As the legendary photographic duo are announced as this year's recipients of the prestigious prize, Vogue speak to them about what the honour means – and explore why it is so well-deserved.
There are few people who have had the same visual impact within contemporary fashion as Mert and Marcus: two photographers who have, throughout their 25-year-career, acted as creative pioneers and opened up the realms of fantasy afforded by digital manipulation. “They came into the industry after we’d been through a period of grunge, and experienced a certain rawness, but they offered something entirely different: an idea of artifice and glamour that introduced a new aesthetic to fashion,” explains Edward Enninful. “Plus, there’s always something uneasy about their vision. A Mert and Marcus picture is never just about what you see at first: their girl might be beautiful, but she’ll have talons for nails. There’s something unsettling about that beauty.”
That glossy sense of subversion has, over the course of their career, been applied to everyone from Madonna to Oprah; Kate Moss to Rihanna – and now, in celebration of their achievements, they are being honoured with The Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at The British Fashion Council’s annual Fashion Awards. Held on December the 10th, they duo will join a pantheon that includes the likes of Enninful, Pat McGrath and Louise Wilson. “It’s a great honour to be given this award – particularly because of the name attached to it: someone who’s very important in our creative life,” explains Mert. “But also it’s very important to be recognised by the establishment; by all the people who comprise the British Fashion Council.”