Roxanne Lowit dies at 80: Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista lead tributes

Roxanne Lowit dies at 80: Fashion photographer chronicled rise of the supermodel in 1990s… as Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista lead tributes

  • Roxanne Lowit has died at the age of 80, a representative confirmed
  • ‘We are very sad to say we lost a remarkable woman today,’ shared her rep 
  • Lowit was also on hand to witness the rise of the supermodels in the 1990s
  • Her most memorable images featuring Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista
  • Those same models shared tributes via Instagram over the weekend

The beloved American fashion photographer Roxanne Lowit has died at the age of 80, a representative confirmed on Instagram last week. 

‘We are very sad to say we lost a remarkable woman today,’ shared her rep.

Lowit was also on hand to witness the rise of the supermodels in the 1990s, with some of her most memorable images featuring Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington, among others.  

Tributes to New York native Lowit have poured in from leading figures across the creative industry, including Crawford and Evangelista.

A true visionary: American fashion photographer Roxanne Lowit has died at the age of 80, a representative confirmed on Instagram last week. Seen in 2013

A true visionary: American fashion photographer Roxanne Lowit has died at the age of 80, a representative confirmed on Instagram last week. Seen in 2013

Cindy said, ‘Remembering the legendary #RoxanneLowit. If you were anywhere near the fashion scene in the 90s, you would inevitably run into @roxannelowit. She was one of those cool women you only find in New York. 

‘As the ultimate fashion insider, she captured iconic ‘behind-the-scenes’ images before that was even a thing. Her understated, soft-spoken nature made her a welcome presence backstage or anywhere else she wanted to point her camera. RIP’ 

‘She created a genre. She created backstage photography. She was always an invited guest to all of these parties. She wasn’t an outsider. She was an insider taking pictures and she was able to capture these most intimate moments,’ said longtime friend Brian Saltzman, M.D. ‘With her eye, she was able to do it better than anybody else. Ten photographers would go after a shot, but hers was always the one that best captured that moment.’

An eye for detail: 'Her sharp eye has been able to capture the most secret situations, the most hidden of mysteries,' Saint Laurent¿s long-term partner, Pierre Bergé, wrote in the introduction to her 2014 book, Roxanne Lowit Photographs Yves Saint Laurent; seen far left with Joey Arias, right

An eye for detail: ‘Her sharp eye has been able to capture the most secret situations, the most hidden of mysteries,’ Saint Laurent’s long-term partner, Pierre Bergé, wrote in the introduction to her 2014 book, Roxanne Lowit Photographs Yves Saint Laurent; seen far left with Joey Arias, right

Linda shared an image that Lowit took of her. ‘Rest In Peace dear Roxanne,’ she shared in her caption.

The rep also shared: ‘Roxanne Lowit was a legendary photographer who provided an intimate look into the world of fashion and showed us a side of nightlife that most people didn’t get to see. Roxanne was a woman who believed in magic,’ the statement read.

‘Roxanne was a bright, creative light. A great friend who enriched others’ lives in so many ways—she was loved by many and will be greatly missed.’

Born and raised in New York City, Lowit attended the Fashion Institute of Technology before embarking on a successful first career as a textile designer in the 1970s, working for the likes of Donna Karan, Jean Muir, and Scott Barrie. 

A fan: Cindy said, 'Remembering the legendary #RoxanneLowit. If you were anywhere near the fashion scene in the 90s, you would inevitably run into @roxannelowit. She was one of those cool women you only find in New York. Seen last week

A fan: Cindy said, ‘Remembering the legendary #RoxanneLowit. If you were anywhere near the fashion scene in the 90s, you would inevitably run into @roxannelowit. She was one of those cool women you only find in New York. Seen last week

After Lowit began playing around with an Instamatic 110 camera gifted to her by Antonio Lopez, and using it to shoot her own designs backstage at shows, the fashion editor Annie Flanders of SoHo News assigned her to cover Paris Fashion Week.

Having learned to load the film for her new Nikon 35mm camera on the flight to France, she found herself immediately swept up by the Parisian fashion scene, being snuck backstage by her friend Jerry Hall and famously ending up at the top of the Eiffel Tower with Andy Warhol and Yves Saint Laurent on her very first trip. 

After returning to New York, she quit her job and committed to becoming a photographer full time.

Her relationship with Saint Laurent would be one of the most defining of her career. Developing a close rapport with the mercurial designer, she was one of the few photographers admitted to his glittering inner circle, capturing both his muses, from Loulou de la Falaise to Nan Kempner, and the lavish parties he would throw in Paris and Marrakech.

‘Roxanne is always there, even when she is not expected,’ Saint Laurent’s long-term partner, Pierre Bergé, wrote in the introduction to her 2014 book, Roxanne Lowit Photographs Yves Saint Laurent which collated over two decades worth of imagery of the designer and his orbit. 

Another loyal pal: Linda shared an image that Lowit took of her. Seen in 2008

Another loyal pal: Linda shared an image that Lowit took of her. Seen in 2008

‘Her sharp eye has been able to capture the most secret situations, the most hidden of mysteries.’

It was Lowit’s instinct to shoot the behind-the-scenes goings-on at fashion shows, however, that would prove to be one of her most lasting legacies—one born mostly out of necessity, she noted, given that the photographers allowed to shoot the runways at the time were predominantly men.

Sneaking backstage, Lowit was able to capture another side of the fashion circus—a form of coverage that has now become de rigueur for industry publications during fashion month—and offered an intimate window into the more quotidian aspects of life as a model.

Lowit’s images from fashion weeks around the world are a history lesson in the evolving beauty standards of the fashion industry, capturing generation after generation of models. 

Lowit was also on hand to witness the rise of the supermodels in the 1990s, with some of her most memorable images featuring Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington, among others. 

Another regular appearance in Lowit’s photographs is Kate Moss, from her early days as a waif-like ingenue to backstage shots from the height of her career.

Indeed, the list of stars Lowit photographed over the course of her illustrious career reads like a who’s who of fashion luminaries and 20th-century cultural icons: Salvador Dalí, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Madonna, John Galliano, Iggy Pop, Cher, Karl Lagerfeld, Grace Jones, and many, many more.

So too did her work end up being exhibited in institutions from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. 

She is survived by her husband John, her daughter Vanessa, and her grandchildren.  

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