There's nothing like an 18-foot-long anaconda to upstage a rock star. Never mind it's a marvelously rumpled and completely insouciant Alice Cooper in a tux, doffing a top hat and clutching a cane. It's the 160-pound snake, draped over his shoulders and across his lap, its fat, scaly skin iridescent, that's the show stealer.
Talk about putting the squeeze on. Which is entirely the point of John Varvatos' fall 2007 ad campaign. It's the designer's sixth season showcasing rock stars -- past seasons have featured Iggy Pop, the guys from Velvet Revolver and Chris Cornell. But this one is wonderfully freaky in a way none of the others were -- just the right clash of ingredients: man, reptile and this dreamy evocation of Regency glam that Varvatos found at a friend's 1920s estate in the Hollywood Hills where the photo was taken.
For his part, Cooper plays it just right, the expression on his face somewhere between nonchalance and ennui as if this were just another day in his rock 'n' roll life. "Good thing I wasn't wearing a snakeskin suit," he joked backstage after Varvatos' show at New York fashion week. "It might have been a relative."
For the shoot, Varvatos enlisted rock photographer Danny Clinch (they've done this before), and creative director Stephen Niedzwiecki. "We know Alice is all about the snakes," Varvatos said. "So Stephen and I thought we'd get a couple of monster ones and decide once we got in the room whether or not it worked."