Caitin Kitten

Caitin Kitten

Spring's most daring fashion requires a muse of equal strength and beauty—a muse Nick Knight found on Instagram in Caitin Stickels, a model born with the rare Cat Eye Syndrome and a deep appreciation for the artful language of storytelling in fashion. Here, Stickels writes about her experience on set, and making her dreams a reality.

Spring's most daring fashion requires a muse of equal strength and beauty—a muse Nick Knight found on Instagram in Caitin Stickels, a model born with the rare Cat Eye Syndrome and a deep appreciation for the artful language of storytelling in fashion. Here, Stickels writes about her experience on set, and making her dreams a reality.

Photography: Nick Knight

Styling: Jacob K

Text: Caitin Stickels

My heart is eternally fluttering. Working with Nick Knight at SHOWstudio for V Magazine was something I couldn't have even dreamed of, to be perfectly honest. I always admired brilliant artists with miraculously creative minds, especially in the fashion industry where being human isn't often expected to be accepted or displayed in an artistic way. However, by using the easily accessible foundation of fashion, those who would take that risk, the ones who could sense the story in an article of clothing and find the proper voice to share it with, those were people I always looked up to as inspiration for my own aspirations in reaching out to the world. Even if it's through the beauty of fashion, it's still to expose the authenticity of humanity all the while.

It never was superficial to me and that's why I’ve always admired Nick Knight and looked fondly upon magazines such as V because they aren't afraid to elevate their work and take it to the next level. V has always been more edgy and raw in its untarnished beauty, a magazine I appreciated having around compared to others that didn't have much of a story to tell. V Magazine isn't just beautiful, but it remains brilliant.

I would easily say the same and then some about Nick Knight and his work with SHOWstudio. I grew up with one of his images from the ‘80s in my room as a poster—thanks to my fashion obsessed mother and aunt who taught me all the goods way too early on—and yet I never dreamed of being a model or being a part of the fashion industry. I always admired from afar and meanwhile tried to recreate my own expressions through fashion, photography, and art. Actually, being in his presence and seeing the magic happen before my eyes, seeing the same exact images on his walls that I used to have on mine when I was a teenager, it was beyond surreal.

I hadn't slept in nearly two weeks because I had been working so much prior to my flight to London, so I was already in a bit of a sleep deprived bliss—and perhaps that’s why I keep using the word "dream" because it was like the most divine dream state that I’ve ever been in. I felt like I could have worked with him for days non-stop. It's addictive and intoxicating like dancing in the eye of a storm, terrifyingly thrilling.

I was content being small in my small world doing the art that I do—and they took me to Cloud 9 instead. I will admit: being on livestream was simultaneously nerve-racking and comforting. I love the honesty and the vulnerability that the livestream contributes to a shoot, but of course that's also a very scary thing to experience. It was fundamental to me when Nick asked if I was okay with it, because it goes along with why I model in the first place. There's absolutely nothing to hide—not even if you're afraid. Although, alternatively, it can even be a bit funny when you forget that it’s there (I think you have to after a while) and realize that people are watching as well as listening to you in your most candid moments. It makes everything all the more tangible.

Seeing how excited everyone else was online over the livestream was almost just as fun, knowing that so many people were staying awake to watch us. Everyone was so incredible to me on set that it was almost unreal. Charlotte, his wife/manager, was as sweet as ever after doing everything in her power to get me to London all the way from Seattle and make this dream come true. Jacob K, the stylist, was so precious and kind to take my hands like a prince and walk me through each look like a gentleman that made me smile. Watching his creativity explode in the dressing room was quite amazing to witness in person. Martin, the hair stylist, was wonderful with my wild locks even though he had to pull it in every which way. He was incredibly considerate. If I was tired, he would inevitably make me laugh one way or another. Laura, the MUA, was so gentle to me, and to my face with her makeup despite having to do so many different looks on me one after the other. Kate, who did my nails, was a trooper at making my hands look lovely for hours and was a curious sweetheart all the while. Ria somehow kept us all together in our structured chaos, which she handled with the grace of a ballerina. Everyone on set shocked me with their benevolence matching their brilliance. It was a beautiful family of a crew, which I did not expect at all.

I did expect to see something epic—and they went far and beyond what I could have imagined. I don't want to say that this was MY dream come true, because I think working with Nick Knight is anyone's dream that I never dared to actually have myself. Some people give themselves a chance and dream. They may not always realize it, but even dreaming or wishing that you could be a part of something, that's still giving yourself a chance. I couldn't even dream of working with Nick Knight, let alone being in V Magazine. Despite my admiration, I never imagined what it could be like to work with Nick Knight even with him being an incredible and unforgettable icon to me. I just never gave myself the chance. All the while, Nick Knight saw what I have been doing on my own accord and he gave me the chance that I never gave myself, as did V. this is why I loved them both from the beginning when I was young and still do now—they opened eyes, they opened minds, and they gave this world a chance. They both have done the same with me and I'm still processing that it's now my reality, too. This collaboration has been the most beautiful whirlwind of my life.

DRESS WITH HOOP SERGIY GRECHYSHKIN, BRA AND BRIEFS (UNDERNEATH) ERES, GLOVES CORNELIA JAMES, SOCKS MICHELLE WARNER, STOCKINGS AGENT PROVOCATEUR, ON EYES M.A.C. EYE SHADOWS IN STEAMY AND PASSIONATE, ON LIPS M.A.C. PATENTPOLISH LIP IN FEARLESS, ON NAILS ESSIE NAIL POLISH IN PICKED PERFECT
Credits: MAKEUP LAURA DOMINIQUE (STREETERS) HAIR MARTIN CULLEN (STREETERS) MODEL CAITIN KITTEN MANICURE KATE CUTLER (PREMIER HAIR AND MAKEUP) SET DESIGN ANDREW TOMLINSON DIGITAL TECHNICAN LAIMONAS STASIULIS PRODUCTION MANAGER RIANA CASSON (SHOWSTUDIO) PHOTO ASSISTANTS BRITT LLOYD, ROB RUSLING, TOM ALEXANDER, JOHN HEYES STYLIST ASSISTANTS FLORA HUDDART AND CLEMENCE LOBERT HAIR ASSISTANT SHIORI TAKAHASHI MANICURE ASSISTANT LASHAUN GRAHAM PRODUCTION ASSISTANT REBECCA BURGHUM SET DESIGN ASSISTANTS JAMES ROBATHAM AND TOBIAS BLACKMORE DIGITAL POST PRODUCTION MARK BOYLE (EPILOGUE) LIGHTING DIRECT PHOTOGRAPHIC

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