Monday, December 6, 2010

Stephanie Seymour

Stephanie Seymour first came to my attention way back in January 1989, when she appeared on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine in a photo taken by the late Herb Ritts. The image was mesmerizing and I remember being rendered speechless by her natural beauty. 

Stephanie was discovered at the age of fourteen in the Elite Look of the Year competition in 1983, alongside Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Tatjana Patitz. Though she didn't win, Stephanie was promptly signed by Elite and sent to Paris and Milan before moving to New York from her hometown in San Diego. 

The early years of Stephanie's career were spent grunt modelling, gaining experience working with the most influential French and Italian photographers including Hans Feurer and Antoine Verglas. Stephanie's career went into overdrive when she was photographed by Herb Ritts for Rolling Stone and Playboy magazine. In an interview for Pop magazine issue no. 18, Stephanie describes how "Herb really changed everything for me. I did many pictures with Herb completely naked but that was Herb Ritts. I considered him an artist and that was very serious to me. I started working with Herb constantly. And I think that really, really changed my career." 

Stephanie was also a great favourite of the late Richard Avedon who photographed her for the first time for an American Vogue cover in 1988. In the same interview for Pop magazine Stephanie recounts how "he (Avedon) really saw how eager I was, and he liked that. And he saw that he could really take me anywhere and that I was able to do anything he wanted me to do. No matter how many times I would fall on my face, I would get up and do it again. And I would try anything he wanted me to try. So it was always an artistic experience. I totally trusted him." The admiration was mutual with Avedon praising Seymour; "she combines a perfect body with a dynamite brain and a heart that's always in the right place."

In an interview for US Hello magazine in 1996, Seymour attributes her success in part to how "In my case, I think I was lucky to be photographed very young by great photographers like Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Michel Comte and Herb Ritts. They force you to move better, to really bring out the best in yourself." This sentiment was reiterated again in Pop magazine; "There's a really big difference between being a great model and a pro, and really knowing how to move and be photographed. You learn and you train yourself to know exactly what things look like even without a mirror in front of you."

Stephanie has had an astonishing modelling career spanning over two decades and is one of the few models of her generation who has been able to combine commercial success with more creative projects. Stephanie's roster of clients include the likes of Victoria's Secret, Sports Illustrated, Playboy, and beauty contracts with Maybelline, Almay, Helena Rubenstein and L'Oreal as well as advertising campaigns for Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Helmut Lang, Marc Jacobs, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Allessandro Dell'Acqua, Salvatore Ferragamo and the GAP. She is a longtime muse of Azzedine Alaia and was the subject of a photographic book lensed by Juergen Teller. The book entitled MORE was published in 2002 and was photographed over a two year period. In 1996, L'Egoiste magazine (issue no. 13) published an entire portfolio of images of Stephanie, photographed by the legendary Avedon, representing women through the ages. POP Magazine also  dedicated an entire issue to Stephanie Seymour with accompanying interviews and editorials as well as accolades from fashion industry key note players. The following collection of images of Stephanie speak for themselves.

Mademoiselle - January 1989
Photographer - Herb Ritts

US Vogue - March 1988
Photographer - Richard Avedon

Self - March 1989
Photographer - Unknown

US Elle - March 1992
Photographer - Gilles Bensimon
Source -

British Vogue - December 1989
Photographer -  Herb Ritts

LA Style - October 1989
Photographer - Herb Ritts

In Fashion - May 1988
Photographer - Alex Chatelain

Mademoiselle - June 1989
Photographer - Jacques Malignon

Harpers Bazaar - May 1990
Photographer - Matthew Rolston

US Vogue - February 1995
Photographer - Steven Meisel

Self - February 1994
Photographer - Unknown

W Magazine - August 1998
Photographer - Michael Thompson

Cosmopolitan - February 1994
Photographer - Francesco Scavullo

US Vogue - June 1989
Photographer - Herb Ritts

French Elle - August 1989
Photographer - Antoine Verglas

Italia Vogue - December 1988
Photographer - Herb Ritts

Stephanie with Azzedine Alaia
Paradis Magazine FW 2007
Photographer - Juergen Teller

US Vogue - September 1994
Photographer - Juergen Teller

L'Egoiste - Issue no.13
Photographer - Richard Avedon

US Vogue - May 1989
Photographer - Arthur Elgort

Rolling Stone - May 1989
Photographer - Herb Ritts

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