Serge Leblon for Another Man S/S10

Photographer Serge Leblon captures a hidden, colour-saturated world inhabited by stylish squatters in his short film

Photographer Serge Leblon and Another Man’s Senior Fashion Editor Bryan McMahon took their lead from society's outcasts in their latest collaboration. "I felt it had to be character-based," says McMahon. "I started looking at Mike Brodie aka The Polaroid Kidd’s photographs of homeless kids in America and the watercolours of Kaye Donachie, who always seems to paint kids in squats." They were also inspired by news reports from 2008 about squatters who had taken up residency in a £6 million five-storey mansion in Mayfair, London.

Leblon and McMahon now needed a dilapidated but opulent location for their fashion story. They found what they were looking for in Paris. "We discovered an apartment in a large, rundown house," explains McMahon. "Inside were these amazing rooms painted in bright colours. It also had rooms that were only half-painted with all this beautiful French rococo decoration."

The casting of the four boys was integral to the story. "We didn't want them to look too model-like; too beautiful," says McMahon. "They needed to be characters and not look out of place. I loved the way Serge shot them. It really got across the feeling we were going for. I wanted their clothes to be super-bright, with lots of layering… I thought of them as an acid army of boys."

Another crucial element was not tying the story down to any specific time or place. "We hung up vinyl backdrops of a hyper-real business centre in some of the rooms," recalls McMahon. "It was interesting to have a business cityscape in that space. It gave it all a weird atmosphere: it suddenly becomes difficult to work out where these boys actually are, and where they came from."

On the day of the shoot, the film's cinematographer and editor Alexander Dynan quickly realised that the on-set noise added a new – and unexpected – dimension to the piece. "Serge's iPod was blaring through the stereo, a chamber orchestra were rehearsing in one of the other rooms and over it all Serge was shouting directions at the models," says Dynan. "Using the ambient sound gives the film a real depth. It’s suddenly somewhere between documentary and fashion. And it reveals Serge’s dynamic work process – his ability to capture a beautiful moment amongst all the madness."

Serge Leblon
Cinematography and Editing: Alexander Dynan at Pundersons Gardens
Styling: Bryan McMahon
Styling Assistant: Will Westall
Models: Boris Martin, Pierre Auguste Beaucote, Florian Babin, Kim D’all Armi at Success
Hair Styling: Raphael Salley at Streeters London
Prop Stylng:
Pierre Glanddier at Quadriga