Monday, September 23, 2013

A Sense of Occasion - Oscar de la Renta S/S 2014

The Oscar de la Renta name has long been synonymous with defining concepts of femininity, elegance, and timeless beauty. Casting Director and Production Manager John Martinez was primed for the challenge of assembling a cast for the Spring/Summer 2014 collections that would reflect Oscar de la Renta's unique aesthetic, sense of tradition whilst also looking toward the future, and the fashion house's inclusive standard of beauty. Miami-based Martinez began his career in fashion at the Washington Post as an Assistant Fashion Editor before segueing into styling and show production at Miami Fashion Week of Americas. A move to New York in 2004 and the formation of John Martinez Productions has led Martinez and his team of dedicated industry professionals to the major fashion capitals producing shows for the fashion elite. Martinez' dual role as casting director and production manager for Oscar de la Renta sees him working in tandem with show stylist Alex White to piece together a kaleidoscope of modelling talent which gives credence to the diversity of Oscar de la Renta's client base.

Martinez painstakingly assembled a star-studded cast comprising of bonafide supers, models of the moment, and promising newcomers. Oscar de la Renta's Spring/Summer 2014 presentation opened and closed in impeccable form with American beauty Karlie Kloss and Puerto Rican supernova Joan Smalls. In between, Martinez sent an A-list modelling contingent down the runway led by Liu Wen, Jourdan Dunn, Lindsey Wixson, Catherine McNeil, Andreea Diaconu, Chanel Iman, Nadja Bender, Vanessa Axente, and current campaign stars Iris Van Berne and Kate Bogucharskaia. Keeping ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving world of fashion, Martinez corralled a band of intriguing newcomers including IMG's latest crossover star Amanda Wellsh, the super chic Nouk Torsing, precocious teens Maggie Laine, Antonina Vasylchenko, and Jemma Baines, Japanese/Belgian anomaly Yumi Lambert, the Society's Pauline Hoarau and Manuela Frey, and Paris Vogue favourite Czech Hana Jirickova. The culminating effect was a celebration of the Oscar de la Renta woman in all of her wonderful incarnations - confident, brimming with exuberance, and infinitely beautiful.

Mr Oscar de la Renta (centre), Karlie Kloss (L) & Joan Smalls (R)
Oscar de la Renta - S/S 2014
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com


IMA: Hi John, thank you for taking a moment out of your schedule to chat with Inoubliable Model Army. How did you initially get into casting, and what aspects do you enjoy most about your dual roles as a production manager and casting director?
JM: I started with styling, production, and quickly moved into the casting arena, as my relationships with agents and model agencies became stronger. It was an easy step to follow as part of my growth in this fashion arena.

IMA: The Oscar de la Renta show was up until recently cast by casting director James Scully. Has John Martinez Productions taken on the role of casting director and are the casting choices made in close collaboration with ODLR's show stylist Alex White?
JM: Yes - correct, I worked with James Scully as I also produce the show. I produce all of the ODLR shows in the United States and internationally. I was given the opportunity to cast the show for the last three shows in New York for Fashion Week, and of course I work under the direction of Alex White.

IMA: The ODLR Spring/Summer 2014 cast was comprised of a collective of big name girls, rising stars, and relative newcomers. Was it a challenge to come up with the appropriate mix of models for this season's collection?
JM: I was given the direction by Mr de la Renta and Alex Bolen - CEO, to have the girls that can walk well, ethnic variety, and of course, stylist Alex White's vision of what she sees fits the show collection best.

ODLR Model Casting Board - S/S 2014
Photographer - Neill Seeto
Image property of Inoubliable Model Army

Production Manager & Casting Director - John Martinez
Image courtesy of John Martinez Productions


IMA: What was the brief or overriding aesthetic behind the cast selection for the ODLR Spring/Summer 2014 show?
JM: We tried to see as many girls as possible. Scheduling conflicts with Marc by Marc Jacobs and Narciso Rodriguez were a key consideration, so we needed to have as many options and back-ups as possible to present to the studio. Not only for models that we had in mind to walk for the show, but also to do looks, and hair and make-up tests before the presentation.

