LONDON — “Yes, that’s my bottom,” admitted Nicolle Meyer, model and muse to Guy Bourdin at a private view of the “Guy Bourdin: Image Maker” exhibition at Somerset House here on Wednesday evening. The shot to which she referred was a Bourdin image that pictured Meyer’s lower half and long, stocking-clad limbs, emerging from a hole in a yellow wall, and served as the invitation to the event.
A clutch of Bourdin’s images of Meyer from the 1970s appear in one room of the exhibition, which spans 100 of the late photographer’s works, dating from 1955 to 1987.
Meyer said she credited Bourdin with kick-starting her career. “I was a real novice before I met Guy. A tiny little [modeling] agency in Paris…sent me to him, and I really was just starting out so I didn’t even have any tear sheets,” she said. “[But] he looked at…my identity card and saw my zodiac sign. I’m a Leo, and that was a sign that he liked to work with. That week I was booked for French Vogue and that’s how it all started.”
Other guests who gathered to get a glimpse of the photographer’s work included Edie Campbell, Alice Dellal, Jaime Winstone, Alice Temperley and Nick Rhodes.
Gallery owner Michael Hoppen, who represents the Bourdin estate, said that the photographer’s death in 1991 had such an impact that Hoppen curtailed his own photographic ambitions. “I was a photographer but I gave up when he died because I had nobody to be a leading light,” lamented Hoppen, who noted that he believes Bourdin is “still a style maker” today.
Meanwhile, at the other end of Somerset House, Swarovski hosted a private reception to celebrate an exhibition of drawings by Austrian artist Egon Schiele at the Courtauld Gallery. The Swarovski-sponsored show, which runs through Jan. 18, is the first major U.K. museum exhibition devoted to Schiele’s work for over twenty years.
And earlier that evening in Mayfair, Stella McCartney marked the annual switching-on of her Christmas lights on Bruton Street with an indoor-outdoor party at her flagship. Steve Coogan was this year’s entertainer, offering up puns – “I’m very much like Christopher Nolan’s new film: Interstellar” – and one off-color joke about Heather Mills, Sir Paul McCartney’s ex-wife.
Guests including Ronnie Wood, Victoria Pendleton, Twiggy, Poppy Delevingne, M.I.A. and Kylie Minogue laughed at the former — but the latter was met with an awkward sigh.
The crowd grazed on a vegetarian feast of chestnuts, served up in branded paper cones, and iced tree- and snowflake-shaped cookies. They also had their pick of flashing candy cane pins and antlers.
Salma Hayek Pinault, filling up on treats with her daughter Valentina, said she wanted some Stella gifts for Christmas. “Oh my God! Always Stella! But I haven’t thought about the rest. First we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving – even though we’re in London,” she said.
McCartney, meanwhile, eyeballed her famously kitschy display of lights and drew a comparison to the more subdued installation on nearby Bond Street. “I have to say, they’ve done a beautiful job. But I think we’ve taken a slightly classier approach,” she mused. “We’re extraordinarily classy down in this neck of the woods.”