There are stylish and inspiring men out there, and there is Alistair Guy. You rarely meet successful men as polished and humble as this certified gentleman about town who happens to be a brand Ambassador, a style icon, and a talented photographer. This year, Alistair teamed up with British luxury leather goods maker Smythson to present his latest exhibition: Strong Women. It launched at the brand’s Bond Street flagship in London, before moving to Café Royal, and is now showcased at contemporary art gallery Zebra One in Hampstead.
The exhibition compiles striking photographs of women who are not only Alistair’s friends, but also iconic figures all excelling in their respective fields. Each subject was captured on black and white film with natural light only, resulting in photographs that exude authenticity and rendering Alistair’s sincerity almost palpable. It is a celebration of women that Alistair delivered, and what we could call a feminist stance. “My parents brought me up to treat everybody equaling in race, gender, and sexuality. If that means I’m a feminist, then yes, I am,” Alistair explained, adding that “women mentally are terribly strong, but they are also fragile. I believe there is an incredible beauty in this dichotomy. The Strong Women project is a celebration of femininity as well as a celebration of each person and their character.” Zebra One curator Gabrielle du Plooy stated that “too often, masculinity is equated with power, strength and success, but this show celebrates and embraces empowering femininity, which has been swept beneath the carpet for too long.”
There are multitude stories behind the series. Alistair was particularly moved by Golden Globe recipient Tippi Hedren – the star of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. “Photographing and meeting the legendary actress Tippi Hedren at Shambala, her animal sanctuary in California, was quite an experience. Her commitment and generosity in saving those animals from harm, housing them and creating an animal charity is an inspiration of strength and courage which is what my Strong Women exhibition is all about.” Alistair also photographed Daphne Selfe, fashion’s 83-year-old revered supermodel. “Strong women came about because of [Daphne] being who she is; the fact that she has worked for 60 years within the modelling industry and does yoga every day alongside having a family. She is a wonderful woman and quite inspirational.”
The full Strong Women list includes Savannah Miller, Melanie Griffith, Tilly Wood, Daphne Guinness, Tamsin Egerton, Jade Parfitt, Amy Manson, Lena Gora, Shruti Ganguly, Jan De Villeneuve, Greta Ballamacina, Martina Bjorn, Brix Smith-Start, Elizabeth Von Guttman, and Erin Tonkon.
Images courtesy of Alistair Guy.
Words by Pierre A. M’Pelé