The Louvre, Paris

ICONS Photographer, Zenon Texeira shares his memories of the Vivienne Westwood photoshoot at the Louvre in Paris.

The morning of Vivienne Westwood’s Show in Paris found us driving down the Rue de Rivoli and into the basement of the Louvre Museum. The space we had to set up was wonderful, situated behind the catwalk amid all the rails of clothes and models. The seamstresses who were working the day before were still making last minute adjustments to garments and the energy was something I had never experienced before. Our makeshift studio held a commanding position backstage and was strategically placed to grab the models before and after they strutted their stuff. A moment of chaos descended on us as Janet Jackson and her security waltzed through to find seats in the front row. An eclectic soundtrack filled the room – at one point the theme to The Magnificent Seven had everyone humming along. The pace of the show was frantic, the models had seconds to change outfits and it was worlds apart to be backstage photographing the glamour than being with the Manchester United players straight after a training session at Carrington.

On set we drew upon the energy and celebration that applauded every model who walked out onto the runway. The models were all familiar with our team after yesterday’s shoot and couldn’t wait to pose for us again. Some models were pleasantly surprised that I remembered their names and it made a difference to greet them in that way. Our large blue backdrop was a rich canvas to complement the colours in the collection. Despite all the rushing around and synchronicity required for the show the models all spent good time with us as we worked as fast as we could. Some models returned to us in different outfits, some came in pairs and some came barefoot before climbing into the heels to complete the look. Soon the wall next to us was filled with Polaroids that needed to dry and became an instant gallery of the days event.

A moment had arrived when all the models were required on stage which allowed our team a few minutes to witness the show from the other side of the curtain. One model held a watering can and walked down the catwalk to water the wooden flowers at the front of the stage. Someone had filled the can to the brim that resulted in a lot of splashing and a very wet floor for her to negotiate on her return. That poor girl simply had the wrong shoes to give her a fighting chance and fell dramatically twice before reaching her exit. Filled with tears at the end of the show, Kamila thought she had ruined the day but Vivienne put her arm around her and told her otherwise. She pulled the distraught model onto the set and asked us to capture the moment.