This season, Barneys New York and photographer Juergen Teller are toasting the twelfth time collaborating on campaigns—a milestone truly worth celebrating—with the release of, “Red Carpet,” Barneys’ Fall 2016 offering. Building on the string of memorable shoot locations that include New Orleans, Tel Aviv, Palermo, and most recently Miami’s Art Basel, “Red Carpet” takes an irreverent look at fashion using the Cannes Film Festival in France as a backdrop. Though Cannes is known for its art, clothes, and celebrities, Teller’s images apply his unique outsider view to the festival.
“Following up on the story we did at Art Basel last season, we wanted to continue to build on our distinct narrative,” Barneys creative director Dennis Freedman says of the campaign. “We go to one of these cultural events and work around it to tell our take on the story, from the outside looking in. We wanted to tell a story about Cannes without physically being inside the festival.”
Barneys and Teller partnered to put the focus on locations other than Cannes’ legendary red carpet, using locations like a private villa overlooking the festival with its own carpet, a yacht anchored in the Mediterranean, and the home of art collector and photographer Jean (Johnny) Pigozzi, who also makes cameos throughout the campaign.
“It was important to have Johnny actually present in some of the photos, because he’s such a fixture of the festival itself and gives a lunch for it every year, which is part of the whole social world of the film festival,” Freedman says. “He’s an incredible colorful, photogenic, and iconic figure, so it made a big difference for the overall story we were telling.”
In addition to Teller, the campaign also tapped the talents of other renowned artists like legendary makeup man Dick Page, Lily McMenamy and Eva Herzigová—who are both known for their work as actresses as well as models—stylist Poppy Kain, and hair stylist Syd Hayes. In honor of their work, we reached out to some of these amazing people to find out the stories that the pictures don’t tell—the inside tales from the set itself.
Read on to learn more about the making of “Red Carpet,” then head to Barneys to pick up some of the new fall fashion that the campaign features.
Dennis Freedman: The paparazzi would come out early in the morning, set up their ladders to save their spot along the red carpet, and then go back to bed. So while they were away, we snuck in and used these ad hoc press risers. It’s about the moment between moments as far as the festival. It was a reference to the red carpet—but not. It’s our own take on it.
Dennis Freedman: Again, going back to the film festival, we wanted to reference the prize given at Cannes, the Palme d’Or, so we basically just took gold spray paint and painted this palm frond as our own nod to the festival.
The Cannes villa the Barneys team stayed at featured its own red-carpet-clad staircase, which Juergen Teller put to use in shooting Lily McMenamy.
Lily McMenamy: Well, I was on my way to bed when Juergen asked for a photograph. So, I thought if I went upside down straightaway, then I would get to sleep sooner.
Dennis Freedman: Lily is an actress, and a lot of the pictures took shape because she would create a scene or scenario—she was always improvising. She becomes a character, which gives an amazing story to each image and is why she’s so interesting to photograph. Here, she was playing kind of a boss and told the guy, “Follow me.” She was rather dominating, and he was sort of her servant. We spun off from there.
Since, as Dennis notes, Lily’s acting constantly came into play, we asked her if Juergen gave her any specific characters to keep in mind or roles to play during the shoot.
Lily McMenamy: A monster vamp. Elizabeth Taylor hitting Cannes as written by JG Ballard. Eva Herzigová’s sapphic girlslave. The zombie of a 1950s swimwear model back for revenge. Carrie Bradshaw’s evil twin. No, just kidding. I was being myself.
Also of note for this image is the makeup, created by renowned artist Dick Page.
Dick Page: Talking to Juergen, Dennis, Poppy, and Syd, we thought it would be cool for the girls to have quite distinct characters, and not radically change their makeup and hair looks shot-by-shot. As Eva and Lily are such different women, I had the idea to do the same make up on each of them: a bold red lip and a subtly defined eye and brow.
Dennis Freedman: There was a kind of gym set up at the villa, outside on this AstroTurf fake grass. The villa itself was a combination of luxe and tacky—it had the right balance of a luxurious past and a very tacky present, which in a way encapsulates the festival itself. There’s the glamour and the sense of the past, but there are also these moments of tackiness, with paparazzi and everything. It’s the South of France’s answer to Hollywood.
Dennis Freedman: This was shot in the pool of the villa we rented near the festival, and that is Juergen himself in the shot. I just thought it made a very strong picture to have him in it, the way he’s holding the camera and the positions of their bodies.
Also, our golden palm makes a second appearance in Lily’s hand.
Dick Page: In terms of keeping the shoot consistent across settings, it really comes down to the models’ characters. Juergen likes a bit of playacting sometimes for his pictures, so he was able to capture their very specific way of ‘being’ for the camera.
Freedman likens this image to a surrealist take on the classic Grant Wood painting, American Gothic.
