Grognard’s encounter with Belgian designer Martin Margiela turns out to be a defining moment in her career. “I have known Martin since I was 14”, Grognard says. “He encouraged me. He offered me freedom and opportunities. It was in this early period of working with Martin that I found my signature style. He wrote fashion history and I am tremendously proud that I was able to be a part of it.” Grognard and Margiela share the same vision on make-up, always retaining a certain natural quality. Although the make-up is often extreme it will never act counter to the model’s natural features of personality. When street casting, they purposefully search for striking individuals with strong faces long before it becomes customary to do so and at a time when major fashion magazines only feature classic beauties. Both Margiela and Grognard are true artisans, who having perfected their craft can now challenge and deconstruct it. Grognard knows how to apply traditional make-up styles but confesses that she finds them exceedingly boring. “Martin and I both absolutely hate pure retro. Martin likes heavily accentuated eyes, inspired by the 1960s, but together we translated this into something quite coarse, a somewhat ‘dirty’ look.”
Stoops captures Maison Martin Margiela’s catwalk shows, his images typified by the same natural qualities found in the collaboration between Grognard and Margiela. These photos, mostly shot backstage, with the models in spontaneous poses, are not mere portraits but period pieces documenting the atmosphere during some of the most legendary fashion shows of the past decades.
In what has since become an iconic portrait, a model sports bleach blond locks, blood-red lips, white painted teeth and deep brown make-up covering half of her face. The setting is vague, the colours are bright. The make-up was inspired by the shadow cast when wearing a hat. The look was achieved with every model sitting under a spotlight while Grognard marked off the shadow. When the hat was removed all that was left was an intriguing dark shape across the face.