Courageous is perhaps too strong a word, but “gutsy,” that works. Eight women accepted the offer from French “Elle” magazine to be photographed by Peter Lindbergh without the slightest trace of makeup.
For years I’ve seen beautiful or even simply every day fresh, pretty young women walk into photo studios before a magazine shoot. They arrive bare-faced, wet hair, jeans and a T-shirt — the untouched canvases waiting to be turned into glamorous images for whatever message or product they were hired to “sell”. Blessed by nature even when they’re completely au naturel, once in the hands of the hair and makeup people they are transformed into something beyond themselves and as actresses and models often admit it is this mask that sets them free to carry on with their jobs.
I think it was absolutely brilliant of Elle to have the idea and then convince: Sophie Marceau, Inés de la Fressange, Eva Herzigova, Monica Bellucci, Chiara Mastrionni, Charlotte Rampling, Karin Viard and Anne Parillaud to agree to the proposition. Each woman is absolutely beautiful in the Lindbergh black and white photos and he obviously made them feel comfortable in their own skin without the protection of artifice.
Oh yes, there was no post photo re-touching either we’re told.
Not one of the women is in her 20s. From their 30s through, 40s, 50s and into the 60s each one is truly stunning in her own way. More than that I think it’s the most honest piece of fashion/beauty journalism I can ever remember seeing.
If you find the April 11 issue of the magazine, I recommend you buy it. (Pictured from the top: Eva Herzigova, Sophie Marceau, Anne Parillaud and Charlotte Rampling. All the photos of course by Peter Lindbergh.)