IMA: How many models were seen during the casting process for Spring/Summer 2014, and which key attributes command your attention the moment a model walks into the casting room?
JM: A good walk, a fresh pretty, elegant face, and the aura of elegance is what fits a girl best to appear in an ODLR show. We saw at least 200 plus girls -  and we had on First Option at least 80 models, including some of the top models in the world.

IMA: Which new faces were you particularly excited about this season and what casting trends do you predict for the season ahead?
JM: I love all of the new girls at the Society and IMG also had a great new girl called Maggie Laine who did looks for us and made it into the show line-up as well. I believe the trend of an elegant beauty is what makes everyone fall in LOVE with a girl -  there is a fresh - more clean approach for models in Spring rather than Fall, as Fall dictates a different hue and spirit for the models. In New York City, I think that fashion is ruled by the number of commercial clients that pay the big money to have the most desirable faces in their ads and campaigns. New faces are coming very strong from Europe once again. I hope to see better faces of Latin girls to help raise up in the international market.

Andreea Diaconu
Oscar de la Renta - S/S 2014
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Hana Jirickova
Oscar de la Renta - S/S 2014
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Karlie Kloss
Oscar de la Renta - S/S 2014
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com


IMA: Casting directors and design houses have recently come under fire due to the poor representation of minority groups on fashion's runways. Was diversity a consideration when assembling ODLR's band of beauties for Spring/Summer 2014?
JM: Yes it is very important to have a balanced cast of faces of all ethnic backgrounds for the ODLR show because as the brands of my clients are growing into worldwide brands, it is important to include all colours and races. Fashion is now a global market, feeding and fuelling inspiration in all corners of the globe. 

IMA: How has the modelling industry evolved during your time as a production manager and casting director? Do you feel that the interest in models as personalities is on the upswing?
JM: With social media on the rise, and the instant gratification of everyone being able to see what a girl is doing and which shows she is working for - we all get to identify pretty fast who will be the top new girls for the season, as Instagram and Facebook are such widely used tools of communication for everyone to keep tapped into what everyone else is doing.

Jourdan Dunn
Oscar de la Renta - S/S 2014
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Pauline Hoarau
Oscar de la Renta - S/S 2014
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Amanda Wellsh
Oscar de la Renta - S/S 2014
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com


IMA: Casting directors face the arduous task of seeing literally hundreds of models during the castings for a show. Is it important to you to maintain a level of humanity and sensitivity towards the girls whilst overseeing these proceedings?
JM: Of course, at ODLR we are a happy house and treat everyone with as much LOVE and appreciation as possible. I encourage everyone at John Martinez Productions to do the same and we always approach the girls with the best attitude and professionalism as we possibly can!

IMA: If you had to name your current Top 5. favourite models who would they be?
JM: Joan Smalls - I booked her for some of her first shows in NYC at Pamella Roland and we have remained close allies since those early days. She's stunning and beautiful, a true fashion star!
Karlie Kloss - has become the best known face in the industry for the past two years, she knows how to work the spotlight and to control what she does best. She has that X factor and now with those Victoria's Secret wings everyone knows her!
Hanne Gaby Odiele - baby face with a hint of 60s aura to her walk.
Amanda Murphy - fresh new energy, very Hollywood face.
Karmen Pedaru - sexy, amazing face and great runway and editorial presence.

IMA: What makes a model "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
JM: Elegance and the spirit to inspire everyone as she walks into a room, that is the X factor that enables a girl to become a star!

Jourdan Dunn
Photographer - Neill Seeto
Image property of Inoubliable Model Army

Catherine McNeil
Photographer - Neill Seeto
Image property of Inoubliable Model Army

Liu Wen
Photographer - Neill Seeto
Image property of Inoubliable Model Army

Special thanks to John Martinez at John Martinez Productions, and to Martha Botts and Erika Bearman at Oscar de la Renta. For more information on Oscar de la Renta and John Martinez Productions, please log onto www.oscardelarenta.com and www.johnmartinezproductions.net

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