For his birthday in Paris on Nov 4,1971 Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé took Robert to dinner and then to the Rive Gauche boutique and let him pick out anything in the store. He chose a simple black shirt. He said it was the cheapest thing in the store, but that's what he wanted… Later that night Loulou de la Falaise took him to a strip show, and they drank champagne and talked until 5:00am. In the letters and postcards he sent me, these and other details of his trip were unveiled. Most of the time he was broke and missed Patti and me, but he stuck it out and learned ways to survive to reach some of his goals. He also learned a great deal about European style and fashion. Robert always responded to real elegance." David Croland, New York, July 2013.
If you're planning on attending one exhibition this year then make sure it's the Robert Mapplethorpe: Fashion Show at Alison Jacques Gallery. The exhibition will show many of his photographs for the first time. Alison Jacques has collaborated with Mapplethorpe's first long-term boyfriend, David Croland, who became the subject of a number of Mapplethorpe's work. Not only will these polaroids be on display but also a mixture of portraits from great fashion figures of the past and present such as: Karl Lagerfeld Yves Saint-Laurent Ossie Clark Grace Jones
Mapplethorpe's role as artist as opposed to purely a photographer is evident throughout the show and in particular in the wearable sculptures/jewellery he made in the '70s of which a small group will be shown together for the first time in London.
At the core of Fashion Show are photographs Mapplethorpe shot for publications such as Italian Vogue, French Vogue and L.A. Style in the mid- to late-1980s, most of which haven't been exhibited before.
Many of the photographs reveal Mapplethorpe's love of high-fashion fabrics and garments. In some, he photographed his better-known muses with their backs to the camera so that the viewer's attention is focused entirely on the materials, cuts and forms of their dresses, zebra striped fabric, luxurious fur or crushed silk.
Fashion Show focuses on an aspect of Robert Mapplethorpe, which was key to his work and life: glamour and beauty; but never from an obvious point of view. Several decades on, and nearly 25 years after this death, these images seem as current as ever.
Running from 11 SEPTEMBER - 5 OCTOBER 2013, you have plenty of time to visit the Alison Jacques Gallery.