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The Roxanne Lowit Interview

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Kate Moss, Photo by Roxanne Lowit, 1994.

Nolan Bryant is one of my favorite people and I am thrilled to debut his new column exclusively for Curate that will combine his flare for fashion & vintage with his talents as a photographer and dashing "Man about Town". For his inaugural column he interviews the photographer Roxanne Lowit as she hit Toronto for the opening of her exhibit. We are very pleased to have Nolan act as our roving vintage eye to capture and cover the parties and events right here in our back yard!

Karl Lagerfeld calls photographer Roxanne Lowit “fashion’s historian”. Proving it is her remarkable archive of fashion and celebrity photographs spanning four decades. Lowit began taking pictures backstage at fashion shows as a way to capture the people she wanted to paint. Her work caught the eye of SoHo Weekly News editor Annie Flanders who sent Roxanne to Paris to take pictures for the paper’s style section. Lowit found herself at the top of the Eiffel tower with Yves Saint Laurent and Andy Warhol. The rest is fashion history.

“Toujours Glamour” Roxanne’s first Canadian exhibition opened last week at Toronto’s Izzy Gallery. The show includes some of her greatest and most recognized works. I had a chance to interview the legendary photographer for Dolce Magazine’s spring issue. For my fist Curate post I thought I would share some of my favorite Roxanne Lowit photos and a few of the wonderful stories she shared with me.

Included in the exhibition is arguably one of Roxanne’s most iconic images- Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington; the holy trinity captured camping it up during their heyday. “They were amazing. They really were supermodels and truly earned their name. They were real supermodels, they were glamorous and fantastic” Roxanne told me when I asked about the iconic snapshot.

Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington, Photo by Roxanne Lowit, 1989.

 

Also included in the exhibition is the photograph of Martine Boutron that Roxanne captured in Paris. She told me the woman loved her breasts and loved to expose them- she would have the front panels of her garments removed so she could show them off!

Martine Boutron, Photo by Roxanne Lowit, 1982.

 

Although not included in the exhibition, I just had ask about a photo Roxanne took of Nan Kempner, Fran Stark, and Jacqueline de Ribes, that has always been a favorite of mine. Roxanne said the ladies had already been together at lunch earlier in that day but they weren’t through gossiping- that evening at a glamorous function the three picked up right where they left off. O, to be a fly on that wall!

Nan Kempner, Fran Stark, and Jacqueline de Ribes, Photo by Roxanne Lowit, 1984.

 

Roxanne has been photographing Kate Moss since she began modeling and the supermodel is a reoccurring face in the exhibition. I wanted to know what it was that Roxanne loved so much about her. “Everything! She is so easy to take pictures of she loves having her picture taken and the camera loves her” Roxanne told me.

Kate Moss, Photos by Roxanne Lowit. (L) Paris, 1993. (R) In Galliano, Paris, 1994.

 

I wondered who she thought embodied that same spirit in the past and was surprised with her answer. “Salvador Dali” she told me with a smile. I love this photo of Dali, Janet Daily and the recipient of his kiss that Roxanne captured New Years Eve, 1979 in New York.

Salvador Dali, Janet Daily and the Recipient of a Kiss, Photo by Roxanne Lowit, Restaurant Laurent, 1979.

 

Lowit has worked with major brands to create stunning ad campaigns. “When Gianfranco Ferré was at Dior I was the photographer who did the advertising and Carla Bruni [who later became the first lady of France] was the model…we had a lot of fun doing it” she said of the experience. This Christian Dior Haute Couture ad from 1995 beautifully illustrates the kind of candid glamour that she is known for. “I wanted to bring the same energy, I wanted to have fun doing it and make it glamorous and gorgeous” Roxanne told me.

Christian Dior Haute Couture Ad, Photo by Roxanne Lowit, 1995.

 

Roxanne has used her massive archive to produce stunning books like “Backstage Dior” and “Moments”. Her latest book, out this year is all about Yves Saint Laurent and will explore the backstage experience that Lowit captured over the last twenty-five years of his career. Roxanne spent a week with Saint Laurent as his official photographer when he was in New York putting together the retrospective of his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Fun fact, the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition under the direction of Diana Vreeland in 1983 was the first ever to be done on a living designer!)

Yves Saint Laurent in New York, Photo by Roxanne Lowit, 1983.

 

Roxanne continues to photograph the next generation of glamorous creatures and regularly posts photos of them along with snapshots and stories from the past on her blog. Roxanne Lowit’s “Toujours Glamour” is at Izzy Gallery, 106 Yorkville Ave., until March 15.

Roxanne Lowit at opening party, Photo by Nolan Bryant.

 

Photo by Nolan Bryant.

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