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Cover Story Feature Model Ines Lunardi

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Ines Lunardi

Fashion, Style And Substance

By Ed Bertha

Photography By Giovanni Lunardi

In the 1960’s fashion photography in weekly Italian magazines was boring, specifically the periodicals and magazines geared towards women’s interests such as solutions to common household tasks, social etiquette and clothing style tips on a budget. At this time there were no international modeling agencies and models featured in magazines could be a friend of a friend, a beautiful girl who assumed a perfect pose to exhibit the clothing at its best. 

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Then in 1965-66 Giovanni Lunardi and Ines Kummernuss arrived on the scene and something began to change. Giovanni Lunardi was originally from Parma, Italy but for a long time had worked as a photo assistant in the Paris Vogue Studios. Ines Kummernuss was born in Hamburg, Germany and was studying to become a Theatrical Costume Designer in Munich.

The editors of Amica, then a weekly circulation with a large distribution, wanted them both to produce a small issue featuring “the girl from Munich”. Ines had an unusual face, different from the other beauties featured in the fashion magazine at the time; a small overbite, ears that stuck out slightly, but an impeccable figure, slim without being anorexic and very long legs and neck. She was able to look equally elegant in jeans and evening dresses. Ines had a very expressive face and an intelligent look that even allowed her to pose wearing the impossible wigs that back then were very fashionable. 

Giovanni, with whom Ines often worked, preferred a “natural” type of photography that allowed the model to move in more free and lively manner. He preferred the streets to the studio, a relaxed pose to a stiff one, real happiness to fake posed glamour. 

Ines was the perfect woman for this; very beautiful but not ill tempered, very elegant but capable of joking. Her number of magazine issues multiplied and the number of covers increased. The magical world of the top model did not yet exist and her name was known only to those who worked in the industry, however, the readers quickly got used to seeing her every week on the pages of the magazine. They began to consider her as a friend that suggested new ways of dressing, how to use cosmetics and style their hair. 

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Ines applying makeup to a model at her studio in Sarasota

For a decade Ines was “the image of fashion” in Italy, starting with pret-à-porter, then the face of high fashion but also commercial clothing lines.

Her class and spontaneity in front of the camera served as an example and contributed to the changing image of women. Thanks to her a new profession was born that required not only beauty but intelligence and self irony.

Giovanna Calvenzi
Journalist
Milano, Italy

ausrtralia-opera
Sydney Opera House 1973

Ines Kummernuss Lunardi was a famous model during the 1960’s and 70’s. She worked with many great photographers for some of the most prestigious fashion magazines in Paris, London, New York and Milan; fashion capitals of the world. Ines was born in Hamburg, Germany but moved to Milan in order to pursue her career, leading her to travel all around the world.

For the last fifteen years Ines has resided in Sarasota with her family. Her husband, Giovanni Lunardi, was responsible for shooting the first pictures that began her career.  Ines also has three grown sons; Christian, works in the studio with his father and mother, Leonardo, an Architect and Bruno, a Dental Technician.
 
We met Ines at her house on Lido Key where she takes care of the beautiful tropical gardens surrounding the family home. Moving inside we head to the large kitchen where she spends a great deal of time enjoying preparing the many Italian family recipes she learned from Giovanni’s mother. 

As a model you had a fantastic career for almost twenty years appearing on the cover of many top fashion magazines. How did your career start?

During my summer vacation in 1963 in Opatija, Yugoslavia I met Giovanni Lunardi, a fashion photographer in Milan. He took some pictures of me that he later took back to Milan and presented to a fashion editor of an important magazine. A few days later I was invited to do a fashion issue in Milan with Giovanni as the photographer. During the trip from Munich to Milan I was nervous and insecure because I was entering a world that was unknown to me. The test photo shoot was very successful and a week later I was offered a two year contract. That was the beginning of my modeling career and the beginning of the best time of my life. I am grateful that Giovanni guided me through the difficulties of this work and helped me achieve this success. 

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Saigon 1973

Throughout your career you worked mainly with Giovanni Lunardi.  Have you worked with other famous photographers? If so, who did you like best?

During the early years of my career in Milan, Paris and London I worked only with Giovanni.  By this time we had fallen in love. Our work together brought us a lot of success and happiness. We had a beautiful house in the center of Milan and Giovanni had his studio very close to our home. After a couple of years I started to work with other photographers in Paris and London such as Guy Bourdin, Helmuth Newton and David Bailey. I also worked with Gundlach and Rico Pullman in Germany, which provided me an opportunity to visit with my family there. In the late sixties we rented an apartment in New York City where I had the chance to work with Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and many other photographers. My photographs were published in Elle Magazine, Vogue, Bazaar, Marie Claire, and McCall’s to name a few.  My favorite photographer was Helmuth Newton. He had a terrible character; he was very demanding and very hard on all of the models but since we were both German we developed a good working relationship and became good friends. 

