I’ve known Maripol since I first came to New York 4 decades ago…
She worked at Fiorucci and my ex was the art director there, and we lived uptown around the corner from the store. Singer Joey Arias worked there too and that’s where I first met Maripol. We’re still friends, but that’s no surprise, really, Maripol knows everyone. Really. (Here’s a funny/odd story about her, Grace Jones and myself.)
And she’s known for her amazing Polaroids of the day and creating Madonna‘s early looks. –think armfuls of rubber bracelets and a wedding dress– among other things. She just told UK’s The Guardian about this Sade photo and much more…
“The first time Sade came to New York was in May 1983. The band played Danceteria. My friend Edwige and I went along.
I hadn’t met Sade before but I knew their music. It was great – so different, so smooth. I grew up with Roxy Music. Sade felt like a 1980s version of that. Afterwards, the plan was for them to come to a party at my loft. My friend Michelle was going out with a bandmember and Edwige knew them too. She had a huge crush on Sade. I have a shot of the two of them, another of Sade looking directly at me, and this one.
Sade was a quiet presence, but such a beauty, and so stylish: imposing, statuesque, with glowing skin, big eyes, red lipstick – a goddess.
She had her hair pulled back in a braided bun and was wearing a big skirt with this quite masculine shirt. She just stood there, watching the room. Maybe she felt like she was missing out on the action. Or maybe there was somebody of interest she was looking at.
I don’t remember what we spoke about – it was 1983, babe, that’s over 30 years ago! But I do remember her English accent, and that she was sweet and gracious. I mean, she could have said no to having her picture taken.
The earrings she has on are ones I’d given her to wear. People always thought I was a stylist – which I wasn’t. I was stylish.
If you look at the major fashion magazines at the time, they were horrible. Even the big labels such as Gucci seemed to be only making clothes for rich, old ladies. I stood out. My look was unique, original and sexy with la French touch – lots of bright red and sheer black, with big jewellery.
The painting behind Sade was of a UFO, but don’t ask me who it’s by. I had a lot of art back then, although not as much as I do now. I would ask every artist who came over to draw in this book I had.
And that’s how I ended up having a beautiful Basquiat, a very rare, early drawing featuring a baseball, a crown and letters. I was advised to frame that drawing to protect it, but I still have the book, with other entries by Lounge Lizard, John Lurie and Pater Sato, that amazing Japanese designer who died of an Aids-related illness.
We’d often have parties like this one, sometimes on the roof. Andy Warhol brought Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes once. Now, whenever Nick comes to New York, he sends me an email – he likes having people from the 80s come to his concerts.
At the time, no one really had stylists or PR people. There were no influencers, no mobile phones, no emails: the connection with others was completely human.
We were both in relationships, but we eloped to New York. At first, life in the city was very difficult. The language, the unbelievable winter storms, finding work … My Polaroid camera became something for me to hide behind, and maybe a tool for figuring out where I was. Mostly, it was pure voyeuristic curiosity.
I think I was looking for beauty. I was as obsessive as people are with iPhones these days. I’d take selfies. But I never really thought my pictures would become iconic. I never took them for that reason. It was more of a compulsion. And then I put them all in shoeboxes for safekeeping.
The only person who ever said no to a Polaroid was David Bowie.
I was standing by the bar in Studio 54, camera in my hand. He came right up to me to get a drink, and I asked him.
‘No, no, darling,’ he said, really sweetly. I should not have asked. I should have just snapped him.”
Maripol just shot Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri pre-fall 2021 collection in her never-goes-out-of-fashion Polaroid style. Read about it here in Vogue.
(Polaroids, Maripol; via The Guradian)