staying up late with hedi slimane’s girl gang

Saint Laurent model Lida Fox and her friend Aida Nizankovska tell i-D about the crazy escapades they document on their new website, Film Hooligans.

by Alice Newell-Hanson
13 November 2015, 10:15am

photography by lida fox

In one photo on Film Hooligans, Sunflower Bean's angel-faced bassist Julia Cumming sits in a clawfoot bathtub with her fellow Saint Laurent models Lida Fox and Kiki Willems. The shot is all long limbs, mussed-up hair and thrift-store prints. It's just one frame from a longer sequence snapped by photographer Rebekah Campbell upstairs during a house party in Paris last summer.

Lida and her friend Aida Nizankovska (a law student and fashion freelancer, based in London) also take cameras with them wherever they go -- backstage at runway shows, gigs in London and Hedi Slimane's Beach Goth parties in Los Angeles. "At some point," says Aida, "almost all of our friends were taking film photos." So, Lida explains, "we thought it would be nice to have a collection of the crazy experiences we were all documenting."

Film Hooligans, the girls' freshly launched site, publishes a new, unedited roll of images every Friday, shot by them and their friends. The photos have the pre-Instagram authenticity and club-basement lighting of the snapshots posted on cult New York nightlife blog Epicly Later'd. But instead of skateboarders, they star Hedi's cast of leopard print-wearing, guitar-shredding muses: models Lili Sumner and Grace Hartzel, street-cast campaign stars Pascal and Paul, the members of California rock bands Sap and Beach Party. And all of the make-out sessions, dance parties and weird moments of early-morning insanity are captured, exactly as they were, on film.

How did you guys meet? And when did you realise you were going to be friends?
Lida: We met at the opening of Hedi's Sonic photo exhibition last year in Paris, then we went out with a group of people afterwards. I remember sharing a taxi to try and find an abandoned church that some friends were going to in the middle of the night, but we never found it!
Aida: We went to Chez Jeanette, this awesome bistro in the 10th arrondissement, and shared a plate of French fries. It was love at first sight.

What are your cameras of choice?
Lida: A couple of years ago, a few of my friends convinced me to start taking photos on a disposable camera as a sort of diary. But since then, a few photographer friends have given me their old cameras, so I use those too.
Aida: My earliest memory is of getting a waterproof Kodak from my mum for my birthday. I always liked taking photos, but Lida was the one who properly got me into film photography. I started off with drugstore disposables and then got my precious old Pentax at a flea market.

What makes film so much more exciting than digital?
Lida: You never know what you're going to get back. Not only do you have to wait to see what happened in the picture, but sometimes the colours or exposure turn out really strange. Plus, no one can complain about the photo until it's developed.
Aida: For me, it's very real. There's no posing, and the energy on film is dazzling. Most of our photos were taken at very unexpected times - midway through dancing, for example.

What are your favourite things to photograph?
Lida: I tend to have a lot of boys and a lot of kissing!
Aida: Lida is so sneaky. She hides her camera and pops out of nowhere at the absolute worst moment possible! I love photographing my friends doing all sorts of weird shit.

What are some of the funniest/craziest/worst photos you've got back from the developer?
Aida: We took some absolutely mad photos in June. We were hanging out at this Mexican bar which had a wrestling ring in the basement. I took an amazing photo of our friends Pascal and James straight after their fight, sitting breathless and sweaty on the pavement outside.

Do you guys ever talk to Hedi about photography, or trade tips?
Lida: He's told me a bit about lenses before, but so far I've only used really simple point-and-shoots. Hedi shoots mostly digital instead of film, and I haven't really gotten into digital yet. One of the biggest compliments I ever received, though, was when he told me my photos were good.

Who would be your dream contributors to the site?
Lida: Hedi, if he contributed a roll of film! Film Hooligans is really about documenting the madness of today's young generation, and he has pretty much mastered that vision. Anyone can be a film hooligan.
Aida: Definitely! Hedi has to make an appearance. But to be honest, we already have a dream team. I could not be happier with our contributors.

If you could photograph anyone in the world, who would you choose?
Lida: I'd want to go back to the 70s and 80s and photograph the punk scene in England, New York and California. Aida would get together with John Lydon and I'd steal Sid Vicious from Nancy.
Aida: And we'd all live happily ever after.


Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography by Lida Fox, Aida Nizankovska, Rebekah Campbell, Kiki Willems and Laura Allard-Fleischl