29.06.2015 - Dries Tack


A fashion photographer and founder of the digital platform Catwalk Pictures, for the past twenty years Belgian-born Etienne Tordoir has been covering all the fashion weeks but also the shows put on by the Belgian fashion schools. An opportunity to talk to him about the new challenges facing his profession, but also about his vision of the young creative movement.

Etienne Tordoir got into fashion through music. A native of Charleroi, at the age of 16 he started writing for the local press. His chosen field: music. In the 80s, he penned his first articles for the magazine Marie Claire, including one on the stage costumes designed by Versace for Elton John. When asked about his most memorable moments, Etienne Tordoir also mentions the meeting he orchestrated between the singer PJ Harvey and Ann Demeulemeester, but also his photographs of the Dries Van Noten show in Paris in 1985: the real starting point of his career as a fashion photographer.

© Etienne Tordoir for Belgian Boutique
© Etienne Tordoir for Belgian Boutique

The turning point

In 2004, Etienne Tordoir launched the digital platform Catwalk Pictures. “The fashion industry was changing. Everything was picking up speed. Today, clients want the photos of the shows even before the last model has left the catwalk”, he explains. While the pace of fashion has changed, the ephemeral nature of its business continues to motivate him. “When I see a silhouette, I’m still driven by the desire to capture the right light and the details of each garment.... even at the end of a fashion week when I’ve already photographed hundreds of shows. By creating Catwalk Pictures I both anticipated the needs of the sector, but I also helped boost a demand that sometimes defies belief”.

© Etienne Tordoir for Belgian Boutique
© Etienne Tordoir for Belgian Boutique

The Belgian exception

While the reality and new challenges of the sector remain at the heart of his concerns, Etienne Tordoir continues to be a keen observer of everything that touches on the young creative movement: “in Belgium, fashion students are lucky to be trained in public structures that are part of art schools. This is no longer the case everywhere. In London, for example, the Saint Martin’s fashion show has clearly gone down a commercial route. They teach business, more than pure creation. While I’m the first to deplore the fact that young Belgian designers are not better versed in some of the realities of the sector, I’m convinced of the need to observe, support and encourage young artists”.  

© Etienne Tordoir for Belgian Boutique
© Etienne Tordoir for Belgian Boutique

New challenges

Partner of the fashion and photography festival in Hyères for 20 years, former President of Modo Bruxellae, Etienne Tordoir has now joined forces with the AWEX. An opportunity to link the work of young designers to the world of export. He talks pragmatically about this new, more institutional approach to his photographic work and his comments are not tinged by any weariness or boredom. Because in twenty years in the business, he has learned that a fashion photographer can be surprised at any time. When that happens, the silhouette is visible for only a moment, giving him just enough time to revel in its beauty before taking the shot.



Marie Honnay for Belgian Boutique

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