Friday, August 11, 2006

Photo Session Tuesday

On Tuesday, I had the sense of coming full circle and emerging on a new plane. I had a photo session with my old friend, Harry Langdon
The last time we worked together was probably the end of 1987, so it's been nearly 20 years! Harry was one of my 'guardian angels' in my past life as 'Designer to the Stars'. Here is the story of how I met Harry:

I had a store on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, before it had gone completely gay and was an interesting collage of unique boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants and hip businesses. Within one block of my store was a popular health food restaurant called Lost on Larabee, Larabee Sound Studios, a hard core alkie bar called Duke's, Mr. Franks (women's boutique), the Santa Palm Car Wash, the famous Orange Julius stand, and me, at first called Palace Museum and then changed to my name. My next door neighbor was Fred Slatten's Shoes (the most far out platform shoes worn by everyone from Elton John to Cher to Saudia Arabian Princesses)

I had a wonderful time creating every fashion fantasy that came into my imagination, and the wilder I got, the more successful I became. Every day was like a huge present, waiting to be opened. You never knew who might walk through my door - Prince, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac! Someday I will write a memoir of those years.

But to get back to How I Met Harry:
I was often asked to loan clothes to photographers who loved the color and drama of my wild and sexy creations. Several times a month, I would be asked to look through their books, but I never wanted to loan my clothes, knowing that people shopped in my store to find something unique they had never seen anywhere else, and I didn't want my designs to become over exposed.
One day a soft-spoken, extremely gentle man came in my store and, after looking around, asked to meet me. My assistant brought him to my workroom in the back and he introduced himself to me, complimenting me on my creativity and saying something like, "My name is Harry Langdon. I'm a photographer, and sometimes the women I shoot bring in such boring clothes. Maybe you'd be interested in loaning me some clothes sometimes. I work with other designers like that, and then I give them some pictures in return. It might really be helpful to your business."
I explained to him why I didn't loan clothes and he was really nice and understanding. I'd heard the same thing so many times, I thought, and pictures of my clothes don't pay the rent. He bought a blouse for a "girl's birthday who probably wasn't going to be getting many presents".

The very next day, Harry called me. "I have an actress coming in tomorrow for a reshoot. She didn't like the pictures I took of her last week, but she brought such boring clothes. I was just thinking that your clothes might bring out a different side of her."

That actress was Raquel Welch and this is one of the photos Harry gave me in return for me loaning him a rack full of clothes.

And that was how our relationship, which spanned about 12 years, got started. Thanks to the genius and generosity of Harry Langdon, I met and dressed many of his celebrated clients and accumulated a beautiful portfolio that helps preserve wonderful memories.
I'll let you know as soon as my new website is ready, so you can see what Harry shot for me on Tuesday.