Photographer Maxime Imbert and stylist Cristina Firpo present their new zine, which takes inspiration from Susan Meiselas’ seminal Prince Street Girls series
In 1974, Susan Meiselas moved to Mott Street, in the heart of Manhattan’s famous Little Italy neighbourhood, and soon after met a gaggle of preteen girls on the cusp of adolescence. She got to know this group, photographing their adventures as they traipsed around town, walking through the streets knowing that the world was theirs for the taking. Her photographs, which are brought together in the series Prince Street Girls, have become icons in their own right, capturing the innocent yet knowing pleasures of youth, when summers were bountiful and responsibilities were few.
Fast forward five and a half decades to April 2021, when photographer Maxime Imbert and stylist Cristina Firpo teamed up to shoot Prince Street, a zine printed in a limited edition of 100 copies. Photographed on location at a house in Eltham South, east London, Prince Street tells the story of four sisters spending the summer holidays at home. Dressed in vintage Prada, Fiona O’Neill, Helena Manzano, Alexandra Armata, and Ilana Blumberg, the girls effuse a sense of casual chic, ready for wherever life may take them.
A familiar sensation of excitement and boredom fills the photographs, lending the images a melancholic air and the viewer a sense of nostalgia for a perhaps simpler time. With a second edition potentially on the way, all profits from Prince Street will go to Hackney Quest, a charity organisation serving the young people and families of Imbert and Firpo’s own neighbourhood. Here, the duo tells us about the making of Prince Street.
“Prince Street is inspired by a house in De Beauvoir where a friend currently lives, that was originally owned by a relative who emigrated from Italy in the late 1960s. Although from the outside the house looks like a typical London townhouse, on the inside it has a very strong Italian identity and has remained pretty much the same since the late 60s/early 70s. We wanted to channel that contrast into this series. When this location was no longer available for us, we adapted the story accordingly. It became less about the Italian influence, though this idea still played a big part in creating this imaginary world and in the set design.
“We started looking into how we could incorporate this idea into a fashion editorial and came across Susan Meiselas’ Prince Street Girls series, which played a big part in the type of casting and clothing styles we wanted for the work. We wanted to recreate this idea of sisterhood and girlhood that she portrays in these images. We wanted the girls to look related so the story would feel familiar, but it’s also unclear what relationship the girls have to one another. We looked for girls with a similar Mediterranean heritage: blue eyes, olive and fair skin, and dark brown hair, and curls. Hair stylist Sophie Jane Anderson did an amazing job.
“The images had to feel real but with a hazy, dreamy touch providing a sense of nostalgia. We mixed some vintage 70s pieces to offer a subtle reminder of the theme throughout, blending in pieces by young designers to give it a more contemporary feel, while keeping the mystery of not knowing precisely which era we are in.”
Hair: Sophie Jane Anderson. Make-up: Michelle Dacillo. Models: Giulia at Present, Jimena at The Hive, Katie at Premier and Emily at Select. Casting: Monika Domarke. Set design: Max Randall. Print design: Mélanie Imbert.