Gilles Bensimon on Supermodels and What Makes a Good Cover

Photographer Gilles Bensimon was in New Zealand this week - watch our interview him

"Do you want to sit in the blue chair or the yellow chair?" asks Gilles Bensimon before our interview. Visiting New Zealand this week, the 72-year-old fashion photographer is serenely calm, with a typically French demeanor – charming, frank and a clipped sense of humour.

Gilles’ career is prolific, having worked as the former international creative director for Elle magazine. He was pivotal in launching the fun French fashion glossy into an otherwise conservative US market.

His portfolio highlights a signature style: energetic, womanly, with a love of full blown glamour. He has photographed the ‘supers’ – Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington – as well as French icons like Catherine Deneuve, and modern celebrities including Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian-West. His marriage to Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson in 1985 lasted four years; however the pair remains friends and collaborators today, with Gilles photographing the debut campaign for the new Elle Macpherson Body lingerie collection.

Dressed in a stone coloured, utilitarian jacket, cobalt blue chinos, socks and a pair of white Birkenstock sandals, Gilles visited Auckland for a quick trip to support the release of a new campaign he’s photographed for Cocooil, the popular Australian skincare brand centered on coconut oil sustainably sourced out of Tonga. The forthcoming campaign features rising Kiwi model Eden Bristowe, originally from New Plymouth and set for big things. “Eden has all the qualities to become a top model,” Gilles explains.

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New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

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