Roxanne Lowit Talks Her New Installation, Studio 54, and More

Amanda Lepore  Roxanne Lowit

Photo: Jessie Askinazi

Amanda Lepore (left) and Roxanne Lowit (right).

Roxanne Lowit celebrated her birthday on February 22 by launching an installation of her iconic images at private club Parlor New York. FashionEtc caught up with the photographer, who is famous for chronicling the backstage doings at fashion shows and capturing the glitterati at play, at the bash to talk about her images, Picasso and Studio 54.

It's your birthday. Happy birthday. How did you choose which photos to include in this installation?

I chose the photos that I thought would best go in a place that would have a clientele like this, a private club. So I thought I should have some fashion, I should have some people, I should have some recognizable celebrities, I should have some strong pictures.

You have been shooting photos backstage at fashion shows for 30 years. Any particular moment or incident stand out in your mind?

I don’t know, there are so many great experiences, so many fun times backstage.

Is there anyone you’ve always wanted to shoot but haven’t?

I would have liked to shoot Pablo Picasso.

Did you ever meet him?

No, but I knew Paloma, and I shot her.

Is there a contemporary person who you really think has an interesting look right now? Is there a new Kate Moss or a Madonna on the scene?

No, I think I pretty much shoot everybody that I want to shoot. I’m lucky that way. I walk through many worlds, and I get to meet everybody.

What do you think about being backstage at fashion shows now compared to when you first started out?

I think it’s changed, and I think that it was a lot easier to do things before than it is now. Now it’s like a circus, there are so many people and it’s not quite the same. It had a different energy before, it was a lot more interesting, a lot more fun. A lot more creative.

Photo: Roxanne Lowit

Pamela Anderson and David LaChapelle (2001).

Are there any photos here in this installation that are especially meaningful to you? I’m sure they all are, but is there one that’s special to you?

They all are is right. [Laughs]

You have everyone from Basquiat to Keith Haring to Kate Moss to Gaultier dancing with Madonna.

That was interesting because it was when Madonna was really big, and I went to this party in this artist’s loft in Paris, and I saw Gaultier dancing. And I took the picture of Gaultier dancing, and only when I saw the contact sheets did I realize the blonde he was dancing with was Madonna.

Talk about a lucky shot. What do you think about the rise of street style photographers at the fashion shows now? Do you look at those photos?

Do I ever look at those? No.

Do you look at those blogs?

I do look at certain blogs online, but not those.

What do you think about that phenomenon, that people are photographing not the models, not the designers or celebrities at the shows, but regular people who attend the shows?

I guess if it works, it works. For me it’s not particularly interesting.

Photos: Roxanne Lowit

Iman (1990); Kate Moss in John Galliano (1994).

You have photos here from the Studio 54 era. Are there any nightspots you like now? Do you still go out?

Oh yeah, I go out all the time. I like Susanne Bartsch’s parties with Kenny Kenny and people like that because the kids really dress up and really go out of their way to put on costumes, and I love taking pictures of people in costumes and having fun, and they all seem to be having fun there.

So you feel like the creative nightlife is still alive these days?

Yeah, absolutely. You just have to know where to go and when to do it.

What are you wearing tonight?

It’s a jacket that I got at a flea market in London when I was 18.