“Observe the fingers. If they look short and stumpy in proportion to the rest of the palm – one may be sure that the individual to whom they belong is of an animal nature, possessing coarse instincts, devoid of real intellectuality and belonging to the lower order of humanity.” So said the great palmist Cheiro in Palmistry for All (1916). Left, Aleksandr, wearing a suit jacket and trousers by Emporio Armani, a T-shirt by Calvin Klein Jeans and shoes by Jimmy Choo, offers his palm to Nicole, whose clothes are all by Kenzo, to read. Right, Nicole, wearing a top by Versace, contemplates a palm.
Left, Nicole studies the signs in her poncho and boots by Redemption Choppers. For, as the Department for Transport puts it, in its helpful pamphlet Know Your Traffic Signs (2007): “In such cases the bay will not be marked ‘LOADING ONLY’; it is therefore important to read the upright signs to see who can use the bay.” Right, all of Nicole’s clothes, accessories and notebooks are by Prada.
“You know, anyone who wears glasses, in one sense or another, is a cyborg. And anyone who relies on technology in daily life to extend their human capacity is a cyborg as well. So I don’t think that there is anything to be feared from the very category of cyborg,” said Evgeny Morozov, Silicon Valley’s most sensible critic, in 2012. Certainly, Nicole’s glasses by Gucci fundamentally extend her physical abilities beyond normal human limitations. Or, as Morozov put it, “We have always been cyborgs and always will be.”
Kathy Acker once wrote, “I have become interested in languages which I cannot make up, which I cannot create or even create in: I have become interested in languages which I can only come upon (as I disappear), a pirate upon buried treasure. The dreamer, the dreaming, the dream. I call these languages, languages of the body.” Left, Nicole and Aleksandr both wear sweatshirts by G-Star RAW. Nicole wears trousers by Kenzo and Aleksandr wears trousers by Alexander McQueen. Right, dreaming together, Aleksandr wears a jumper by Paul Smith with a vest and trousers by Calvin Klein Limited Edition Capsule Collection, while all Nicole’s clothes are by Joseph.
When Gustave Flaubert said, so famously, that one should not read “as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction”, he had likely never assembled a flat-pack dining table. Aleksandr, left, is DIY-ready and wearing a T-shirt by Les Benjamins and jeans by Diesel Black Gold. On the right, Nicole wears a shirt by Alexander McQueen and glasses by Prada.
Left, Aleksandr reads Nicole’s lips while wearing a jumper by Levi’s Made and Crafted and sunglasses by Persol. All of Nicole’s clothes are by MSGM. Right, Aleksandr wears clothes by Gucci and sits with his legs crossed in the “figure four” position, signalling that he is “guileless, unafraid and poised for a challenge”, according to Mark Ford’s Body Language and Behaviorial Profiling (2010).
Reading between the lines has a long heritage in philosophy argues Arthur Metzler in Philosophy Between the Lines: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing (2014). He quotes Alexandre Kojève, who stated that, “One ought not to take literally everything that the great authors of earlier times wrote, nor to believe that they made explicit in their writings all that they wanted to say in them.” Left, Aleksandr, certainly no stranger to the esoteric tradition in philosophy, wears a jumper, cardigan and scarf by Sonia Rykiel. Right, Nicole wears a jumper by Acne Studios and jeans by Levi’s Made and Crafted.
“As long as the faculty of perceiving the aura is confined to a few individuals,” Walter J. Kilner sagely noted in The Human Atmosphere (1911), “and ordinary people have no means of corroboration or refutation, the door to imposture is open.” But around Aleksandr, left – wearing three Polo Ralph Lauren jumpers and jeans by Levi’s Made and Crafted and Nicole, right – whose clothes are all by MSGM – an aura glows.
“I must tip him the cold shoulder,” says Jekyl of Professor Jackson in Sir Walter Scott’s St Ronan’s Well (1824), “or he will be pestering me eternally.” Left, Nicole, who wears a T-shirt by Calvin Klein Jeans, a jumper by Equipment and shorts by G-Star RAW, gives the cold shoulder to Aleksandr, right, who wears a jacket by BOSS, a T-shirt by Calvin Klein Jeans, jeans by Levi’s Made and Crafted and a ring and bracelet by Tiffany & Co.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind,” wrote Miguel de Cervantes in Don Quixote (1605). Both Aleksandr, left, whose clothes are all by Givenchy, and Nicole, right, who wears a coat by Miu Miu and sunglasses by Chanel Eyewear, are drowning in books, desperately trying not to lose their minds.
Photography: Sohrab Golsorkhi-Ainslie / Womenswear styling: Nobuko Tannawa / Menswear styling: Bobby Hook / Set design: Danny Hyland / Hair: Maki Tanaka using Bumble and bumble / Make-up: Natsumi Narita using MAC cosmetics / Videography: Stine Deja / Photography assistant: Mathias Ribe / Styling assistant: Frankie Berchielli-Jones / Set design assistants: Jess Rogers and Lisa Wardle / Models: Nicole Atieno at Wilhelmina and Aleksandr at Next Models