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Loewe x Paula’s IbizaPhotography Gray Sorrenti

Gray Sorrenti on shooting her friends in New Orleans for Loewe’s photobook

The Spanish brand tapped photographer Mario Sorrenti’s daughter to shoot its second collection in collaboration with Ibiza boutique Paula’s

Growing up between New York, Italy, and New Orleans, and as the daughter of famed photographer Mario Sorrenti, all signs pointed towards Gray Sorrenti pursuing a creative career.

The 17-year-old just undertook her first major fashion project with Loewe to shoot the new collection created with iconic Ibiza-based boutique Paula’s. Since shooting New York’s youth culture for the spring 2017 issue of Dazed, her style has sharpened, as revealed in the photobook’s images, with an opening narrative also written by the photographer. 

Moving away from the Balearic influence of Ibiza, Gray brought a small gang of friends and the Loewe team together in New Orleans – the young photographer’s favourite place in the world. Also where her mother, artist Mary Frey, was born and raised – it has a special connection for her. 

This second collaboration between Loewe and Paula’s sees playful prints appearing throughout the collection on dresses, blouses and shorts, as well as the men’s collection, all designed by creative director Jonathan Anderson. With a retro beach vibe, textures are also highlighted with metallic sequins and wooden bead embellishments, while sun accessories and leather goods are added to the mix-and-match of patterns.

Here we talk with Gray on shooting the new photobook for Loewe. 

When did you start taking photographs?

Gray Sorrenti: My dad gave me my first camera when I was thirteen, but I never thought that I wanted to take photos – I’d always be drawing and painting instead. He gave me a super basic Pentax 67 for my birthday, and then he would teach me the aperture and the whole deal with it, which was totally confusing at first.

When my dad met my mum he gave her a Contax and I took the Contax and started using that a little bit. Then I started getting my own little cameras. I thought that I was going to go to arts school and become a crazy painter. But then he gave me this camera and I started going around taking photos for myself and of my friends, I started to really like it.

Do you photograph each other at home?

Gray Sorrenti: I’m always taking sneaky little pictures at home. They’re like ‘no Gray!’ and I’ll say, ‘no you guys look so cute together.’ They’re like, ‘Gray don’t take photos of us’ and then they see them and they’re like ‘wow!’

How did the project with Loewe come about?

Gray Sorrenti: The M&Ms, Michael and Matthias, contacted me and they liked my vibe. It was very loose and cool, they gave me complete creative freedom. They said, ‘let’s shoot in Ibiza’, but I didn’t have any connection to Ibiza. The clothes kind of matched my favourite place in the world, New Orleans, so I was like, ‘let’s go to New Orleans’. They thought it was dope.

“I wanted to make it poetic because that’s how I see New Orleans. Everyone wants to know your story, they want to tell you their story and it’s enchanting” – Gray Sorrenti 

How does the text in the book marry with the photos you took? 

Gray Sorrenti: I was just sitting on the train and thinking. The flow of New Orleans is definitely reflective in the writing. I wanted to make it poetic because that’s how I see New Orleans. There’s music on every single corner. You get off the plane and everyone is just so cool. They’re saying hi to you, everyone wants to know your story, they want to tell you their story and it’s enchanting. 

What was it like shooting the photobook? 

Gray Sorrenti: When we went, it was freezing in New York and we were in 70-degree weather, the whole crew was having a blast – they’ve never done a more fun shoot. It was really good vibes, really good people. I brought Frank B who does makeup – he’s my dad’s best friend. The styling was super fun too. Benjamin Bruno is great, he’s so cool. We got along, we made jokes in the back. He was off smoking cigarettes while I was shooting and he was like, ‘fabulous Gray!’

How did you cast the project? 

Gray Sorrenti: It was a small crew and I brought some of my best friends, my brother, my first friend ever Lua – she was there when I was born. It was extremely personal and I was in my favourite place. I brought someone I met this summer who’s a model, Fisher, who’s so sweet, so New York. I brought a little bit of New York, a little bit of New Orleans, a little bit of Italy.

What plans do you have for the future? Do you want to go into fashion photography?

Gray Sorrenti: Totally, but I would do it in my own way – absolutely not following any directions. I’ve kind of been entering and finding my way through it. I’d like to just keep what I value. I also want to do film. Either documentary or short movies. 

What have you been working on at the moment, any other projects?

Gray Sorrenti: I’m writing two scripts right now. I’m just shooting – not all the time, I like to give myself a break. I’m going to shoot a little and take photos of people.