Tell me about some of the positive and negative aspects of working as a model.

When you get to be a top model the work is fascinating. You are given the opportunity to experience many different worlds and meet unbelievable people.  Modeling allowed me to travel to so many beautiful cities. While traveling was exhilarating and exciting it was also difficult to always have a bag packed to be ready to leave for the next trip and to miss spending time with the people you love. Also, because magazines work on their issues three or four months in advance, you have to be prepared to work in a bikini in cold weather or fur coats in the summer. 

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Fashion Shoot Milano 1969

What other famous models have you worked with?

When I was working for Elle and Vogue for the high fashion collection in Paris I met many famous models. It is the nature of the fashion industry to meet the same people time and time again, and this lead me to develop friendships with many of the other models. I worked with Johanna Shimkus, who later became the wife of Sidney Poitier, with Marisa Berenson, Greta Scacchi, Jean Shrimpton, Lauren Hutton, Dale Haddon, and Barbara Bach, who was married to one of the singers of the Rolling Stones. 

 You traveled for much of your career. Is there one special trip you remember better than others?

My trips were all fascinating because we always got to visit the most exclusive places and hotels, and we met very special people. I really liked South Africa, Australia, Indian Kashmir, and Russia, where we shot 15 pages for McCall’s during a two week trip through the beautiful landscape. My favorite trip was when I went to Vietnam with Giovanni at the end of the war when the American Troops had just started leaving Saigon. This was a real adventure but also difficult because while we were working, there was a curfew in the country as well as ongoing fighting among the north and south with fully armed soldiers walking among the civilians.

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Capri 1966

How were you able to manage your career and your family?

Both Giovanni and I had wonderful families who were always available to help when we had to take a long trip. When Christian was very young he would stay with Giovanni’s parents in Parma or my parents would come from Hamburg to stay in Milan to take care of him. Often Christian would follow us on our trips and when he was older he started helping us on set. It is this experience that fueled his passion to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a photographer as well.

 I understand you also worked in the movie industry. What was this experience like?

I was in only one film called “Alibi”. In this film I had a starring role.  I was lucky enough to work with two famous Italian actors Vittorio Gassmann and Adolfo Celi who helped me quite a bit during the filming of the movie. The movie was filmed in Rome, Italy and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. It was an unforgettable experience but taught me that acting was not really for me. 

 ines-kashmir
Kashmir, India 1969

What activities did you pursue when you were done with your modeling career?

With three young boys at home there was always many things to do. I took care of my family and worked on different assignments with Giovanni in his studio. During the 1980’s I owned a fashion boutique in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy. I enjoyed this very much.

 Since moving to Sarasota how do you spend your time?

Besides gardening, I work full time with Giovanni and Christian in the studio. While still in Milan I had studied to become a stylist and makeup artist, and this is what I now do on a daily basis. In our studio I manage and organize a large wardrobe room containing hundreds of articles of clothing, hats, jewelry, shoes and props for all seasons that we use to produce fashion shots for our American and European customers. The clothing is also used when working with young aspiring models to create their portfolios. My job is to select the right combination of clothes, accessories and apply the makeup that will best accentuate the model’s features. 

When working for REAL Magazine I take the time to understand the style of each of the people we photograph and pick the best wardrobe for the photograph we have in mind. 

Generally, everyday makeup is not the best fit for photographs because it is too saturated and shiny. We utilize a special type of makeup to create a fresh, smooth and matte skin which is better suited for digital pictures. We use the same technique when we take pictures for people who need a portrait for their business or their family. Giovanni also uses different types of light for each of his clients depending on their age, type of skin, and the sensitivity of their eyes. He uses natural light, strobe lights, or other special lights that give their skin a beautiful tone. 

I truly enjoy the creativity and beautiful results of this job. It gives me a lot of satisfaction when I can make another person happy because she can see herself in the pictures we take as more sexy, more beautiful and more attractive whether the picture is for a job, to surprise a loved one or to just preserve a beautiful image for the future.

Copyright © 2012 REAL Magazine
Links to this article are encouraged

Photography used under license from Giovanni Lunardi Photography
Photography Copyright © 2012 Giovanni Lunardi Photography

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