Dennis Freedman: This is a little gardening shed that was right next to the house at our villa. It was very strange, to be doing almost a formal portrait but skewed by the scale of this miniature cottage. It was an irresistible image.
From all of the amazing people involved in this project, it was clear that one of the highlights of shoot was the experience of being at Jean Pigozzi’s swimming pool, one of the most iconic locations in Cannes for a certain subset of festival attendees. While their stories were numerous, a selection follows.
Poppy Kain: One of the most memorable moments was shooting at Jean Pigozzi’s ‘Villa Dorane’ in Cap d’Antibes. We shot around his infamous blue backyard swimming pool, which was filled with brightly colored inflatable animals and has views of the ocean.It was the day before his annual pool party—an event attended every year by supermodels, politicians, artists, rock stars, and royals—Mick Jagger had just arrived and there was a bit of a buzz in the air.
Lily McMenamy: Having an aperol spritz with Mick Jagger by the pool was not bad.
Dennis Freedman: Johnny’s pool is iconic in its own right as far as Cannes. Shooting there was an inside gesture. We try to tell the story of this cultural happening, but do it our own way by shooting around it.
Jean Pigozzi: It was really fun to be photographed by Juergen, and I’m ready to do it again. Any time he wants to use me again I’m available for free!
Dennis Freedman: This is at Johnny’s pool, and it’s his own float. Johnny has a collection of pool floats, and this one immediately struck us as the perfect way to shoot this still life. It was luck. Accessories that looked good enough to eat became pizza toppings.
The shoot at Pigozzi’s home spilled beyond the house itself and onto the beach facing the sea.
Dennis Freedman: Every picture with Johnny, we had him change his outfit because he has the most incredible wardrobe. So these are his own clothes, and in this picture the yellow shoes really jump out.
Jean Pigozzi: One of the most fun parts was when, after he’d finished the shoot, Juergen did some nudes of Lily holding a big plate on the rocks in front of the house. There were a few very surprised tourists walking around!
While Pigozzi’s home and pool have been photographed many, many times for various projects over the years, that doesn’t mean this shoot was without its own novelty for him.
Jean Pigozzi: I was impressed by how quickly Juergen worked, in that he had no lights, no nothing, as if he were just taking pictures of his children. It was a very, very easy shoot, and very fast. The model—Lily—was really fun, jumping around and making strange faces. She wasn’t the typical beautiful blonde who just smiles. She was much more like an actress, much more comedic. I was impressed that they chose a girl like that.
Poppy Kain: Jean features in a few of the shots in his own brightly colored wardrobe. He’s a larger than life character and a photographer, too.
The sharp-eyed observer will note a recurrent theme in several of the campaign’s images: the inclusion of dinner plates. This was thanks to the sly hand of Juergen Teller himself, who recently created an exhibition in Bonn, Germany, featuring his artwork printed on the tableware.
Poppy Kain: In German Teller means plate, so the featuring of dinner plates in these images ties in to the bigger body of Juergen’s work at the moment. The nature of these shoots is that they are quite un-staged—often Juergen would hand the model a plate to see how they used it in the shot and how it could become part of the scenario.
Jean Pigozzi: He’s obsessed with plates right now. He either did or is doing a book about people holding giant ones. He really has an obsession. I guess he asks everyone he shoots to hold one of his plates.
Dennis Freedman: The shots with the plates alludes to a series of work that Juergen is working on where he’s actually printing his images on plates. Working them into our shoot was an insider nod to his other artwork.
Poppy Kain: One of the only problems with the shoot was keeping the whole crew together—if we did a shot on La Croisette or on the beach, we would often be surrounded by crowds of people, and it was hard to move down the street with all of our equipment and the wardrobe and the models in full looks. But we have a great production team and they managed it well.
Dennis Freedman: This was shot at the beach in Cannes off the Corniche d’Or. We asked the models to lie down on the beach and we shot from above, from the boardwalk looking down.
In addition to Pigozzi’s home and the team’s villa, another recurrent setting for many of the campaign’s shots is a yacht that cruised around the Mediterranean off the coast of Cannes.
Dennis Freedman: We were lucky enough to get to shoot on the boat of film producer Chris Hanley and his wife, the screenwriter Roberta Hanley. They happened to be at the festival, and we went to visit them on their boat. It worked out to capture this amazing image of Roberta wearing Proenza Schouler.
Dennis Freedman: This model was having his hair dyed orange—we wanted to give the him a stronger identity, and hair and makeup are a great way to do that. We noticed the look of his head wrapped in the foil, and it struck us as interesting—so we decided to capture that moment. It wasn’t intentional, just how he looked in the middle of hair and makeup, and it was almost like a crazy hat. As far as the orange itself, we felt somehow that this bright orange would work in Cannes, at the festival, along with all the colors you see there—the flowers, greenery, and sky.