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Collision Course
Julia wears leather motorbike bustier top and leather trousers by Yang Li; puffer bomber tied around waist by Sacai; rubber inner tubes worn around shoulders from Bicycle Habitat; bungee belt wrapped around arm by Givenchy by Riccardo TisciPhotography Mikael Jansson, styling Alastair McKimm, hair Duffy, make-up Mark Carrasquillo, nails Gina Edwards

Nick des Jardins on ‘Collision Course’

The set designer talks us through Mikael Jansson's futuristic December issue shoot

Taken from the December issue of Dazed & Confused

An urban warrior stalks a chaotic scene: dark, inflated silhouettes her armour against the harsh otherworld of twisted metal. For the December issue shoot, ‘Collision Course’, set designer Nick des Jardins created a junkyard backdrop of chaotic order. Crushed cars were stacked neatly, wires and glass escaping through the folds, the whole scene painted an eerie, cold white. “The stacked cars add so much chaos, with the broken glass and rust, that to take all that and create one very light thing makes it more impactful,” he tells us. 

Common threads are difficult to draw from des Jardins’ portfolio of work and his backdrop stories range from the dark and extreme, to the fantastical and coolly humoured. Speaking to des Jardins while on his way to Boston to celebrate Thanksgiving last week, he shared with Dazed the process of a Collision Course.

“Mikael [Jansson, photographer] wanted to do the shoot in a junkyard, with the crushed metal giving a sculptural feel. I took that and went with something a little different: I turned the junkyard into a studio, in effect. We scouted several junkyards, and there was one with cars stacked. That sparked it. I decided to build a completely flat floor for the model to stand on, and painted that white. Then I stacked all the cars, and painted those white too, so that without seeing the edges of the cars, it almost felt like it could be a studio. It is more like a classic fashion story, with an all white backdrop.”

“It took us about three hours to build. We had a front loader stacking all the cars, while I was building the floor and painting everything white. Having large machinery helped, because it was all painted by spray guns. In terms of the pure weight of the set, it was probably the heaviest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve done some set builds that are multiple day builds, but I feel like some of the larger jobs came when I was still assisting. I had a tendency to do a lot of building in those days. I studied sculpture and fine arts. While I was doing that I worked on a lot of other people’s student films. Bringing my building skills to that, I turned it into set building. I moved to New York to work on films and kind of fell into the fashion photography world.”


Photography Mikael Jansson

Styling Alastair McKimm

Hair Duffy at Tim Howard Management 

Nails Gina Edwards at Kate Ryan Inc using Morgan Taylor

Make-up Mark Carrasquillo at Art Partner

Set Design Nick Des Jardins at Mary Howard Studio

Model Julia Nobis at DNA 

Photographic assistants Eric Hodgman, Michael Didyoung, Nicolas Ong, Roy Beeson

Styling assistants Katelyn Gray, Julia Sanchis

Hair assistant Neil Grupp

Make-up assistant Emi Kaneko

Set-design assistant Dave Caddo