Only you, Claudia

Oh Claudia,

Ever since I leafed through the pages of a 1989 Vogue, a reflection of that year’s Guess campaign has been etched onto a screen before my inner eye. As the light poured down onto your golden hair, gushing into the crystal blue of your almond eyes, I gasped in celebration of seeing such beauty on this poor, meek earth. Maddening in your mystery, dazzling in your complexity – your exterior but a sultry disguise for your electric mind. Inimitable, the poise and discipline you bring to an industry bursting with foul rot beneath its shiny veneer. The spring in your curls a trojan horse for medusa’s serpents – such is the strength you carry while you laugh.

Unpublished photograph by Herb Ritts (November, 1989)

I wished to be just like you. Alas, the duckling still waits to emerge as swan. Yet I am unwavering in my aspiration to beam with joy like you did in 1994, when you jumped across football fields for French Glamour with Ellen von Unwerth. Or when you pulled off a leopard-print newsboy cap and a dark-lined lip for Steven Meisel in 1991’s Vogue Italia and just looked. Plain. Cool. How does one have a picnic on the beach in a polka-dotted swimsuit, without spilling the couscous, any of the open condiments, or even a sprinkling of sand on the crisp white sheet laid out beneath one’s tanned knees? Only you in January 1990’s Mademoiselle, Claudia – the face of a thousand covers.

Your carefully curated eponymous book reads like an encyclopaedia of expressions. If a picture, which is but a mute representation, can radiate such warmth, what can stand from melting in your presence? Thirty years of snaps since your discovery in a Düsseldorf discotheque and they only improve with time. Scattered among the photographs are passages of lavish praise by colleagues, editors, photographers. How exquisite to be among them. As I run my finger along the gilded edges of one of the 272 pages, your self-ascribed shyness strikes me with a pang of endearment. You apologize for your “cool” mannerism, as if seeking to make amends. You thank those who made your dreams come true. You flip the tribute to yourself into a tribute to others. These tender facets cluster round my heart and make me secretly scoff at your association with the “The Big Five,” the supermodels of the 90s. Is there not only one?

Herb Ritts, "GQ Magazine" (May, 1990)

It is a quiet joy, my for love for you, for it is unrequited. To say that my heart will move on from yours would be a lie as sharp and bright as only truth can be. At times, I tried: Look how I am forgetting you. Nonsense! Even in the brutal face of your path never crossing mine, my love for you will flourish without a backward glance. To the next thirty. To Claudia!

Yours always,

Claudia Schiffer is published by Rizzoli (New York, 2017).

  • Text
    Eva Kelley

Related Content

  • On Art-Rite Magazine

    "We were riding on the absurdity of the situation — that we were three nobodies, had no money, had no fame, and didn't know anybody in the art world. But it was perfect — we were totally free." - EDIT DEAK, 1974. An analysis of ART-RITE MAGAZINE and its history. By David Frankel. Issue #9 (Summer 2005).More
  • FRANK OCEAN: The Artist is Absent

    Last month Frank Ocean's album Blonde was certified platinum, breaking one million units sold in an age when nobody seems to be paying for music. But the psychedelic future soul of Frank Ocean has always been about meaning, not numbers. For our Winter 2017/18 issue, music journalist Alex Needham got to the heart of Blonde in "The Artist is Absent," a feature accompanied by a photo editorial shot by Petra Collins and styled by Mel Ottenberg. "Once you let it in," Needham writes, "Ocean's thoughts and emotions are transmitted to you on such an intimate level, they seem to suffuse your central nervous system."More
  • Deeper

  • Thus Spoke Bischofberger: Artforum’s Eternally Swiss Back Cover

    An advertisement for the art gallery belonging to dealer and collector Bruno Bischofberger has occupied the back cover of every issue of Artforum since April 1987. Seen out of context and en masse, the eternally Swiss contents of these promotions at first appear idiosyncratic; upon further scrutiny, however, they seem insane.More
  • Apparel

    032c “Dark Times” Brecht T-Shirt Black

    €50
    Buy Now
  • Société de 032c: GLOBAL PREDICTIONS from Cyber Oracle SITA ABELLAN

    “The major debate everyone is avoiding is how technology will modify our society and economy,” says the model, DJ, and self-proclaimed “techno princess” in a series of dystopian prophecies. “Technology is forging our behavior and will deeply affect who we become as human beings. Avoiding discussions about the use of technology without limitations and restraints will cause major injustices.”More
  • 032c WWB Collection

    032c WWB Turtleneck Camouflage

    €80
    Buy Now
  • Apparel

    032c Classics Logo Beanie

    €40
    Buy Now
  • Salty, Litigious, Iconoclastic: DAVID SIMON on TV as discourse

    With “The Wire,” DAVID SIMON accomplished the unlikely feat of captivating both West ­Baltimore bruisers and The New Yorker subscribers for an hour a week, over the course of six years. Twenty years into television’s latest “Golden Age,” as the creative blueprint pioneered by Simon and shows like The Sopranos unfurls into an endless stream of content from Amazon and Netflix, we revisit our 2011 interview with Simon from 032c Issue 20.More
  • OG? OK! Onitsuka Tiger Unveils 70th Anniversary OK Basketball Shoes in Berlin

    At their store on Alte Schönhauserstrasse in Berlin, Japanese footwear mainstays Onitsuka Tiger held a Japan-themed mini festival to herald the arrival of the OK Basketball MT and the OK Basketball Lo: two new shoes inspired by the groundbreaking design that ignited the Onitsuka Tiger brand almost 70 years ago.More
  • CROSS-DRESSING IN THE WEHRMACHT: Unseen Practices at the German Front

    While collecting amateur photography from periods during and after the war, Berlin-based visual artist Martin Dammann would, “from time to time,” stumble upon photographs of cross-dressing soldiers. Provoked, he began to seek out more, drawn to the “kaleidoscope of emotional states” that they revealed: “Desire for women. Desire for men. To be a woman. To be elsewhere. To be someone else.” More
  • THE BIG FLAT NOW: Power, Flatness, and Nowness in the Third Millennium

    As a contemporary metaphor, flatness describes how the invention of the Internet has restructured global society. At its origin, its promise was a social revolution founded on intersectional equality and universal democracy. It is our contention that that promise may yet be fully realized.More