It’s only February but come the end of the European collections which kicked off in London over the weekend, fashion’s photo pits may be empty.
Some of the biggest names in high-fashion editorial photography, including Princess Diana’s personal photographer Patrick Demarchelier, David Bellemere, Greg Kadel and Seth Sabel, have had allegations levelled at them in a new investigation by The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team.
Demarchelier was Princess Diana’s “personal photographer”.
For the assignment, published over the weekend titled “Beauty and the Ugly Truth“, reporters spoke to more than 50 models about their experiences, many of which were peppered with sexual harassment and misconduct. Some also alleged their agents enabled the abuse.
“If people really understood what goes on behind the glamour of the industry, they would be mortified,” Australian model and actress Abbey Lee Kershaw said before adding that she is “one of the lucky ones”.
Prince William and Kate Middleton looking relaxed in one of their official engagement photos taken by Mario Testino.
Kershaw, who has previously said that the modelling industry is “not humane”, was the No.1 Australian model in the world during the mid-2000s, working for Victoria’s Secret and Chanel. During the 2008 international collections alone she starred in 31 shows which was a record for the time. She then swapped the catwalk for the big screen and went on to star in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Prominent Canadian model Coco Rocha also spoke to The Globe. “It’s interesting and frustrating that now people want to finally pay attention.” Adding that there are “people at the top who no doubt have heard these stories for the last 20 years, and haven’t done anything.”
According to the report one of Demarchelier’s former assistants wrote to Vogue editor Anna Wintour last October urging her to prevent the 74-year-old French photographer access to young women after she outlined her experiences of his “relentless advances”.
Get the latest news and updates emailed straight to your inbox.
By submitting your email you are agreeing to Fairfax Media’s
terms and conditions
Six other women have also come forward with allegations.
Demarchelier has denied any wrongdoing.
“People lie and they tell stories. It’s ridiculous,” he told The Globe.
“He admitted he believes these allegations can be a model’s form of retaliation, stating they ‘get frustrated if they don’t work.’,” the report stated.
Demarchelier is considered one of the biggest names in fashion photography. He was the first non-British official photographer of the Royal Family when Princess Diana requested he take on the role of her personal photographer.
“We became friends,” he said an interview with London’s Telegraph back in 2008. “She was funny and kind – but fundamentally she was a very simple woman who liked very simple things.”
After being contacted by the Spotlight team, Vogue, Glamour and GQ in the United States have announced they have stopped working with Demarchelier for now.
These new allegations follow previous complaints made against other prominent male photographers including Terry Richardson, Bruce Weber and another favourite of the royal family, Mario Testino.