Art & Design

Fashion’s New Digital Destination Bonfire\Vanities

By Jacqui Thompson
19th Dec 2013

Bonfire\Vanities is unlike any other fashion portal online. Centred around fashion, art and media, Bonfire\Vanities is part journal, part avant-garde editorial and part online store.

There are overarching themes, which guide the Bonfire\Vanities' menu, and within each of these themes you will find interviews, mood boards, incredible shoots, shopping, and generally—a visual and creative feast of inspiration.

Creator Tiana Wallace, has worked as a creative director, consultant and stylist for over 15 years both locally and internationally. From high-profile magazines including Vogue, Grazia and Harper's Bazaar; to leading brands ASOS, David Jones and Westfield; to working with celebrities such as Miranda Kerr, Emma Booth and Megan Gale.

Having worked in media for many years, Tiana felt the need to express her creative interests in an environment where there were no creative boundaries. Discovering her colleagues and artistic counterparts shared this desire, Tiana decided to create a new and unabridged forum.

Some of Australia's leading creative minds have contributed to Tiana's vision, including fashion photographers Georges Antoni and Jordan Graham, artist Techa Noble and make-up artists Natasha Severino and Max May.

We caught up with Tiana to find out more about this exciting venture.

TUL: Bonfire\Vanities is stunning, what inspired you to create this digital publication?
Tiana Wallace: Thankyou! I was looking for a truly creative outlet for my work that had no boundaries or limitations and realised that this was the feeling of many of the creatives I work with.

TUL: We love the curation of visceral high-fashion editorial, alongside accessible shopping content and then beauty, music and art all added into the mix. Can you explain the ethos behind Bonfire\Vanities?
Tiana: I wanted to give an insight into the breadth of creative artistry within the fashion industry and create a platform to explore interdisciplinary creation; an alternative to commercial blogs and publications, something with more depth behind the imagery.

I've had this idea of presenting still imagery with a soundtrack for a long time. In creating
Bonfire\Vanities my aim was to present a high-quality online publication that combined art and fashion, and could be experienced in a multi-sensory way, that you could bring into the material world by shopping it.

As artists in the fashion photography genre, we cannot produce what we do alone, we work in teams, so collaboration is at the core of how we create and each part is necessary to producing the whole. I am staunch on crediting each team member for their valued contribution.Valuing each person's input is necessary for allowing their creativity to flow, and through this culture of mutual appreciation and respect you build great atmosphere, relationships and community. The collaboration element is what also brings an eclectic spirit to the publication. I am not giving it specific style limitations. I feel it will develop a style of its own while remaining open to the new.

It will attract those who like what they see and so on.

TUL: You are collaborating with some of Australia's finest fashion talent, including photographers Georges Antoni and Jordan Graham; hair and make-up artists Natasha Severina, Max May and Jenny Kim; and models Alexandra Agoston and Stephanie Carta—does editing your own publication allow you to fulfill a wish list?
Tiana: Yes, absolutely, although I have been working with all of these people for years, many of whom are my good friends, which makes it even better! It's wonderful to collaborate with people who you have a close working and personal relationship with, as it directly affects the images you're able to produce together. The difference now is that we can collaborate in a new way so working with these great artists on my own publication is a dream come true.

TUL: Throughout your career you have worked locally and internationally on some of the world's leading fashion titles (including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, GQ and Grazia), can you tell us a defining editorial moment that you are proud of?
Tiana: There have been a few defining moments so far: getting my first job at Vogue—I was so excited when I left the interview I was literally jumping up and down on the bus. Another was shooting in St. Petersburg for UK Grazia—it was a long-held dream to go there and it was that beautiful time of year when the light lasts 20 hours. We shot an incredible Russian model in the courtyard of the Hermitage.

Shooting Catherine McNeil in Paris after the shows with Chris Colls was amazing; she was exhausted but still worked so hard and looked incredible, we flew a team from Sydney and had so much fun. Shooting my first editorial for Vogue Australia with legendary photographer Richard Bailey in what paid homage to David Bowie. I still love the images.

Getting a parcel delivered out of the blue to my house one morning from Alexander McQueen that was a thank you for an editorial I had done for UK Grazia. And, of course, launching Bonfire\Vanities.

TUL: How have you found the transition from print to digital?
Tiana: I do love digital as it's so immediate and the space is endless, which allows for endless creative possibility. I love the feeling of community that it allows, the inclusive nature of it is great, as high fashion has always had such a tendency for exclusion and it has now had to adapt to this new way of being. People who would have considered each other competition, now work together, as it benefits all. So a new spirit of win-win collaboration has been born, which I wholly support.

On a more practical level, developing the site proved to be quite difficult, as my mind was trained to think in producing images for print and print format, so I had to change this mindset and discover the best ways to present in digital and its limitations also.

TUL: Can you tell us who inspires you creatively? And what about personally?
Tiana: Marina Abramovic inspires me hugely as she directly confronts the notion of spirit, soul and humanity on a very personal level and infuses this into her work as an artist. Her reach is also incredible, which is of course testament to the effect she has on people. It moves people deeply, which I very much admire.

TUL: Are there any style icons past or present in your life?
Tiana: My grandmother in the 40s, Morticia Addams, the cowgirl in El Topo (Jodorowsky movie), Veruschka in Africa, Jimi Hendrix, Grace Jones, Penelope Tree, Bianca Jagger, M.I.A.

TUL: Can you tell us your favourite places for drink, dine and design in Sydney?
White Rabbit Gallery
Nourishing Quarter
Jason Mowen Interiors Redfern
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar Bondi
Tracey Deep Floral Sculptures

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