In pictures: an ode to girlhood, friendship and Y2K fashion (2024)

In pictures: an ode to girlhood, friendship and Y2K fashion (2)


As a love letter to the people they grew up with, Dean Davies and James Perolls document the life, times and style of a group of friends coming of age in the 00s

Dean Davies and James Perolls, Lost and Found (2024)11

Slingbacks, asymmetrical hems, capris, thick winged eyeliner, two strands of hair slicked down the side of each cheek… since the revival of Y2K aesthetics, a lot of these things have made a riotous comeback. We’re seeing Tumblr angst all over Tiktok, Instagram feeds being tinted with Valencia and Sierra filters, and the need for nostalgia seeping into the desires of both Gen Z and millennials alike. The same can be said for Dean Davies and James Perolls, two long-term friends born in 80s, who have brought their teenage experiences of the era into their collaborative photobook, Lost and Found.

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The pair – who both explore the dynamics of relationships in their work – decided to embark on their first collaboration last summer. Davies, an image-maker born in 1989 in Wirral, in the northwest of England, has built a portfolio replete with straight-up, familiar documentations of youth inspired by his years growing up in Merseyside. Perolls, a photographer and director based in London, and a child of the 1990s, has an archive filled with cinematic storytelling, shooting models in sunkissed dreamscapes and complex worlds. With Davies on the styling and Perolls on photography, they merged their perspectives to document coming-of-age between a group of four. “This was an opportunity to create a story that focused on something universal – friendship in the formative years of adolescence,” Davies tells Dazed.

To illustrate this tale, casting director Lucy Howell found London-based models Miriam, Ruby, Sashuana and Sibilla, a group of strangers who would perform the role of close friends. Reenacting the dreams, fears and self-discovery of girlhood, they’re photographed listening to music on the floor, snapped mid-pout as they apply their makeup – brushes, polish and reference material from a teen mag splayed on the bed – and getting dressed up to perch on the wall outside (the adolescent equivalent of the pub).

“It’s a love letter to the people and places I grew up around – particularly women and outer-city fashion of that era” – Dean Davies

These undeniably joyful times are contrasted with more earnest moments. There’s discord in one image, for example, as one of the girls is slightly at a distance from the rest, a solemn expression on her face as she gazes to the floor. In another, they’re bickering in the hallway. “We wanted to show togetherness within friendship but also moments of friction and indifference at this formative moment of adolescence,” says Perolls. “It was important for us that the interactions between the models felt genuine, so on the shoot day we explained the storyline for each scene, provided some light direction and allowed the models to play out the scenes in a way that felt natural to them. The girls initiated interactions amongst themselves for a lot of the shots and assumed different roles and characters [...] Observing them embody the roles and engage with each other was exactly what we were looking to capture.”

In pictures: an ode to girlhood, friendship and Y2K fashion (14)

Friendships can often be identified by the certain uniform worn by its participants – the subtle repetition of brands, colours or cuts, each customised and tweaked to suit the individual personality of the wearer (Jane Norman bags, perfectly coiffed side-parts and UGG boots are an old-time, personal favourite). “These similarities of dress allowed people to associate and present themselves within a group, but even more interesting to me were the slight differences from outfit to outfit and person to person,” says Davies. “When developing the styling for this project I established ‘group outfits’ to communicate a sense of belonging within the friendship group and from there developed each girl’s outfits individually to allow their personality to shine through.” The clothing is a pastiche of vintage, high street and designer from the 2000s up until the present day, chosen “to achieve a sense of timelessness”, says Davies. Rebecca Chang was enrolled for the hair, and Linda Johansson for the make-up, who each brought their own vision and interpretation of the references from that era to the project.

Perolls juxtaposes these louder fashion choices from the noughties with softer, quieter moments between the girls: lazing about the kitchen, waiting at the bus stop, idly wandering the poolside of the family home, a chat by the beach hut in Kent. Shot in his signature style, the images exude a sense of vitality and theatricality; they’re gentle but equally speak to the experiences of countless girls who sought out friendships and fashion growing up. Lost and Found is for friends – and girls – everywhere, the millennials who grew up in this era and everyone else who’s embracing it now. “It’s a love letter to the people and places I grew up around – particularly women and outer-city fashion of that era,” says Davies. “We hope that those who view this project will be able to connect with it through their own experiences and associations, whether that is through its depiction of friendship in the formative years of adolescence or through the sense of time, place and fashion.”

Lost and Found by James Perolls and Dean Davies is available now.

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In pictures: an ode to girlhood, friendship and Y2K fashion (2024)
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