The news of George Michael’s passing broke a lot of hearts. This year (not to save us from tears!) took all the good ones. And, while his amazing influence on pop music as a genre is indisputable, his influence on fashion and style are not to be overlooked. His ‘Freedom’ majorly influenced fashion (and womankind!). The iconic video for his hit 1990 song featured the top supermodels: Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Tatjana Patitz. They all lip-synced the famous lyrics and set the song to the roof!
Just last year (when we gave him our hearts- or was that back in the 90’s already?), the supermodels gathered to reveal what the filming of the video was actually like. It was the 25th anniversary of George Michael’s video and they all decided to speak about being a part of such an iconic video. Today, as we mourn his death, read bellow their thoughts on George and the one-of-a-kind experience of shooting the video that blended the fashion and music worlds together perfectly.
‘I came to the set on the first day they were shooting. Oh my god, it was crazy! It was during the fashion collections, so I came straight from Paris, and I’d done 4 or 5 shows the day before and we finished at 2 o’clock in the morning. They didn’t have the Eurostar then, so I took the 6 o’clock train to London and then went to the airport. I didn’t sleep—I went from the plane to the shower to the set. I was up all night working to work all night again! But it was great. I love George Michael, and I love all the girls who were in it, and the director, David Fincher, is a great filmmaker.’ (Naomi Campbell)
“25 years later, this video—and not my magazine covers—is what people mention the most when they approach me on the street. It’s pretty incredible.” (Linda Evangelista)
“It was a whirlwind. I flew in from LA and drove straight to the set, so I was pretty delirious. Each of us filmed for a day on our own, except Linda and I overlapped on the last day because we had a scene together. They were long days. I don’t recall any specific direction from David Fincher. He was focused on the lighting I recall. George was there the whole time and very involved. I didn’t get the cassette for the song until I arrived. I listened to the track repeatedly the entire drive to the studio. I barely had the lyrics down when we filmed. My first shot which was me crawling behind a paper board with a slit cut in it so it only revealed a part of my face. Every time I couldn’t remember the words, I ducked down so only my eyes were visible. By the end of the shoot, I couldn’t not hear the song in my head.” (Christy Turlington)
“I remember them sending me a Walkman so I could learn the words before I got to set. The studio was huge and dark and smoky. Someone explained to me that my first shot would be in a bathtub. They oiled me up and put me in an empty tub with a smoke machine to look like steam. I had to sit on an apple crate because you couldn’t see me over the edge of the tub. My second shot was sitting on a chair with a towel on my head, and I kept thinking my part wasn’t going to be that sexy. I watched the video recently, as I wanted to write about the whole supermodel phenomenon in my new book Becoming and my kids were like ‘Hey, we know that song!’. I think it stands the test of time and still looks amazing today. I like how David Fincher saw something different in each of us and tried to bring that out in the video.’ (Cindy Crawford)
‘All the models and I knew George Michael- I think I had done a photo shoot with him at some point before. His manager contacted my agent to see if I could do the video. George wasn’t in it- he wasn’t even on the set when I was there. David Fincher directed it, which was so exciting even then because he had already done one of Madonna’s videos. When I shot my segment it was just me on the sound stage in London, and it took all day for each girl. I was up against the wall in this leopard robe, and David told me to imagine that I was in this huge loft by myself, relaxing. He was very clear with his direction. The hairdresser did my hair really curly- I was like, are you trying to make me look like I put my fingers in a socket? And then he also had me lie on that chase-lounge and smoke. But the way it came out, it looked so cool. When you’re doing something, you don’t know what it’s going to look like, but the way they cut it together, with all the close-ups, is amazing. It was shot on film, which to me is so romantic. The digital world has become so crisp and unforgiving, but film is just… yummy!’ (Tatjana Patitz)