Curious about Fabien Baron’s curation of the exhibition and how he wrangled the 32 featured photographers, Klein wanted to see for himself. Baron, whom Klein first worked with in the early Nineties, was one of several of his go-to photographers who mingled nearby. “It’s so well-done.” Klein said.
Another emissary of his past, Richard Avedon’s grandson Michael took a moment for a quick hello, telling Klein how he was recently looking at some of the work the designer had done with the prized photographer. And apparently so has Klein, who is in the early stages of a new book.
“I’ve been going through thousands of images that ran in advertising or that didn’t run. There are these amazing photographs that I think would be interesting to see, especially now because people don’t do that so much any more.” said Klein, noting how social media has cut short the long-form advertising he once favored. “I used to do 27-page campaigns. When I did a Vanity Fair outsert, I think it was 99 pages or something. I mean, I did some crazy stuff, so I have all this material.”
Still at least 18 months out from closing the book, so to speak, Klein said the editing process isn’t always easy. In fact, all those images can be a bit like leafing through a family album. “Sometimes it’s very difficult to look at because it gets emotional.” he said. “But it’s interesting because I’m discovering the things that I did that I wasn’t that crazy about [at the time], suddenly looking at now, I think, ‘That’s not bad.'” (Case in point: a group of jeans that had lots of color and “were wild and crazy at the time.”)
Klein added, “The interesting thing is that I could run almost the majority of those photographs that are 20-30 years old and they would be contemporary. That’s part of what I want to say in the book. They still look so good. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do the book.”
Baron, Bruce Weber, Craig McDean, Patrick Demarchelier, Steven Meisel and David Sims all count among those whose work has been linked to Klein’s. “I was early with a lot of those photographers. They’ve just grown and gotten better and better,” Klein said. “But I was there at the beginning with this English thing. Now everyone’s a photographer because of cellphones and Instagram. It’s so interesting. And, of course, good.”