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Tommy Ton of photographing Sally Singer of US Vogue in Paris

I have always been a street style watcher. A fashion stalker. A lot of my trend ideas come from seeing what people choose to wear, how they wear it and where they are when they're wearing it. It is a language all on its own. I was checking into The Sartorialist long before it became a cult blog, providing pithy captions for his subjects in my head, and then whenever I saw the man himself, Scott, at the shows or outside the Paris hotel he and I used to stay in (not together) I loved to watch how he blatantly sized men and women up on the street. He got away with it because he had a camera around his neck. Lucky.

Recently, I have added another fashion-stalker street-snapper to my love list. It's Tommy Ton from Jak & Jil  who has an eye for a picture that makes me think he is a beauty editor, accessories editor, fashion editor and art director all rolled into one. He loves an amazing shoe and bag, and has an eye for the more unusual composition that I find stimulating in my fashion head.  

This week in my mothership publication, the wonderful Grazia, I did a piece on Tommy Ton with a selection of pictures, but we could only fit in one. Because Tommy so kindly gave us several pictures to use, I thought it would be a shame to waste them, so I am showcasing them here.
What I like is that Tommy is capturing this Dior show as we journalists see it from the front row, complete with photographers, standing people, PR's, show producer's, discerning couture clients and of course the beautiful model in her Christian Dior Couture finery, in view.

When I tracked him down for Grazia I spent ten minutes outside the Chanel couture show on Rue Cambon asking hooded figures with cameras around their neck, are you Tommy Ton? Finally the real Tommy revealed himself.  And here is Tommy! How cute?

Tommy is wearing Alexander Wang boots

Later that day I interviewed him on the phone while he was trying to tap into some free wi-fi on the streets of Paris so he could send his pictures from the day to his blog. And he told me his story. He is 25 years old, and lives in a suburb of Toronto called Oakville with his Vietmamese parents. He started Jak & Jil four years ago, documenting the “not very glamorous” local Toronto nightlife because he was bored. "There wasn't much going on in Toronto." So he decided to spread his wings; "I wanted to take photos in the fashion capitals at their fashion weeks," he says. So that's what he did. I remember him in Paris a few years ago asking all us fashion editors if he could photograph our shoes. (He has a shoe fetish, how perfect and shiny are his Wang boots above?).  His perseverence has paid off; his talent has been spotted and he has been adopted by none other than Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld who has given him a page in this month's Paris Vogue. Not only Carine, in fact, but Anna Wintour too who is tapping him for the relaunch of later this spring. “At the Dior show I was sat behind Anna Wintour, and she turned to say “Hi” to me,” he says in amazement. He deserves the recognition. His pictures are beautifully composed, yet surprisingly he is not a trained photographer. “I just click away and hope...” he says, being modest. He definitely has the fashion eye; and he is in love with with fashion. “Fashion is everything to me; it’s all I care about” he says. Aaah.

I am anti-fur by trade, but even I have to admit that coat with those shoes on that bike with those glasses and the turban looks amazing.

Melanie xx
Photos (not of Tommy Ton) are by Tommy Ton for
Tommy Ton photos by an as yet unnamed friend....

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