* 23 May 1960, Franco-Algerian, muse, model, actress & documentary director
I await Farida in my studio where I prepared everything to photograph her hands. She arrives on time with her impeccable looks. Her fresh energy fills the room and I instantly feel all her qualities as a muse. She is not afraid, ready to trust, to inspire, to try, to engage and get things done. I am immensely happy that she agreed so effortlessly to be part of my series and there is no doubt in my mind that she is not a creative person, although she has a slightly more modest opinion about herself. Farida rules and anyone who is lucky enough to meet her will be enchanted.
Born in Vénissieux to Algerian parents, Farida Khelfa grew up in the Lyon suburbs surrounded by eight brothers and sisters. Aspiring to a different kind of life, she ran away to Paris at the age of 16. In the capital, she made several encounters. Christian Louboutin became her best friend. Together, they went out at night to party at the famous Palace.
Her personality, her allure, her silhouette and her beauty, far removed from the aesthetics of her era, defined her as a young woman whom nobody could ignore. In 1979, Jean Paul Gaultier noticed her and asked her to partake in his fashion show. This first catwalk experience jump-started her modeling career. After that, she was often present on the podiums of the most talented designers of that generation: Jean-Paul Gaultier, Azzedine Alaïa, Thierry Mugler… She incarnated a spirit and a look that hinted rebel while also encapsulating the desire for diversity that was the rage of that era.
Meanwhile she worked at the Bains-Douches, where she met photographer Jean-Paul Goude who considered her his muse. The photographs they produced together quickly became legendary. Inspired by all these experiences, Farida involved herself in the cinema as early as 1985. Her career as an actress and a model ended in 1995 when she decided to join Azzedine Alaïa’s design studio. In 2002, she became the head of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Haute Couture salons.
In 2004, Farida became once again independent. She went back to the world of cinema. She was filmed by Alain Robbe-Grillet, Julian Schnabel, Cédric Klapisch and Catherine Breillat… As with fashion, where she worked first as a model, then with designers, in 2010 she switched from actress to film direction. Her first documentary showcased the success story of Jean Paul Gaultier. Others followed, featuring subjects as divergent as the artistic youth of Tunisia before the revolution or the French presidential campaign of 2012. In May 2012, Farida Khelfa became the House of Schiaparelli’s ambassador.
Farida is married to French businessman Henry Seydoux, has two sons and lives in Paris.
Source: Schiaparelli, Wikipedia