Gap’s iconic portraits – when classic is best

I spotted this great portrait of Rifat Ozbek by Steven Meisel (above) in a book in the Gap store. The book is Individuals: Portraits from the Gap Collection and is currently going for a song on Amazon. The book is full of portraits by the likes of Herb Ritts, Annie Leibovitz, David Sims and Meisel and goes to show that Gap has been doing for years what lots of brands are only just doing now. That is, photographing interesting people in a way that represents their own style. Yes, Karl Lagerfeld did a sterling job with Little Black Jacket, but Gap did it first.

What’s also interesting though is that of the work in this book, 50% is pretty good but 50% is dire! I won’t name names, but some of the compositions are beyond dreadful – unflattering, unstylish, just plain bad. The standouts for me are Herb Ritts and David Sims’ portraits of models and creatives in the absolute classics – Gap denim, white shirts and a standard pocket tee. You just can’t beat the classics…

Andrée Putman by Annie Leibowitz

Talisa Soto by Herb Ritts

Loulou De La Falaise by Steven Meisel

Stella Tennant by David Sims