Bert Stern Talks About Marilyn Monroe

I attended the Club Monaco event last Thursday for two reasons. First, I wanted to see their flagship store, take in their new advertising campaign and meet legendary photographer Bert Stern who shot it. Second, Patrick Duffy told me I had to go. Patrick is all set to unleash BES, his new restaurant, on the world and it’s shaping up to be one of the best places in town. I’ll gladly kiss his world famous ass for a sneak peek. The Club Monaco event was a smashing success. The fashion set circulated in living color around the black and white Bert Stern campaign photos. Mr. Stern is famous for many things including his book Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting. The images of Marilyn were taken just 6 weeks before her death and capture the icon’s beauty, frailty and pain. It is a window into the mind of the idolized star just before she burst all our misconceptions.

A Club Monaco spokeswoman told me about hiring Mr. Stern for the brand: “The choice to work with Stern builds on Club Monaco’s history of collaborating with the world’s most celebrated photographers, including Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, Peter Lindbergh, Patrick Demarchelier, Walter Chin and Nathaniel Goldberg.” She was kind enough to arrange a Q&A with the great photographer. Club Monaco is a young brand. How do you keep so young? How do you keep relevant? You’re right, Club Monaco is a young brand, but it’s the combination of classic and modern that really made it appealing to me. I like their use of black and white photography and how they play with the tension of black and white within their brand. How do I stay young? That’s easy; I am constantly surrounded by young and innovative people. Imagination is more important than knowledge. People believe knowledge comes with age. Imagination you are born with.

You were able to make an idol seem so human just before she became an eternal icon. What didn’t your camera catch or did we see her as fully exposed as we all thought? Women and photography are the two things I love most in the world. With Marilyn I photographed the truth. I framed the picture and then pressed the button. I’ve always said that if the photographer is sensitive to you, he will capture what you’re about. The great sadness always attributed to her, was it pervasive? It was said that Monroe was always late and always moody. How did you get what you needed? It’s simple. It was our connection.

How do you focus on the rest of your life/career after such a legendary shoot? What other work are you as proud of or more proud of? It’s all relative. Jazz on a summer day. Spending time in the country. Making my film about the Newport Jazz festival was a great project.

Has there been a Marilyn since? Is there one today? No. There’s only one

You rarely do advertising campaigns. Why did you choose Club Monaco? Will there be more advertising campaigns in your future? They have a dynamic creative team and I was drawn to their fresh aesthetic. It was just the perfect match for my work.

Twiggy couldn’t make the event and sent her regrets:

Dearest Bert,

 Have a wonderful night. So sorry I can’t be there. I have such wonderful memories of our working together and thankfully some gorgeous photographs. You are the best. 
Lots of love, 

Twiggy x

If it isn’t already obvious, Bert travels in different circles than I do.

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