NEW YORK – Patrick Demarchelier, the French-born photographer known for his high fashion images of top models and celebrities, including Princess Diana, has died. He was 78 years old.
His Instagram account broke the news of his death on Thursday but did not provide any further details. Attempts to contact his family were unsuccessful.
Demarchelier has had a career in luxury brand campaigns, including those for Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dior, and has worked for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and other major fashion magazines. He started photographing Diana in 1989 and remained her personal photographer until the early 90s.
He’s also published photography books, worked on the Pirelli Calendar, enjoyed cameos in “Sex & the City” and the movie “The September Issue,” and worked on “America’s Next Top Model.” He was immortalized in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, when Anne Hathaway distraught Andy Sachs has no idea who he is, later telling boss Miranda Priestly, ‘I’ve got Patrick’ before transferring his call.
Known for working quickly and on instinct, the self-taught Demarchelier first shot for Vogue in 1975, before moving to New York from Paris.
In 2018, her reputation was badly damaged after the Boston Globe reported accusations of sexual misconduct by 50 models. He denied any wrongdoing, but Vogue and other publications cut it. He was among many photographers charged amid the #MeToo movement.
The lensman didn’t just work in the fashion industry. He shot Janet Jackson’s topless cover for Rolling Stone in 1993, her breasts covered by the hands of then-boyfriend Rene Elizondo. He aimed his lens at Madonna in an iconic 1990 image of the star in a bejeweled, leather-back bustier, a cigarette dangling from her lips, during her “Justify My Love” days. And he captured Britney Spears again and again.
His work with Diana as the first committed non-British photographer took him to a new level. The French Ministry of Culture named Demarchelier an Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters in 2007, the same year he received the CFDA Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert.
Demarchelier began filming as a teenager in Le Havre, Normandy. He moved to New York in his early thirties, working on advertising campaigns. His career exploded in the United States as his reputation spread. He shot for big designers like Tommy Hilfiger and Vera Wang, and he worked for beauty companies and non-luxury brands like H&M.
Condolences on social media poured in as news of his death spread. Supermodel Amber Valletta posted, “He is legendary fashion history and photography. He will be missed.”
Demarchelier is survived by his wife, Mia, his sons Gustaf, Arthur and Victor, and three grandchildren.