Karen Walker's campaigns have featured some major talent: adorable toddlers, Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style crew, and Instagram famous pup Toast Meets World, are among a few of our favorites. But for her latest collection, the designer cast an unlikely model: herself. In the advertorial, aptly named "Transformers," Walker takes a cue from Cindy Sherman and Robert Mapplethorpe and embodies seven different personas, all of which have distinct aesthetics that correspond with the varying styles of sunglasses.
"The collection has multiple shapes, materials, colors, and details, and we wanted a campaign concept that would reflect the diverse range," Walker tells Refinery29. "I think this campaign shares the same hand-writing and voice as all our other campaigns. It’s unmistakably Karen Walker, this time in more ways than one." Among the characters are:
1) The Wildest One: "I always love dressing in quite a masculine way, so putting on a dude’s quiff felt great," Walker says. "Plus, what’s not to love about Mr/ Mapplethorpe as a starting point? A great personal style and a brilliant artist."
2) The Super Replicant: "My formative fashion years were when [Thierry] Mugler was the dominating voice, and I remember being so astonished by his work and his overall look," she explains. "I was too poor and young to rock it then, but it was great acting it out as this character now. Plus, I got to bring the red wig home and my eight-year-old wore it with an all-black witch’s thing for Halloween, so I know it looks good on more cherubic features too."
3) The Lost Aristo: "I’m not much of a monarchist, but I did always have a thing for Princess Margaret. She always managed to push the barriers, and I love that about her. Plus, she could rock a pair of shield glasses like no other Princess, and we had to celebrate that."
4) The Golden Rebel: "Rizzo was by far my favorite Greaser, but I always thought she'd rock the look in platinum. This allowed us to test out the hypothesis."
5) The Platinum C&W: "[Dolly] Parton has always been my favorite female C&W voice. Her voice, her songs, her story, her look — I love it all. And putting on that wig, which was so dominating, really gave me a glimpse into the ‘putting on’ of the character she must every day."
6) The Waugh On Terror: "[Evelyn] Waugh has been one of my favorite writers since I was about 10. I doubt there are more than two or two of his [books] I haven’t read. I love that opening he allows into a time when women’s freedoms, and in fact, all of youth’s freedoms changed, and how the consequences of that rippled out into society. I’ve always wanted to be one of his characters, and now I have been."
7) Too Sassoon: "Some of my earliest fashion memories are of those iconic [Vidal] Sassoon ads. So other-worldly and cool and polished. Yes, please!"
Now that Walker herself has broken down the imagery, it's time to actually see the photographs, no? Click on for a look at the entire "Transformers" campaign, as well as the epic pairs of shades that can help you transform into whoever the hell you'd like.