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The Instagram archiving terrifying glamour

Feast your eyes on @Le__Dauphin, @dazedfashion’s Instagram of the week

Meet @Le__Dauphin, the anonymous Instagrammer using dark satire, subversive artworks and cult forgotten fashion moments to visualise his unique take on glamour. What started out as both a coping mechanism and a diary (that saw @Le__Dauphin post images that fitted his mood on a given day) soon developed into a carefully curated archive of references. His identity remains anonymous, but we know he’s London-based. “I thought it was quite funny to be dancing in a club in Hackney next to someone who followed me, and they’d never know,” he explains.

There are five main criteria for a @Le_Dauphin visual. It’s either a reflection of the curator, a person he’d want to be, something that caused him to laugh, something he’s not encountered before, or an image that encompasses his Instagram bio, “Glamour is terror”.

What does that look like? Content-wise, your just as likely to find a controversial collage by Ava Seymour as you are a forgotten tabloid headline about Britney Spears being caught in a gay sex tape scandal. Posting everything from naked black and white portraits of Gianni Versace shot by Helmut Newton, to archive shots of 90s Margiela and Thierry Mugler shows – @Le__Dauphin has become a go-to source for insubordinate fashion inspiration.

Here – accompanied by a killer playlist of tracks heard at many a fashion show soundtracked by Michel Gaubert – @Le__Dauphin talks us through his anonymous one-man mission.

Who are you?

@Le__Dauphin: I’m not sure yet…

How would you describe your account?

@Le__Dauphin: It started out as a diary, trying to fit images to the mood of the day. It’s easier to resonate with a visual. But, as it progressed it became an easy way for me to curate references and all the things that stimulate me in that particular moment. 

What made you start @Le__Dauphin?

@Le__Dauphin: I found myself somewhere I didn’t want to be, so I got terribly bored. @Le__Dauphin is something of a coping mechanism.   

Glamour is terror... can you elaborate?

@Le__Dauphin: If you look up ‘glamour’ in a dictionary there’s never a consistent definition. I once read that it is so difficult to define that the word only exists in English, no other language. It’s usually associated with allure, appeal, mystery, sex or old Hollywood, but to me, glamour also has a punch to it, it takes your breath away. I can’t put my finger on it, it’s one of those things that you either get or you don’t. But, I think it is most effective when it terrorises you a little bit. So #glamouristerror became something of an exercise for @Le__Dauphin, so I could define glamour myself. 

Whats the criteria for a @Le__Dauphin post

@Le__Dauphin: Sometimes I just have to relate to the visual and be able to see myself in it, or who I’d want to be. Other times it just makes me laugh or it’s an image that I haven’t seen before, that I want to document. Or sometimes it has to fit the #glamouristerror exercise. I like to mix things up; I think it’s important to look at fashion from a light-hearted perspective. 

“I’ve been collecting images for as long as I can remember. I’ve got about 60-70,000 images saved on hard drives, and I’m still going” – @Le__Dauphin

Do you have an archive of materials stored up?

@Le__Dauphin: I’ve been collecting images for as long as I can remember. I’ve got about 60-70,000 images saved on hard drives, and I’m still going.  

What are some of your favourite images youve ever posted

Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Where do you source your content?

@Le__Dauphin: The internet. Google searches and scrolling through archives and archives of Tumblr blogs. Tumblr has some of the best content out there and a few brilliant curators to go with it.

What do your references reveal about you?

@Le__Dauphin: I’m very dark, but I’ve found that the best way to fight it is to satirise the situations you find yourself in, and I suppose you can see that on @Le__Dauphin.  

What might people not realise about the pictures you post?

@Le__Dauphin: Sometimes I’ll post a range of pictures at once and I like to observe who responds to what. But if your question is about whether there are any hidden meanings behind my content, then no, what I post is usually how I feel in the moment. At first, I was interested in keeping who was behind @Le__Dauphin a mystery. But the people who showed interest in meeting me and messaged me to find out who I was were too compelling to say no to. 

Who are your favourite artists and photographers?

@Le__Dauphin: It’s a long list. Helmut Newton, Jean-Paul GoudeIrving Penn and Robert Mapplethorpe are some of the giants I’ve been studying a bit more lately and I love the work of Johnny Dufort, Harley Weir and Sharna Osborne. As for artists I’m very into text and simple sketches at the moment, I think they translate very well on Instagram, so Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer, Barbara KrugerJean Cocteau and David Hockney are some of my go-tos. 

Has anything unexpected come from your account?

@Le__Dauphin: Yes, actually. I have met a brilliant artist, who took an interest in @Le__Dauphin quite early on. We are very similar and I feel we might’ve struck up a friendship. We’re now working together on a few really exciting projects that I can’t talk about yet. They have also introduced me to people in London whose work I admired ever since I first got on Instagram, and we've had some incredible nights out since. So, I am glad I started @Le__Dauphin for connecting me to artists, and I'm hoping that it will bring more people my way. 

What are your top three archive fashion moments?

@Le__Dauphin: They change, but some of my recurring favourites are: Alexander McQueen’s SS98 Golden Shower show, Viktor and Rolf’s AW99 Russian Doll couture show and John Galliano’s Dior FW 99 couture show. They’re all very “glamour is terror”.

What do you love to follow on Instagram? 

@Le__Dauphin@lottavolkova@michelgaubert@williamcult@paulhameline@alexanderfury, some of the people that I met in London who really know how to party: @harrycharlesworth@thatgirlsussi@danieljohnsansom, and @nosejob, and everyone has a friend in @suzymenkesvogue and @donatella_versace.