond these few formidable women, the store appears to have no security, she heads to the changing rooms. Ideally, there will be some distance from the sales counter, with curtains that pull completely across so that no one can see into the cubicle. Her criteria met, she resolves to return later — by herself. Muliarchyk always works alone.

She’s been evicted — occasionally under threat of arrest — from high-fashion boutiques around the world, but she’s not a shoplifter or a copyist. Elle Muliarchyk is an artist, and what she steals are fashion moments. The settings in which she chooses to stage her oddly beautiful, solitary performances are luxury changing rooms. And while some have compared her quirky oeuvre to Cindy Sherman’s stills and to Vanessa Beecroft’s performances, Muliarchyk is a true original. Her images (to be on display from Aug. 30 to Sept. 10 at Via Bus Stop, the downtown boutique) are a compelling and eccentric cocktail of cheek and chic, narcissism and vulnerability. And they have already earned her, at just 21, a high-profile fan base that includes the photographer Terry Richardson, who says, “Elle’s work is absurd, funny, passionate and slightly obsessive.”

When she first photographed herself in a changing room, she wasn’t thinking of it as art. “I was in London, trying on a beautiful designer dress that I couldn’t afford,” she says later, drawing on the first of many “social” Marlboro Lights. “I had my camera with me. And taking a photograph was like owning the dress.”

She attributes her urge to pose in borrowed finery partly to the aesthetic deprivations of her childhood in Belarus, where — despite glasnost — soap and toilet paper (not couture) were covetable luxuries. “I was tall for my age and chubby, so I couldn’t find clothes. For years, I owned only two dresses: one was my school uniform. My feet, also, were big. One winter, my middle-school teacher, a woman in her 60’s, had to give me a pair of her old shoes. They were so ugly, but I wore them until they fell apart.”

When she was 12, Muliarchyk and her family relocated to the Czech Republic, a consumer’s paradise by comparison. She lost weight and started to experiment with clothes and makeup. By 14, she was named a Miss Czech Republic finalist. Fashion, she says, “became my means of self-expression and my armor.” But the more she tried to capture its transformative power in her work, the more she became interested in that highly ambivalent space, the dressing room.

It can be a cubicle without a lock, a space that’s not public but not exactly private, either. Here, we strip both physically and emotionally, trying on clothes as well as personae. And while we hope for a metamorphosis — into someone thinner, sexier, richer, different — harsh lighting and awkward angles too often force us to confront the nauseous schism between fantasy and reality.

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25-03-2008
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continuing:

In “Alone HermŤs,” Muliarchyk lies curled in a fetal position, thousands of dollars of silk ruched haphazardly at her hips. It takes a few moments for the viewer to realize that the tripanel mirror has splintered her reflection into a subtle scissoring of legs, hair and elbows.

Fittingly, Muliarchyk says, she was knocked semi-unconscious just seconds after capturing this image when a sales assistant opened the door to see if she needed another size. Momentarily dazed, she managed to quickly hide her digital camera and tripod, explaining her prone position to the shocked saleswoman by saying that she’d lost a contact.

As her artistic vision has grown, so has her daring. “It’s a game I play,” she says. “I’m always pushing myself to go further.” Since incorporating props into her work, she has smuggled bizarre objects into some of the ritziest changing rooms, including a potted orchid, a World War II gas mask, an oversize teddy bear, a huge rubber fish and, on one memorable occasion, a gigantic, hairy and unnervingly realistic gorilla’s paw that she brazenly carried into Jill Stuart, New York, to explore the nexus between upmarket evening wear and the taboo of interspecies lust.

“I told the sales assistant it was an antique quilt,” Muliarchyk says. “My heart was beating very fast as I unwrapped it because the paper crackled so loud. I knew I only had a few seconds to get the shot.” “Smitten Jill Stuart,” the image she captured of herself that afternoon, kneeling in a tiny changing room beside a massive primate’s paw, is the gorgeous and hilarious result of such audacity.

“She’s continuously challenging herself,” says the legendary French lensman Patrick Demarchelier, another of Muliarchyk’s admirers — and also, incidentally, the man who shot her first high-fashion pictures after discovering her in a SoHo cafe. “Her ability to draw inspiration, in a very limited time frame, is amazing.”

As in the work of Beecroft — who often uses models in the staging of her performances, their power arising from the spectators’ discomfort at finding themselves reluctant voyeurs in a room full of beautiful, seminaked women — there are overtones of voyeurism in Muliarchyk’s work: spying on women as they change is a classic adolescent sexual fantasy. But her performances, at least at the moment they are unfolding, are only for herself ... and the mirror.

The unabashed narcissism inherent in her work is a key to its charm. Looking through her collected imagery, one is struck by the fact that there is not a photograph in which she doesn’t look beautiful. “That’s because I choose them,” she says with a laugh. “No, I’ve thought about this, and I think it goes back to being a model. All day you’re prodded, posed and styled to fit other people’s visions. When I’m in a change room, I’m taking back control.”

Since the young artist’s original encounter with her muse, vestiges of her performances now hang in permanent collections around the world: “The dresses I use are very expensive, and the wealthy women who buy them probably only wear them once or twice, then forget them. But when I photograph a dress, I give it a secret story, another life.” She laughs. “I like to think about those pieces of me hanging in the darkness of other women’s closets.”

http://www.nytimes.com

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25-03-2008
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25-03-2008
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Planetfabulon, showstudio

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25-03-2008
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Showstudio

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13-04-2008
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thanks teza! I just watched the fashiontv segment on her and her shots are gorgeous!

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04-02-2009
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models.com

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16-10-2009
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there are some cool interviews of her here:

http://www.seelike.me/search/muliarchyk

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27-07-2012
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Kate Upton by Elle Muliarchyk | Interview Russia August 2012 HQs
hair: Oribe
make-up: Chiho



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