BRITANNIC DERIVATION, Photography by Joseph Cardo

Lena Brunaux shot by Joseph Cardo

For June's editorial, The Fashion Photograph had the chance to take a close look into Joseph Cardo’s Britannic Derivation Story. We asked Joseph and team about the concept and the process behind this editorial. "I've looked at British Style in an extended way, very inspired by a London rich of different souls, mixing styles and languages from the most classic British trench to the most contemporary and underground styles." Before we move forward, let’s discuss the elements of what makes British Fashion unique.

What is British Style?

Style experts might describe British fashion as a playful alternative to the American counterpart. In a land that sees more than its share of rain, weather plays an expectedly prominent role in their evolving style. If anything, that’s the single most consistent element of their wardrobe rules. It’s even obvious in their textile selections. Rainboots and umbrellas are accessories. To balance functionality, the Brits often reference the early 80’s punk scene in their attire. The dichotomy of lace dresses and unlaced boots is unique to British fashion. Couple that with messy hair, playful accessories and an “undone” look and you have what some may call a recipe for British fashion.

Once you understand the concept of British Fashion, you’ll get a greater understanding of the work behind this editorial story. Looking at how the wardrobe stylist, Quinto Vincenzo dressed Lena Brunaux through the editorial, it’s clear they used moments of elegant attire and of course the raw aspect of British fashion.

Our mission at The Fashion Photograph is to deconstruct the imagery to understand the HOW & WHY behind each Fashion Photograph. In an era where photographers create imagery because it’s aesthetically pleasing, we aim to showcase artists and discuss the reasons for their artistry. This is their process…

Joseph's idea of creating a British derivation shoot stemmed from wanting to play with the idea of a "Contemporary contamination of style". He explains that British style is obviously peculiar and has great attitude, but they wanted to mix it with today's contemporary styles. 

Joseph constructed his team of Makeup artist Barbara Pastor,  Wardrobe stylist Quinto Vincenzo , hairstylist Vincenzo Lorusso , and hired French beauty Lena Brunaux to model.

To perfectly orchestrate Cardo's vision of British Derivation, the photographer said they researched the styles of London heavily. The goal was to keep his story modern and innovative. They were "addicted" on the concept of taking the immediacy value in high regards. Joseph describes, "After having discussed a concept, after establishing lines, we gave high value to the spontaneity of the moment".  

What is the creative process for Team Joseph?

Lena Brunaux by Joseph Cardo

After Joseph's initial research into his next shoot he shared the vision with wardrobe stylist Vincenzo to move forward with British Derivation. Quinto’s stylistic muses are Vetements, Gucci and Balenciaga. For Quinto, he wanted to first define what British Fashion is to him, and focus more on the overall theme vs. unique individual pieces. He describes it as “I wanted to interpret the same concept in the revolutionary key. I didn’t use individual clothings or accessories to express the British concept. I wanted to emphasize this concept in its entirity”.

He said to help construct the mood you must unify different perspectives and philosophies to express this mood. That is obvious in the selections made for this editorial. Quinto wanted to create a contemporary way of expression, by looking at original works and then mixing it with contemporary concepts. That is reflected in the bold accessories which were scissors and bobby pins, somewhat mirroring barbershop style tools which helps tie the unconventional into the ordinary. The same approach applies to the iconic British pieces like the latex yellow hat.

As mentioned earlier they often mimic the styles of early 1980’s punk era and create a dichotomy between two items that don’t usually fit together, such as scissors as earrings and plaid textile earrings with a floral shirt. That’s what really helps create the common perception of British design...that it looks very “undone” or “I just threw this on”. 

To complete the look we examine how hair and makeups role in the story further drive the theme of British fashion. They’re edgy, fun, yet functional. To keep it lively and interesting hairstylist, Vincenzo Lorusso improvised on the spot to incorporate a blue hairstreak which is admittedly not his favorite color, but present in the current season’s fashion which he described as “a must” (If you recall, Joseph insisted on placing high value to immediate styles).  He also mentioned that the pullback hairstyle presented a more masculine character close to British style.

For makeup, they decided to do a dewy look almost throughout the entire spread because it was reflective of what England days are. As mentioned earlier, much of British fashion revolves around the weather and this was a simple method of highlighting the infamous British weather. 

Given that you have the perfect combination of components to create Joseph’s vision, it was finally up to Lena to take his direction and develop a character that plays off as believable on screen. Joseph described her appearance as, “modern, unconventional and charming. It was very adherent to the role", which is the reason for casting her.

The first of our monthly editorials belong to Joseph Cardo, an Italian photographer who had traded the usual vibrant swimsuit images for a moodier and toned down UK layout. A fashion editorial is more than a series of inviting images. For the undeniable artists, there is a reason behind each step. Every moment, every garment, every lens change and every decision has a reason. Our job is to find that and present it. The creative process is what separates the pack and continues to define fashion photography in coming years. 


Photographer & Art Director: Joseph Cardo
Hair Stylist: 
Vincenzo Lorusso
Wardrobe Stylist: Quinto Vincenzo
Makeup Artist: Barbara Pastor
Model: Lena Brunaux
Producer: Ignazio Peragine
Producer: Daniel Cardone
Peter Sgaramella - Ph. Assistant
Carmine Sardaro - Ph. Assistant & Retoucher
Michael Cardo - Retoucher
Sonia Villani - Retoucher

Story by: Walid Azami
Story Assistant: Brandon Young
TFP Production: Matt Harshbarger


Joseph Cardo (21 June, 1976) is one of the most recognizable italian photographers with a contemporary and expressive style. His trademark, is the colorless predominance. Joseph Cardo was born in Puglia, in the south of Italy. At the age of 18, he moved to Milano to start his career, driven by the attractive of a big city and the opportunities of a fashion world that was in his best moments. After a fast success attached to a very personal style, decided to moved back to the south and built the GROUNDStudio, from where he started to hold all his national and international productions. In 2008, he gained public acclaim with his work for the Armani perfume campaign “Get Together”. Nowadays, he travels worldwide and has focused his career into the fashion photographic services and the direction of fashion films and spots. His photographs are predominated by a tonality halfway between white and black and color, i.e., by an attenuation of the color and all his shots have a very particular style, full of feelings and expressiveness, as if per each one had made a thousand, till finding the right moment. He is very well known because of his portraits, direct and intense, capturing what claims more attention from the character´s essence. That is why he is one of the italian photographers most requested by celebrities and his portraits are constantly magazine covers or images of important campaigns.

Joseph Cardo