Clothes are more than just clothes. Thames & Hudson are drawing on the artistry behind the fashion industry in two new publications which bring together fashion and photography: Chanel: The Karl Lagerfeld Campaigns and Marc Jacobs Unseen. Both showcase the interior workings of two of the most iconic fashion houses, and both seek to capture the luxury, splendour and audaciousness of the designers’ creative legacies through the lens of a camera – and within the pages of book.
The glossy, glamorous, often irreverent and always compelling photographs which fill the pages of Marc Jacobs Unseen are just that: unseen. For the first time, Robert Fairer – backstage photographer with American Vogue for over a decade – is inviting an audience to view his archive of exclusive images taken behind the scenes at Marc Jacobs’ showcases between 1994 and 2012. As the first publication to focus on Marc Jacobs’ pioneering designs, the book offers up a stunning visual chronology of the fashion house’s increasingly daring innovations.
Jacobs made a name for himself in the 90s as a designer pushing at the boundaries of what was usual and accepted in fashion. His collaborations with artists, musicians and icons like Sonic Youth, Sofia Coppola and Chloë Sevigny earned him the reputation of a brand that refused to stay put within the constraints of pure clothing design. In Marc Jacobs Unseen, models are captured looking flushed and animated, dancing, laughing unrestrainedly or striking exaggerated poses, chins lifted high and hips thrust to the side. Striking, vibrant and loud, Fairer’s photographs radiate with the creative atmosphere which buzzes and fizzes at the edge of the catwalk and behind the bright lights of the shows.
Featuring an essay by Rachel Feinstein, an artist and close friend of Marc Jacobs, Marc Jacobs Unseen offers an exclusive glimpse into the designer’s personality, artistry and innovations by drawing back the curtain which separates viewer and performer, buyer and brand.
With Chanel: The Karl Lagerfeld Campaigns, we gain direct insight through Karl Lagerfeld’s own eyes into the collections which took to the catwalks under his leadership. From 1987 onwards, he decided that, rather than relying on fashion photographers, he would shoot the campaigns himself. In doing so, he not only shook up the expectations that went along with the role of a fashion designer, but he was able to meticulously craft and curate the images that would represent his brand and thus construct its visual identity in perfect harmony with his vision.
The photographs presented in the book showcase notable Chanel Haute Couture and Ready-to-Wear collections, and feature iconic faces like Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Kirsten Stewart and Lily Rose Depp. Collectively, the campaign images are testament to Karl Lagerfeld’s dedication to upholding the house of Chanel by applying himself to every aspect of the brand. He is a designer who knows his own mind and who has a clear conception of Chanel’s purpose and future. Who else, other than Karl Lagerfeld, would Karl Lagerfeld trust to shoot the Karl Lagerfeld campaigns?