The supermodel and famed fashion photographer offer a glimpse into their decades-long friendship and on-set collaborations with the release of 'Linda Evangelista Photographed by Steven Meisel'
Dubbed “Steven and Linda,” by the fashion industry, Linda Evangelista and Steven Meisel have been a package deal since their first collaboration in 1987.
Now, over three decades later, the supermodel, 58, and legendary photographer, 69, are taking fashion lovers on a trip through their longtime friendship and the collaborations that defined it with Linda Evangelista Photographed by Steven Meisel.
Ahead of the book’s September release, the iconic duo sat down with WSJ Magazine for its Fall Men’s Style issue to chat about the book — whose nearly 200 images encapsulate a period of about 25 years — and their symbiotic, industry-defining relationship.
According to the magazine, the pair first joined forces after Meisel discovered his now-muse while perusing a European magazine in the 1980s.
From just a “small photo,” the newly established photographer was so taken with Evangelista — who had recently been sent to Europe by her modeling agency, who thought she would fare better overseas — that he booked her for a Vogue editorial.
He sent home every other model he had lined up for the shoot. “She just sparkled,” he said.
Evangelista, who flew in from Paris for the fateful job, “wanted so much for [Meisel] to like me because I loved his work,” she told WSJ Magazine. Thankfully, he did. "We clicked," she said.
A photo from the editorial dons the very first page of the duo’s retrospective book — the perfect primer for their slice of fashion history.
In 1988, shortly after her pivotal Vogue photoshoot, Evangelista (just 22 at the time) took a large career blow after she allowed a hairstylist to cut her hair for a shoot, a decision that caused a cascade of cancellations from fashion week shows she had booked.
Enter Meisel. The photographer, who had become good friends with the supermodel since lensing her the year before, “came to the rescue,” Evangelista told the magazine.
With the help of his powerful industry connections, the New York City native got the model in his studio, where he captured “the Linda” — her new, cropped hairstyle — on camera, not only saving her career but also sparking a hair sensation.
“It was a revolution,” hairstylist Jimmy Paul told told WSJ Magazine of the style.
After Meisel's “rescue” of her career, he and Evangelista struck a harmony, becoming professionally inseparable.
“It’s like Marlene Dietrich and [director Josef von Sternberg],” Meisel told the outlet. “You’re creating together — it’s never a solo act.”
With the help of her friend's legendary lens, Evangelista went on to become part of the “the Trinity,” a supermodel trio that also included Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell.
The threesome reigned supreme in the 1990s, which, fittingly, is the decade that dominates the pages of Linda Evangelista Photographed by Steven Meisel.
So, why publish a visual history of her and Meisel's working relationship — one of the most important friendships in fashion — decades after its apex?
In the photographer's words: “because Linda asked.”
“And he said yes!” Evangelista said, noting that there was no need for a “long, in-depth conversation.”
“It was the right time," Meisel added.
The duo, who has maintained their friendship outside of work throughout the years, picked up right where they left off.
"Dare I say, I was kind of easy.” the supermodel said of working on the book with Meisel, who noted that the pair agreed on things “99 percent of the time.”
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For Evangelista, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer two times in the past five years, working on the book with her longtime pal is also a “bonus” — like everything in her life now that she has “one foot in the grave.”
“...I’m totally in celebration mode,” she told the magazine. “I’ve come through some horrible health issues. I’m at a place where I’m so happy celebrating my book, my life. I’m so happy to be alive.”
“Anything that comes now is bonus,” she added.
According to a friend of the supermodel — who is donating her book proceeds to a breast cancer research organization — she is bouncing back from her health issues, and is back to being her humorous, positive self.
“With the publication of her book with Steven Meisel, the September Vogue cover and now the WSJ Magazine feature, Linda is in celebratory mode," the friend tells PEOPLE exclusively.
"She’s made it to the other side of some long and very dark moments, so being able to look at her career and all that she’s achieved is something she wants to celebrate.”
See Evangelista and Meisel's full WSJ. Magazine feature in print on newsstands, Saturday, Sept. 16.
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