Patrick Demarchelier is maybe the most notorious fashion photographer of our times. When you say fashion photography, the first name coming up into your mind is of course Patrick Demarchelier. He has become a live legend in the fashion industry, one of those powerful people who have a heavy word to say in fashion.
Born and raised in France, he first started taking pictures when he was 17 years old and got his first photo camera. Back then, when he was only a teenager, he learned how to use a camera, how to develop a film, how to retouch negatives, and began shooting his friends, as well as wedding photography.
In 1975 Patrick Demarchelier moved to New York City. He made his debut in fashion photography by working as a freelance photographer. One of his first collaborations were while working with notable photographers of that time, and these collaborations forwarded his fashion photography career, when he caught attention of important fashion magazines like Marie Claire or Elle.
But his huge success as a fashion photographer was yet to come, when he first started a long-time collaboration with Vogue USA and Harper’s Bazaar magazines. Also, Demarchelier photographed international advertising campaigns for high fashion houses and brands like Calvin Klein, Chanel, Dior, Elizabeth Arden, GAP, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Lacoste, Lancome, L’Oréal, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Revlon, Yves Saint Laurent, and many others. Also, Patrick Demarchelier is the one to have shot the covers of nearly every major fashion magazine in North America and Europe, including Vogue in USA, UK and France.
He is also present in pop culture and made a few cameo appearances in fashion inspired movies like The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and Sex and the City (2008). For instance, in The Devil Wears Prada he is referenced by Miranda Priestly when she demands her new assistant Andrea on her very first work day at Runway magazine “Did Demarchelier comfirm?”, leaving Andrea utterly confused, as she has no idea what her boss is talking about (remember when she didn’t even know how to spell Gabbana). But Emily helps her out by calling Demarchelier’s office and shouting back to Miranda: “I have Patrick!” The second time when Patrick Demarchelier is mentioned in the movie, is some time later, when Andrea is more confident in her job as Miranda Priestly’s assistant. So when Miranda calls out to Andrea with the usual request “Get me Demarchelier!”, Andrea phones the photographer’s office with no trouble: “I have Miranda Priestly calling… ok… I have Patrick!” – just the same way Emily used to do that when she was Miranda’s second assistant.
In Sex and the City Patrick Demarchelier is seen during Carrie Bradshaw’s wedding photo shoot for Vogue, taking pictures and supervising the photo event.
A few years ago I knew very little about Patrick Demarchelier, a true icon of the fashion industry. But lately I started to learn more about him and admiring his visionary work as the most important fashion photographer of our times, especially since I started to write about fashion and read on fashion much more than I used to do before.