Maripol, the Queen of Polaroids.
The vision to dress her great friend Madonna in lace, torn stockings and crucifixes became a phenomenon for millions of teenagers around the world to inspire Steven Meisel in person for ‘Like a Virgin’ cover album. If this is not enough, she collaborated with Elio Fiorucci, Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat and many more.
Everything started with a Christmas present in 1977. Maripol’s boyfriend at the time, Edo Bertoglio, gifted her an SX-70 Polaroid camera that will give her a reputation in the fashion world and two key nicknames: ‘the gate-keeper of 80s club culture’ and ‘Queen of Polaroids.’
When she came to New York City from France in her twenties, it was supposed to be a short visit — she certainly didn’t expect to become something of a local legend. Equipped with her Polaroid camera, she would go on to capture everyone from Madonna to Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Deborah Harry of Blondie. ‘I think a good Polaroid portrait gets people to give a sincere expression’ said the cultural icon. ‘If it’s a portrait, I have a tendency to cut it right by the belly. I get close. And when you get close, you get closer to the soul of the person’.
Her decades of intimate Polaroids are a record of everything, especially the ones done on 54th Street because that’s where Studio 54 was: Andy Warhol, Steve Rubell, Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall, Grace Jones and many iconos of the time. “Soho was definitely not the Soho it is now,” Maripol said. ‘Sure, the area is flooded with budding photographers and aspiring creative types,’ but Maripol is not interested in influencers. “I don’t even know what that means,” she said.
She recently photographed Dior’s autumn/winter 20 collection on Polaroid, a marathon four-day shoot with 150 looks that resulted in 700 chic portraits. ‘We decided Polaroid gives a lot of soul,’ she says of her process. ‘With digital a lot of things are formatted the same and it's — excuse me — boring!’.
If you want to know more about the incredible life of Maripol, the book Little Red Riding Hood collects her photographs, sketchbooks and inspirational material for the first time.