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Olivier Zahm Explains Why Karl Lagerfeld Shot Baptiste Giabiconi in Nothing But Prostitute Shoes

One of the most memorable images this blog has ever run is of Karl Lagerfeld shooting Baptiste Giabiconi for the current issue of Purple, in which he wears nothing but high heels. At the Alexander Wang show yesterday, Purple editor Olivier Zahm, who was on set for the shoot, shed light on the magic that is the Baptiste-Karl pairing. “That was a nice moment because Karl was really inspired by Baptiste. Because Baptiste connects him to a lot of different periods of his life and he’s a living journal — can you say that? — for Karl. He can really transform Baptiste into different characters,” Zahm explained. Zahm had asked Karl to shoot a tribute to Helmut Newton for the fall issue, but Karl wanted to use a man instead of a woman. “So I said, ‘Okay, you shoot a man, but as a Helmut Newton woman.’” Zahm continued. “He immediately chose Baptiste, and he had the great idea to use these prostitute high heels, which are just meant for prostitutes — they’re not meant for a glamorous night.”

Most obvious statement in the history of the spoken word: “He’s not embarrassed at all.”Photo: Olivier Zahm for Purple Diary

Zahm assured us the relationship between Karl and Baptiste is purely platonic, thriving on a remarkable professional chemistry. “[Karl] gives clear direction, but Baptiste has a very easy and spontaneous way of modeling. He’s not embarrassed at all,” Zahm said. “As a man, he’s spectacular because sometimes men are posing too much and trying too hard. And Baptiste is not too pose-y, but he’s also not grunge or cool. He’s in between something like too fashion and too laid-back. And it’s sharp, it’s really sharp. So that shoot was really easy.” Apparently, Karl could have shot Baptiste in this fashion (or lack thereof) for weeks. “He was so into the shoot that he wants always to do more pictures — in Venice and Paris,” Zahm said. “I have to stop him because I have a limited number of pages.”

Earlier: Photo Op: Baptiste Giabiconi Vamps in Stilettos for His Man, Karl Lagerfeld

Olivier Zahm Explains Why Karl Lagerfeld Shot Baptiste Giabiconi in Nothing But Prostitute Shoes