NEW YORK — Even if Jerry Schatzberg's forthcoming photography book wasn't laced with cinematic photographs, the title alone, "Paris, 1962," sounds like a story waiting to happen.
In fact, there are two — the early collections of Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. But instead of featuring predictable images of statuesque models posing in full regalia, Schatzberg has compiled a behind-the-scenes play-by-play of that influential period. On assignment for Esquire, the Bronx-born lensman watched from the wings as Saint Laurent unveiled his first solo collection and saw its success insured when French Vogue's former editor, Françoise de Langlade, kissed the young designer in front of the well-turned-out crowd. For the magazine's "The Silken Jungle" photo spread, Schatzberg also turned his camera on what went into presenting Marc Bohan's finery at Christian Dior.
This was not Schatzberg's inaugural trip to the salons of haute couture, but he was even more at ease shooting celebrity portraits — something he continued to do in the years that followed before switching mediums to film. Bob Dylan, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Sharon Tate, The Rolling Stones and Fidel Castro are among the notables he has photographed, but he does not name-drop. In fact, during an interview in his Upper West Side apartment, what he doesn't say is at times as telling as what he does.
Empire Editions is publishing 500 first-edition autographed copies of "Paris, 1962," which come with a signed original print and an embossed clamshell box. Schatzberg will give a lecture tonight at The National Arts Club. Launch parties are planned for Nov. 15 at Colette in Paris and Nov. 26 at the Yves Saint Laurent store on East 57th Street. Rizzoli will publish an expanded version with some color photos next year.
"Paris, 1962" shows the comings and goings beyond the runway — Saint Laurent's model Victoire inspecting an enormous floral display, empty velvet seats and settees in the Dior salon, Helmut Newton sizing up a set, Norman Parkinson's clasped hands behind his back and model Monique Dutto resting seated atop a ladder. Other images — Saint Laurent peering down from the balcony, a man nuzzling a masked woman on a couch and Victoire, head in hands on a Parkinson set — leave one wondering what remains to be seen or heard.
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