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Perhaps most recognized for her unparalleled androgyny, Lynn first hit the Paris modeling scene during the eighties; working with the likes of Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Dior Haute Couture, Steven Klein and Peter Lindbergh.
For the forthcoming issue of VMAN–The Coming of Age Issue, Lynne decided she would make her return to the lens, accompanied by none other than her son, Paolo Anchisi. Here we speak with Lynne about the shoot, the fashion industry (past and present), and how she feels about Paolo following in her footsteps.
Your fashion story in VMAN with your beautiful son Paolo marks your fifteenth year return to professional modeling, why did you chose to make your return now?
Stimulation of the fashion nerve endings, something forever instilled in every accomplished fashion model. [I knew this would be] the most provocative fashion story of my life. Of course, my son Paolo has created this opportunity, as I have also contributed to his introduction to the business. I saw the shoot as a celebration of the beginning of independence, for both my children and myself.
How have you seen the industry change over the past few decades?
Fashion has lost the passion of identifying with the basic nature of beauty. A successful star model does not just exist, ideally, she/he must have a committed agent to search for the right photographers, magazines, designers, hairdressers, make-up etc, who best suits the development and longevity of any given models fashion personality.
What still remains? And what has disappeared completely, for better or worse?
You might think this is an advertisement, which is not intended, but when my son was choosing an agent at 18, I went through many days laboring over a decision. Although I knew it would be a disappointment for some, I knew Sam, Paolo’s agent at Ford, painted the most realistic picture and plan. Standards have changed, but absolute passion for fashion still remains. I don’t think anything has disappeared completely besides Polaroids, which is probably for the best!
How did you advise Paolo when he decided to start modeling?
I never advised Paolo on his modeling career. He has absorbed my history without conversation. My directive as a parent was not for him to inherit this career. He is a natural and has surprised me with his maturity and flexibility.
How did you parents advise you when you first began modeling?
“Watch your step”, my father always said, but that was since I was a teenager. I think they were impressed and happy to see it coincided so well with my fashion education at FIT in New York. I remember my mother telling me how blown away my father was when they were visiting Italy and my face was everywhere on the newsstands and bus stops. “Little Lynney” had come a long way!
Describe the creative process and intent behind the unforgettable Italian Vogue shoot with Peter Lindbergh.
There are several incredible Italian Vogue editorials with Peter, some alone, and others in groups with Tatiana, Linda, Sophie and Cindy Crawford and others. I guess that was the beginning of Peter shooting large groups of celebrity models. Models never wanted to be paired up, let alone shot in groups. For instance, the
Fab-Four Beatles Look
image: You can see in the photo, Linda was absolutely hating the situation, as was Cindy. Mostly because of the wig I’m sure. It was a phenomenal shot and still is today. Peter is one of the most patient and gentle photographers that I have ever worked with. He collaborates with his models. There is always a story and imagery to follow. Usually, the locations are miserably uncomfortable, mostly because of the wind and cold. But all the girls knew the photographs would be absolutely amazing and would literally bend over backwards to help get the shot.
Your cropped hairstyle defined an era of beautiful androgyny in fashion models and design: were you surprised at the response? Was it a conscious career move?
Let’s say beauty was redefined.
Working with Steven Meisel would definitely be the major highlight of my career and to the fashion industry period. He and his entourage of friends and collaborators including Stephen Sprouse, Teri Toye, Julian, Linda Mason and others were such a refreshing break from the worn out days of huge shoulder pads, tiny waists and curvy hips.
[It was] Glamour reinterpreted, just as beautiful as ever; new shapes, hair, make-up, body movement, design, perspective and people – I loved the transformation.
Unfortunately, I was black balled from Condé Nast because of the androgynous period and many great pictures were edited from publications including those of Herb Ritts. Although I am grateful for all the stories in Italian Vogue, look at the retrospect of Italian Vogue, etc….those images are not included in their documentary of the eighties.
How have you seen the industry change over the past few decades?
Basically, Hollywood is fashion and fashion is Hollywood. I’ve never seen so many magazine covers, advertisements and commercials with actors replacing fashion models. I suppose that is one of the reasons models became so generic and replaceable over the two decades. Becoming an actor gives you a very broad career, but doesn’t seem to stimulate great creativity in the fashion industry.
Describe the story behind the VMAN shoot with Sebastian Faena.
I knew with Paolo’s success, one day we would have the opportunity to do a great story. When I saw Sebastian’s photography and was offered this shoot, I knew this was the right moment.
Before arriving in the studio, I knew the story was based on an alcoholic stripper and her son inspired from a Bergman film. A stripper is one of the last characters I thought I would ever portray. I really didn’t understand the reality until I showed up on set. My eyes were instantly drawn to the hundreds of different types of lingerie; I looked at Paolo and said, “What did you get me into? Can’t turn around now!” He responded,” What did you get me into?”
Sebastian: gorgeous, long, lanky and so young and energetic, glided through the shoot with confidence and creativity. What a collaborator! Great combination! He can push a shot to the extreme and back before any one has realized what he has done.
At what point did you decide to take a hiatus from your modeling career?
Leaving Italy and my ex-husband was the end of my fashion career. I needed to reinvent myself and take responsibility of my life and my sons. Seeking to find something consistent and reliable to enable me to fulfill my responsibilities as a parent at the age of 47.
What do you find yourself doing these days?
Constantly trying to challenge myself: I am expanding my knowledge of organic farming, local sustainability; giving encouragement, support and understanding for those who work very hard and don’t desire an exorbitant exchange for their labor, but live for honesty, quality of life and the respect they deserve.
I’ve been basically undercover from my past. And not one I do not deny, a life I will always treasure and hope still be a part of.
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