For those that recall the 1980′s world of Georges Marciano’s GUESS, an appreciation of an enduring, iconic emblem is due. A homage to the designer that excelled in creating a branded style & image, Ellen von Unwerth, the photographer that iconically brought forth images of striking appeal, and the muse that represented it all: Claudia Schiffer.
To appreciate the iconic brand, it should be mentioned that the combination of icons was international. Marciano, from Marseilles, France, began as a young designer selling neckties door-to-door. An entrepreneur, indeed. Marciano’s intent on designing a world of his own fashion along with $5,000 and a dream to create a successful company in America, would eventually enter the American market in 1977 upon moving to California. It was Bloomingdales that is credited with merchandising two dozen pairs of his “unconventional three-zipper jeans, called “Marilyn””. Selling within hours, the fashion “revolution” that would result earned Marciano the tribute as being the “epitome of the American Dream”. A denim brand and world of fashion of enduring status. A world of fashion that would eventually layer both women and men in clothing, shoes and accessories. A lifestyle of GUESS. Of additional interest, Marciano, co-founder along with his brothers, had insisted that all manufacturing was to be done in Los Angeles, California. Economic prosperity paired with inspiring fashion would certainly result. Referred to as “A Pioneer of creative mind” and a “Visionary Marketing man”, the power of branding was met with the iconic GUESS? logo.
In 1989, Marciano’s commitment to quality and creating a fresh, yet classic & timeless fashion paired with sophisticated and ground breaking images in striking black and white captured by iconic German photographer, Ellen von Unwerth earn appreciation. Marketing a brand with timeless and iconic images. Add to that, the then discovered 19 year old German model, Claudia Schiffer: The perfect muse to brand GUESS. The beginning of a “Supermodel”, indeed. Schiffer appeared in six campaigns between 1989-1991, captured by Ellen von Unwerth’s vivid black and white photographs of a timeless sexy and flirty appeal. An innocent appeal with a sexy edge. Logo included. A coveted emblem that has withstood decades of fashion’s appeal. I remember all the images distinctly. In fact, it takes me back in time. Upon turning the pages of the glossies of fashion, the images drew the eye. Iconic, indeed…
“Schiffer was a turning point of GUESS, she was a turning point of Ellen’s career, GUESS was a turning point of a life for Claudia”
-GUESS CEO & Creative Director, Paul Marciano
For certain, the image of Claudia with upswept hair wearing a black lace bustier brought the fashion world to a halt. Stunning and fresh, it was. An iconic image in the world of fashion, for certain. This image brings recollections of the fragrance I layered myself with. Layered in GUESS. Perhaps, I too, wanted to be a GUESS girl. Who wouldn’t?
“Her timeless, distinctive style and infectious energy have kept her at the forefront of fashion for decades”
-GUESS CEO & Creative Director, Paul Marciano
Claudia Schiffer’s return to the brand that catapulted her modeling career as the face of GUESS is certainly appropriate. Photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, the new images of Schiffer (once again with Brigitte Bardot-esque hair) were photographed in Sorrento, Italy. Worldwide appeal. Images that will also become iconic in the history of fashion…
“Shooting the GUESS 30th anniversary campaign was like going back in time. It brought back so many great memories and has been a lot of fun working together again wit Ellen and Paul”- Claudia Schiffer
“GUESS will always have a soft spot in my heart and I’m excited that…we can still work together so successfully”
– Claudia Schiffer
In Chicago this month, from behind large panes of windows, I came upon a visual window tribute of GUESS’s 30 Year Anniversary. Thus, the vivid cause of my homage to an iconic brand, photographer and its muse. The windows emblazoned with the memorable images of Claudia Schiffer (and of course, the other distinctive faces of GUESS over the decades) proves that although fashion changes and evolves, there is a timelessness that remains to those elements of classic style. Denim’s appeal never fades. Especially when paired with feminine beauty & sultry, seductive yet somewhat innocent, casual appeal. A 15 piece Anniversary collection, taken from over 3 decades of fashionable style, by GUESS.
The heritage behind the brand whose hallmark represented a world of denim and fashion paired with “sexy” now proclaims “Discover the timelessness of sexy”. Indeed, GUESS has succeeded at that. “30 Sexy Years”, they have earned. “Invented in the past and reimagined in the future”.
To acknowledge GUESS is to acknowledge the mastermind marketing that represented the brand. Images linked to a brand that endures to evoke thoughts and emotions. For me? A part of my past. From leafing through fashion’s glossies, delighted to turn pages to find delight in sharp images of beauty paired with life’s moments. To get lost within the images of a branded iconic world of fashion that went beyond merchandising. Rather, GUESS sold captivating moments of sensual, simple pleasures. Perhaps moments in life we all connect to or desire to be a part of or experience. Marciano understood what he was selling. A true artist. Ellen von Unwerth knew how to capture that image from behind the lens. A true artist. Claudia Schiffer knew how to relay that visual. A true artist. Visual perfection. A brand, a photographer & a model. Icons.
For certain, the world that Marciano created and forged deserves our focus and appreciation. An appreciation of talents. A pioneer of fashion, A photographer of iconic visuals and a muse that endures in timeless beauty. A homage to an iconic brand, an iconic photographer and an iconic muse. Congratulations to the “World of GUESS” and those that are a part of its success. “30 Sexy Years” and an emblem that will endure as an icon of style…..