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Ellen von Unwerth


Scouted on her first day of university, the model turned photographer is known for her seductive imagery, including the world famous Guess campaigns.


Ellen von Unwerth’s career in fashion began accidently on her first day of university in Munich, “As I was walking towards the door to register, a model scout approached me and that was about as far as my university life went!” After modelling in Munich, von Unwerth relocated to Paris to sign with Elite, following a call from John Casablancas. “I modelled all over the world for about 10 years while living in Paris, and then one day, when I was about to leave for another shoot in Kenya, my boyfriend gave me a camera.”

Von Unwerth has now shot for all of the of top fashion publications including VogueVanity FairInterviewThe FaceArena, and i-D, and published dozens of books of personal work from exhibitions around the world.

Her photographic career really took off when she landed a Guess campaign, featuring Claudia Schiffer. It was von Unwerth’s photographic style, which focuses on seductive, provocative women in playful scenarios, that would dictate Guess’ infamously provocative advertising campaigns for the next 30 years. She would go on to shoot campaigns for Dior, John Galliano , Ralph Lauren , Thierry Mulger and Uniqlo, and many more.

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What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.