WWD cover of fashion model wearing chanelmodel wearing Kenzo on wwd cover
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  Chanel Couture show, Paris   Kenzo, Jardin du Palais Royal  
  Backstage   WWD cover October 20, 1982  
  WWD cover February 4, 1983    

I asked Patrick McCarthy to assign me to shoot a beauty and accessories story, backstage at the Paris fashion shows.  New York approved the idea and this feature became a recuring assignment for several years during show seasons.  Karl Lagerfeld complimented me on my "beautiful portraits," one day.

More Paris WWD assignments.

About the photographer . .
Steve Landis has travelled through many parts of the world during a career in professional photography incorporating the areas of photojournalism, fashion, beauty, and celebrity portrait photography for major publications for over 25 years.  Steve has turned his life over to Yeshua the Messiah, (Jesus the Christ) and now primarily photographs weddings, family, actor, and executive portraits.

"I have been greatly blessed during my life and give the glory and thanks to Yeshua for a renewed life of peace and joy," states Landis. 




See an enlarged color shot of this model wearing this same outfit.

During show week, I would often have almost overlapping assignments.   I would often shoot a beauty and accessories feature, backstage at the shows.   This day, I was coming  directly from a fashion show, to Kenzo's design house, with my assistant, in order to meet my editors, who had gone on ahead.  Only in this case, they were not merely my editors, but the bosses, Paris Bureau chief Patrick McCarthy and Publisher John Fairchild.  Everyone has their Mr. Fairchild stories and I do too.  This is a mild one. 

We announced ourselves, to the less than cordial French receptionist, on the ground floor of Kenzo's building.  She tells us to wait.   After several minutes I politely try to explain to her that we are expected and I don't want to be late.  Well, I don't want to pick on the French, but, she basically ignored us.  I think I tried four or five times and finally, after it must have been 20 minutes, they cleared up the misunderstanding (hers) and we went upstairs.  Here comes the good part.  Mr. Fairchild was so annoyed,with me, I suppose he thought I was just irresponsibly, (not fashionably,) late.  Already on his way out, to go to another show, I tried to explain to him what had happened, to not much effect.  I asked if he had any instructions for the photo I was about to do.

Fairchild told me, "Well you are supposed to be so brilliant, you figure something out, ... and don't give me any of that beautiful lighting crap!"

That made me feel ... good?  Well, I'm not sure if good is the right word, but in one sense I was relieved that I would be on my own, and not have editors watching over me.  I later figured out that the receptionist had been told that an important appointment (WWD — Mr. Fairchild and Mr. McCarthy, they forgot us) was coming and they should not be disturbed.  The only problem was the head PR person did not realize that we'd be arriving separately, and I don't think dared to ask Mr. Fairchild where the photographer was.  And the receptionist didn't dare disturb the PR person.

We went to the nearby Jardin du Palais Royal to shoot with the model.  As I am ready to shoot I asked my assistant for my light meter, to take a reading.  He realized that he'd left it, with our other gear back at the fashion shows.  We had no time to go back to get it.   So I took a deep breath, and decided that, based on Mr. Fairchild enthusiastic vote of confidence, I had nothing to worry about.  I calmed myself, I can't remember if I prayed or not, but told myself that I knew what I was doing, and through memory, I set my cameras.  Many of you might wonder, what's the big deal?  This was before automatic cameras.  I was using a Nikon F.   Even now, I use mostly manual cameras which give you more creative control.  Well my memory and instinct worked out for the best, and I continued to work with W and WWD for years to come .  




All photographs and other content contained herein is owned by and Copyright 1975-2003 by Steve Landis.This web page Copyright 2003 by Steve Landis.  All other rights are reserved.

To contact Steve Landis please e-mail: For work related inquiries please write "Photo Work" in the Subject heading.All photographs ©stevelandis 1975—2003. All other rights reserved.