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Alex Prager’s New Short For Mercedes-Benz starring Dutch model Lara Stone (and shown further down in this post) is a bit Mary Poppins, a bit Wizard of Oz, heavy on the pretty and light on the concept. Given that it's one top model shilling for another, it may not matter. Both Lara Stone and the SL Roadster are nice to look at and the film shot by Alex Prager is compelling visually. I have no idea what it says about Mercedes Benz, but perhaps you will see something I don't.
Mercedes-Benz USA announces today the 2012 Fashion Collaboration starring the new SL Roadster with Lara Stone in Calvin Klein Collection, captured by Alex Prager.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz Icons of Style images by Alex Prager can be described as: A beautiful woman stands alone in the desert, suitcases in hand. Yet in this 21st century update on classic Film Noir, the blonde is her own getaway driver, outpacing a tornado in a sleek SL Roadster by Mercedes-Benz.
The American photographer and filmmaker, Alex Prager, is known for creating surreal and enigmatic movie moments inspired by Frederico Fellini and David Lynch. Yet in her versions - heady with mystery, lust and desire - the woman is in control.
Of her enigmatic images for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz Icons of Style, Alex Prager said she chose cinematic greats as her Icons of Style. "I constantly reference Fellini characters and Hitchcock as well," said Prager. Dutch supermodel, Lara Stone plays the update on the Hitchcock blonde, a strong protagonist who overcomes loneliness and fear. This inner strength is underscored by a timeless and elegant dress worn by Lara Stone and designed by Calvin Klein Collection's Women's Creative Director, Francisco Costa.
The SL Roadster featured in the latest Mercedes-Benz Icon of Style campaign, combines technical innovation with sleek sportiness and classic luxury and reinterprets the legendary Mercedes-Benz classic of the 1950s for today. Lara Stone commented, "It's an honor to work with Mercedes-Benz on a project like this.
Both Mercedes-Benz and Calvin Klein Collection brands represent great luxury and timeless elegance and it was a really unique experience."With a notoriety of creating images inspired by Fellini and Lynch, American photo and film artist Alex Prager, working alongside Creative Director Valentina Ilardi Martin, references the Wizard of Oz in the production of the A/W 2012 Mercedes-Benz Icon of Style.
But make no mistake, the femme fatale portrayed by Dutch supermodel Lara Stone is no Dorothy. This Hitchcock blonde is in complete command of herself, heady with mystery, dressed in Calvin Klein Collection, and aloof in the setting with the new Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster.
above: Lara Stone is dressed in Calvin Klein in the short film
In essence, this is the 1950s brought up to speed with today's look and pace: The luxury dynamism of the car and the timelessness of the fashion pieces designed by Calvin Klein Collection’s Women Creative Director Francisco Costa, all captured with a Hitchcock flair.
The short film:
The making of video:
Some production stills:
An interview with Alex Prager about the film:
Lara talks about the film:
Described by the director as “Mary Poppins meets The Wizard of Oz meets James Bond,” the fanciful short was shot in the dusty surrounds of Los Angeles. As well as conveying a sense of danger, Prager says her creation aimed to give “the impression that Lara is going somewhere interesting, off on a secret mission tucked away in those suitcases.” Known for her hyper-stylized, emotive work, the sought after young photographer and filmmaker was impressed by Stone's acting chops. “She was very on board with the whole tornado idea,” says Prager. “Being strapped into a harness with fans and rain blowing in all directions isn't the most fun thing to do, but she seemed to be enjoying herself and looking totally beautiful throughout.”
The star of campaigns for the likes of Givenchy and Jil Sander, Stone says she was more than happy to play opposite an automobile during her acting stint: “The difference about modeling with a car as opposed to with another model is that the car doesn’t talk back—which I quite like!”
The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Collaboration, Icons of Style, is making its US debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2012 from February 9-15, 2012. The 2012 Icons of Style key visual is the latest in a stunning series of outstanding visuals celebrating the unique combination of design and style that is Mercedes-Benz. Nick Knight has posed Julia Stegner in Gareth Pugh with the SLS AMG; Miles Aldridge photographed Milla Jovovich wearing a spectacular hat from Philip Treacy next to the Mercedes E-Class Convertible; Craig McDean and David James staged Karolina Kurkova next to the new CLS and last season, Terry Richardson captured Jessica Stam on the roof of the A-Class concept car.
Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster
above: unveiling the car on set
The designers have presented the most recent generation of SL icons in an unmistakable way, by combining a deep sense tradition with new perspectives and visions. The result is a stylish, sporty and elegant luxury sport's car with the classic, SL-typical well-balanced proportions: the long bonnet is followed by a compact passenger compartment and the wide, sleek rear perfects the look.
above: the other star of the film on location
Understated, artistically designed lines define the powerfully modelled yet smooth surfaces of its silhouette. Finely engineered details from the dynamic, traditional form repertoire of Mercedes-Benz visually underline the legend of the SL. From a technological perspective, the SL presents itself as a spectacular trendsetter. Manufactured almost completely from aluminium, it weighs a lot less than its predecessor. Innovations like the unique FrontBass system, which turns the SL into a concert hall, whether open or closed, or the adaptive MAGIC VISION CONTROL System are all pioneering developments with an eye to the future.
above: Alex Prager watching a playback on set
Self-taught Alex Prager from Los Angeles is a rising star in the photographer sky. On a visit to a William Egglestone exhibition, Alex Prager made the decision to start taking photos herself. Since then, the 32-year-old photographic artist and filmmaker has impressed with her unconventional photography at several solo and group exhibitions. Her productions are inspired by the style of the sixties, as well as by the films by great directors like Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch and Frederico Fellini. Alex Prager describes her photography as a documentation of a world that at the same time exists and yet does not exist. In addition to her well-received trilogy with the series "Polyester", "The Big Valley" and "Week-end", Alex Prager has also made a name for herself as a fashion photographer. Her "Lofty Ambitions" editorial featured in the September issue of US Vogue and she also shot the spring/summer 2011 campaign by Bottega Veneta with Karolina Kurkova.
The native Dutch model is currently top of the worldwide rankings on Models.com. Since her breakthrough in 2006 she has been the campaign face for top labels like Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Max Mara and Versace, has worked with star photographers including Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Craig McDean, Mario Sorrenti and Terry Richardson and has modelled on the catwalk for all major, international fashion houses. The gap between her two front teeth has become one of her trademark features.She is currently the face of Calvin Klein and has been linked to the brand for quite some time. French Vogue dedicated a whole issue to Lara Stone in February 2009, and fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld shot a short film with her.
Calvin Klein Collection's Francisco Costa
Francisco Costa is the critically acclaimed Women's Creative Director of Calvin Klein Collection. Mr. Costa assumed this role in 2003 after working directly with Calvin Klein and other top design houses of Gucci, Balmain Couture, and Oscar de la Renta. Mr. Costa's first collection for Calvin Klein Collection debuted for Spring 2004. Known for his timeless, elegant designs, Mr. Costa has received numerous awards for his work, including being twice named the Womenswear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and is a recipient of the Cooper-Hewitt National Fashion Design Award. A graduate of F.I.T., Mr. Costa was born into a family with deep roots in fashion, and grew up in the small Brazilian town of Guarani near Rio de Janiero, where his mother and father owned a successful apparel business.
Alex Prager is represented by M+B