It Seems Like Yesterday

In the interim between the weekly LIFE magazine closing at the end of 1972, and the monthly LIFE start-up in 1978, I photographed for WWD and W magazine under the stewardship of the legendary John Fairchild.  

André Leon Talley came aboard as a reporter for WWD, and we were given assignments together to cover the fashion scene. He was consumed by what was happening in the fashion world while I was interested in taking good photographs.

When People magazine launched in 1974, I returned to the ranks at Time Inc., and André went on to break barriers and to fame at Vogue.

We ran into each other from time to time. In the photograph here with Halston taken in June 1977,  we were both at Tanglewood for a Halston charity extravaganza. I snapped this photograph of the two of them as an aside as I was there to photograph Halston with Liza and Liz for the cover of People.  

When Andre published his memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, someone called me to say I was mentioned on page 35. André was describing with over-the-top enthusiasm Halston’s lycra bodysuits with flowing taffeta skirts and went on to say: 

“The great Scottish photographer Harry Benson shot them for W, and they are some of the finest illustrations of American high style of the era.”  

Unfortunately I never bothered to get the book, and now  I’m sorry as I would’ve liked to have had Andre sign it for me. 

The last time we met was at the private screening of André’s documentary, The Gospel According to Andre. The seating was perfection. Each seat in the screening room had the person’s name taped to the back of the seat, more or less according to their status in the fashion world…happily Gigi and I had good seats.

That was André’s world. Perfection. Fantasy. Extreme glamour. Extreme everything. Yes, that was André’s world.