Guess Who's Turning 30?
Iconic images from past Guess campaigns featuring Eva Herzigova and Claudia Schiffer.
In the cache of legendary fashion campaigns from decades past, it's hard to forget the Brigitte Bardot-esque black and white images of Claudia Schiffer, Drew Barrymore, and Anna Nicole Smith that made the Guess? label a household name and a pioneer in denim. This spring, in celebration of its 30th anniversary, the LA brand helmed by brothers Paul and Maurice Marciano launches both a limited-edition women's capsule collection—referencing the past with retro T-shirts, blouses, and vintage denim washes—and an anniversary ad campaign featuring Schiffer. Here, Paul looks back on the brand's three decades and impact on pop culture.
How did Guess? get started?
We grew up in the south of France, and my brothers and I opened our first store, MGA, there. We went to Los Angeles for a holiday and immediately felt at home. We opened our first US Guess? store in Century City, and eventually we all moved to LA. The essence of the Guess? look is California-chic with a European twist and sophistication.
How have you continued to keep Guess? relevant?
At the end of the designer-jeans era in the late '70s, there was so much denim in the market, and it all looked really old-fashioned and lacked an edge. We had the idea to create a jean that hugged a woman's shape to her ankle and to stone-wash it so it felt soft to the touch. We were surprised how quickly our first jeans sold. From there, we kept evolving, so Guess? became a complete fashion collection with accessories for women and men. We are constantly reinventing ourselves while preserving the true identity of our brand.
Tell us about the capsule collection you are doing in honor of the company's 30th anniversary
People always tell me about their favorite Guess? ads—it's exciting to hear how the Guess? images have become part of so many people's memories. With the brand turning 30 years old, we thought it was time to celebrate those images. This capsule collection brings to life many of the iconic images from the campaigns featuring Claudia Schiffer, Eva Herzigova, and Adriana Lima, among others, and reinvents the product with a modern twist.
Eva vintage floral jean, Guess ($138)
How do you choose the Guess? girls?
All of my models are hand-selected by me through a photo. Any girl can possess beauty, but the gift of transcending this beauty into a photograph is the true essence of the Guess? girl. Even to this day, when I look at Claudia Schiffer's or Eva Herzigova's pictures, the notion of dreams is still present.
Is there one campaign that stands out for you?
If I really had to choose one, it would have to be Claudia Schiffer's shot in Viareggio by Ellen von Unwerth in 1989. In that campaign, Claudia immortalizes—to perfection—the glamour of the era I grew up in.
How is LA essential to the brand?
Los Angeles has always been part of Guess?'s identity—it was our American dream, and the success of the brand demonstrates that the easy California lifestyle is also a dream shared by our customers around the world. Although we are a global brand, our headquarters—the heart and soul of the company—are in Los Angeles. The casual lifestyle here is part of the brand's DNA.
photography by jacqueline allen (jeans)
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.