Monday, April 04, 2005

Cindy Crawford: Paris 1984

Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at CINDY CRAWFORD was cast by photographer Steve Landis for her first magazine cover back in late July 1984 in Paris. . . .

Steve met Cindy Crawford at a small birthday party for another ELITE model, Stephanie Seymour at the Paris restaurant CHEZ FERNAND. Steve recalls that "It was an incredible evening if you really think about it, here at the same table together, and all just beginning their careers were three girls who would become the very definition of the word supermodel." (The third was Linda Evangelista, whom Steve Landis had already cast and booked for a hosiery advertising promotion with British VOGUE, which they would shoot on location in London a few weeks later.

"Sometimes the model agencies like to wine and dine the young photographers with the fashion models. And as used to being around beautiful women as we are,(fashion photographers that is), it was a special night to remember having Cindy Crawford seated next to me on my right Stephanie Seymour on my left, and Linda Evangelista across from me at the modelparty".

"I was really impressed with Cindy Crawford's look, and requested to her agency that she come to show me her book on a go- see (appointment) the next day. She did, and we had a conversation about her modeling experiences up till that point. I learned that she was from the outskirts of Chicago. After some early rough going, not being instantly accepted in that same town, Cindy Crawford had begun to work very regularly for the great local and internationally renowned photographer VICTOR SKREBNESKI".

"That summer, like so many other hopeful young models, Cindy Crawford had come to Paris to develop her book. After a brief stop in Italy, where, while working for PATRICK DEMARCHELIER, on a job for, I was told, Italian VOGUE, they'd convinced her into letting them chop off her long hair. Well, it may have been a beautiful summer in Paris, but let's just say Cindy was not too happy. Like so many young girls who get used to long hair for most of their lives, and equate that long hair with sexiness, the short cut was a bit of a shock to Cindy. I told her she looked very fresh and sexy, very modern actually. She didn’t buy it and told me that she was going to grow it out as soon as she could. She had her own opinion and didn’t care what others thought, she felt better with long hair and that was that".

"Well for me it was actually a great opportunity, that haircut, because I had just been assigned to photograph a beauty story on the subject of . . . short haircuts by the French fashion magazine 20 ANS . . . I needed to find four different girls with short haircuts or girls willing to cut their hair short. I actually already knew, that Cindy Crawford was destined to be a major star, and was determined not to let the opportunity to work with her, and have her in my book, slip away. But the pressure was on because she was only going to remain in Paris only for another week or so, before she went home to the States. (Sometimes you need not only talent but great timing to achieve something memorable. . . when in doubt, take the timing.) So I decided to take her with me personally, to the magazine's offices in the 15th district of Paris. When we got there, I immediately started telling them 'Isn't she great? Why don't we also do a cover try with her?' Well I must have been really anxious because I think I asked them at least three or four times before they agreed to let me also do the cover try with Cindy. Elisabeth Chicot did the fashion styling, while the highly talented make-up artist Mary Greenwell and the exceptional hair stylist Guillaume of Mod’s Hair in Paris completed the creative team. Shortly after I turned in the film from the shoot, the art director and editors confirmed to me that we did indeed have the October 1984 cover of 20ANS."

"A great thing about Cindy Crawford was that she really was humble, and had sort of a matter of fact attitude about her modeling. She did not realize at all, how much potential she had, and just how lucky she was, really being blessed to have one of those faces that the camera just loves. When I asked her about eventually moving to New York to take her modeling to the highest level, she seemed to think that things were going well enough in Chicago and why would she need to move to New York? I said because the top photographers in New York, such as the great RICHARD AVEDON, were going to love her. She really didn't know that she was that special".

"About one month later I was visiting with the late great director artistic, MARTIN SCHMULGRUBER, of FIGARO MADAME, in his office in Paris, and we were talking about of course what else, models. The conversation turned to Martin describing what he thought was a great model. He said, 'this is a great model' as he held up a sheet of film of Cindy Crawford. 'You see. . . I can use almost every single shot of her, more than thirty out of a roll of thirty six, I have so much choice. . . that to me is a great model.' I agreed and said that my experience had been similar, just having shot her for the 20ANS cover. He said that they had just decided to use her on a cover also, photographed by TOSCANI, on what turned out to be the next day after I'd shot her for 20ANS. It was funny, we were like little kids both claiming bragging rights as to who was first."

Cindy Crawford’s first cover and the "afiche" that hung in the streets all over Paris to promote the issue. 20Ans is a hip magazine for teenage girls in France. Over the years many girls who went on to much bigger fame got their start on the cover of 20Ans.

Photographer Steve Landis has taken pictures of super models, and young models alike, for over twenty years. He has photographed over 50 covers for a variety of leading international fashion magazines.

From the website of Steve Landis.


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