Last month I wrote about the Pierre & Gilles retrospective exhibition in a museum in Brussels because I have been following this artistic duo for a long time and wanted to share a milestone in their careers with you. It wasn’t until I got into reading more of their back story that I realized that someone I met a while ago here in Berlin is part of their very colorful story and he also has a few adventures of his own to tell.
A friend of mine and native berliner named Andréas Bernhardt had previously shared a few stories about his long and successful career doing hair and makeup in the world of fashion, TV and movies. He has worked with famous photographers such as Ali Kepenek, Andy Warhol, Greg Gorman, Helmut Newton and newcomer Matt Lambert. His corporate clients include Adidas, Cartier, MTV and Thierry Mugler to name a few. He has worked with numerous celebrities – Cindy Crawford, Cindy Lauper, Conchita Wurst, Debbie Harry, Dita von Teese, Eddie Izzard, Holly Woodlawn, Juliette Greco, Kylie Minogue, Linda Evangelista, Malcolm McLaren, Marylin Manson, Rupaul, Tilda Swinton, Tracy Lords, Tyra Banks and his list keeps on growing.
One aftrenoon in his living room surrounded by many books and treasures he started flipping back a few pages in time and spoke of the fresh out of school Andréas and an opportunity to work in the USA which, with great hestitation, he ended up accepting. This turned out to be the rollercoaster ride of his life. The inital offer on the west coast was not as solid as it was first presented and ended up unraveling in a very short time. He decided to fly back across the country to New York City. There while exploring, he randomly came upon the infamous Fiorucci store where he was greeted by the manager – Mr. Joey Arias. With this chance encounter and quickly developing friendship Andreas was introduced to many of the A-listers of the NYC scene at the time – invitations to all kinds of VIP events were coming his way including one to the art opening of the city’s newest artist of the time Keith Harring.
This is where the two narratives start to cross paths. Assignment after assignment was being booked for him by his new NYC agency. Then one day Andréas was presented with the opportunity to work in London and was soon off to live and work in the UK. ‚Rinse and Repeat‘ as it says on back of the shampoo bottle; the talented and charming Andréas quickly found himself at center of London’s arts, entertainment and fashion scene meeting more of the celebs from the lists above. A few years on, thru a series of introductions and connections, his talents were requested in France to work with Pierre & Gilles on a shoot. This led to him to relocating to Paris and many years of professional bookings there as well as a long term cooperation with this french artistic couple.
For the 10th anniversary of the French gay magazine Gai Peid, Pierre & Gilles were commissioned to do a special cover and asked Andréas to be one of their models – the rest is gay art history. It was this successful cover edition that united Andréas with Pierre & Gilles and which later led these three artists to continue their special friendship by giving their generous support working with the Life Ball events in Vienna.
In 2013 as they were all gearing up for another amazing Life Ball production and it was very close to the date that they were scheduled to do the poster fotoshoot, their model – a boyfriend of a famous fashion designer abruptly cancelled and Pierre & Gilles asked Andréas for some help to find a sexy replacement. Thats when he contacted his old roommate Tony Ward who he thought would be PERFECT for this … and he was! Remembering these times we agreed, „Funny how these things all work out.“
Yes, our city has its many treasures, but this one named Andréas, a courteous and unpretentious jetset artist, still returns to the flat of his childhood, tucked away in a quiet corner of Berlin for some well deserved rest & relaxation so he can recharge before his next big assignment where he will no doubt preform more of his magic.