Spring Fashion Captured by a Photographer Who Hides Faces

he 23-year-old photographer Arielle Bobb-Willis rarely shows a model’s face. “I want their egos to be taken away,” she says. Her fashion photographs are kinetic, snapped as models twist and manipulate the bright color-block clothing that contains them. Without a face, she says, every element in a photograph’s composition has equal play: the clothes, the setting, and the model tell a single story.

For this fashion shoot, Bobb-Willis went to New Orleans, where her mother is from, with a box of our fashion editors’ favorite looks from the spring 2018 runways. She photographed women who live in the city wearing colorful dresses, accordion pants, and plastic knee-high boots, all while contorting on sidewalks and in abandoned fields. “The colors and the composition of the city have always inspired me,” she says. “There’s just this heaviness to it. It’s so vibrant, but there’s a spooky undertone that runs through.”

Bobb-Willis developed an abstract, dissociative style while struggling with anxiety and depression, using photography as a form of therapy. “I felt like my body was something I was renting more so than something that was given to me,” she says. “When I’m shooting, I’m focusing on what’s in front of me and nothing else.”

Kenzo pleated jumper, $445 at Kenzo. Simon Miller pleated pants, price upon request at 660 Madison Ave. Longchamp espadrilles, $300 at Longchamp. Photo by Arielle Bobb-Willis.
Louis Vuitton striped knit dress, $2,400, and LV archlight sneakers, $1,090 at Louis Vuitton. Photo by Arielle Bobb-Willis.
Balenciaga padded leather jacket, $6,000 and tweed pumps, $1,190, for similar styles at 148 Mercer Street.Hue tights, for similar styles at Hue. Photo by Arielle Bobb-Willis.
Far Left: Christopher Kane open tweed dress, $650 at Christopher Kane. Miu Miu socks, $230 for similar styles at Ssense. Proenza Schouler slingback pumps, $645 at Proenza Schouler. Center Left: Dior jumpsuit, $2,700 at 21 E. 57th St. Chanel pvc and leather boots, $1,350 at 15 E. 57th St. Hue tights, for similar styles at Hue. Center Right: Kenzo top, for similar styles at Kenzo. Paco Rabanne shorts, $920 at Barneys New York. Hue tights, for similar styles at Hue. Christopher Kane tartan boots, $595 at Christopher Kane. Right: Gucci embroidered nylon jacket, $5,800 at Gucci. Hue tights, for similar styles at Hue. Versace loafer heels, $995 at Versace. Photos by Arielle Bobb-Willis.
Chanel iridescent silk organza top and fringed organza skirt, price upon request, to order (800) 550 0005.Sies Marjan lace up sandals, $895, for similar styles at Sies Marjan. Prada socks, $210 for similar styles atSsense. Photo by Arielle Bobb-Willis.
BY. Bonnie Young dress, for similar styles at Farfetch. Prada slingback heels, $990 at Prada. Photo by Arielle Bobb-Willis.
Paco Rabanne jacket, $1350 at Barneys New York. Gucci crystal pumps, $1,290 at Gucci. Sportmax knit dress, price upon request at 450 West Broadway. Huetights, for similar styles at Hue. Photo by Arielle Bobb-Willis.
Paco Rabanne jacket, $1350 at Barneys New York. Pringle of Scotland cashmere top and skirt, for similar styles at Pringle of Scotland. Proenza Schouler slingback pumps, $645 at Proenza Schouler. Hue tights for similar styles at Hue.Photo by Arielle Bobb-Willis.