The best thing about Tyra Banks‘ new photo project, Tyra Banks Presents 15 — A Tribute to the Supermodel, is seeing if you can identify all of the iconic beauties she is mimicking. (Spoiler Alert: The photo series below has caption information.)
Some, like the Cindy Crawford tribute (above), are immediately recognizable. Others, like Tyra’s take on newcomers Kate Upton and Karlie Kloss, are a bit of a stretch.
Of course, Tyra and photographer Udo Spreitzenbarth make most of the staged shots easier to identify by aping not just the looks and familiar poses of top models from the past 50 years, but saluting the maestros behind the camera for those iconic images as well.
Thus, you may not instantly spot Tyra’s Claudia Schiffer, but you’ll like the way they recreated the Ellen von Unwerth photo campaign for Guess that launched Claudia’s career. Same goes for Tyra’s version of Jerry Hall; if the great blonde mane doesn’t give it away, the faux Richard Avedon photo composition will.
The Tyra 15 project is a New York Fashion Week exhibition that opened yesterday at Jack Studios in Chelsea. It’s really a kind of fashion baker’s dozen: the ANTM host channels 14 iconic models in black-and-white images that are, according photographer Udo, completely un-retouched — that alone makes this remarkable. The 15th shot in the series is one of Tyra doing Tyra … as she looked at age 15 before her career breakout.
Unsurprisingly, the project has earned some knee-jerk criticism for reverse blackfacing, thanks to Tyra’s liberal use of white makeup to help recreate the bleached looks of Kate Moss, Cara Delevigne and others. (Remember when America’s Next Top Model got slammed for showing contestants in biracial skin tones a few years back?)
But that’s hardly the point of Tyra’s 15, which manages to bridge racial divides, national boundaries and generations, too: from a pre-teen Brooke Shields tribute to the imperious octegenarian Carmen Dell’Orefice.