All fashionistas and photographers know the name of Patrick Demarchelier (born 21 August 1943 in Paris), one of the best French fashion photographers. He spent his childhood in Le Havre with his mother and four brothers. For his seventeenth birthday, his stepfather bought him his first Eastman Kodak camera. Demarchelier learned how to develop film, retouch negatives and began shooting friends and weddings.
In 1975, he left Paris for New York to follow his girlfriend. He discovered fashion photography by working as a freelance photographer and learning and working with photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Terry King, and Jacque Guilbert. His work drew the attention of Elle, Marie Claire and 20 Ans Magazine
He later worked for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, first in September 1992 which resulted in a 12-year collaboration. Demarchelier has shot international advertising campaigns for Dior, Louis Vuitton, Celine, TAG Heuer, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Lacoste, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.
Naomi Campbell by Patrick Demarchelier, 2005 for Pirelli Calender
In 2011 Patrick Demarchelier releases a book of his photographs of the very best of Dior Couture over the decades.
Dior is one of the most revered names in fashion, the archetype of the Parisian couture house. Famous for launching the “New Look, Christian Dior’s landmark first collection that marked a sea change in women’s dress after the Second World War, Dior is known today for its exquisite couture line of dramatic dresses. This book comprises a portfolio of portraits of over one hundred incredible gowns from the entire era of Christian Dior haute couture, including dresses designed by Dior himself. All of the images were shot by Patrick Demarchelier, known for his exquisite fashion portraits that grace the pages of Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and many other magazines.
Demarchelier is referenced in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada, when the “dragon lady”, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), asks Andy (Anne Hathaway), on her very first day on the job, “Did Demarchelier confirm?”, leaving her utterly confused. The first assistant Emily calmly jumps into action and calls his office, replying, “I have Patrick!” He also appears in the documentary The September Issue which is about Anna Wintour and American Vogue. He is called to do last-minute photographs for Grace Coddington after Edward Enniful were not sufficient.
He also appeared in a cameo in the film version of Sex and the City; he can be seen taking pictures during Carrie Bradshaw’s fashion shoot for Vogue magazine. He was featured prominently in the sixth episode of Cycle 15 of America’s Next Top Model. He was listed as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by the Guardian in March 2013.
In 2007, Christine Albanel, French Minister of Culture, honored Patrick Demarchelier as an Officer in l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Literature).
Natasha Poly by Patrick Demarchelier
Patrick Demarchelier was the official photographer of Princess Diana of Wales, becoming the first non-Briton to become an official photographer for the Royal Family.
About his work he says his secret is to try to meet people and make them feel good: “I talk to them so they can relax … The more relaxed they are, the better the picture will be.” Of course he make them feel great because his very professional photographs got style and soul.
Nadja, New York, 1995 – “Patrick Demarchelier: Part II” at Staley-Wise Gallery, New York City. September 27–November 30, 2013.
Nicole Kidman for Vanity Fair, December 2013 by Patrick Demarchelier