Winona forever! For people of a certain age, the phrase needs no explanation. A mega-celebrity for what seems like a lifetime, Winona Ryder has somehow managed to retain an innate sense of coolness and, more crucially, an air of mystery. “I myself am strange and unusual,” she says as Lydia Deetz in the classic Tim Burton film Beetlejuice, but she could have also been talking about herself. Everyone loves Winona.
For a long time now, the cooler-than-cool publisher IDEA has sold T-shirts and hats emblazoned with her name—no peg or explanation needed. Those who got it, got it. Robert Rich, the former VP of public relations for the Marc Jacobs store, got it. “About a year ago, I DM’ed IDEA Books because they do the Winona T-shirts and the Winona hats, and said, ‘Would you be interested in doing a Winona book of photographs?’” he recalled on a recent Zoom call from his apartment.
“My office was in the basement of the Marc store on Mercer, and behind my office was this sample room with dresses and shoes, and I would bring the girls down and they would try everything on, and I’d Polaroid them,” Rich explained. “Winona walked in one day and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I loved Girl Interrupted’, and she was like, ‘that’s a girl’s movie! And I was like, ‘I’m a girl’s-movie-kind-of-guy, and that’s how we became friends.”
The book, aptly titled Winona, gathers a slew of candid Polaroids and iPhone shots of the actress taken by Rich. The images document their friendship, beginning in the basement of the Marc store, and across hotels in New York and Los Angeles and in both of their homes. (Photos of Winona eating pizza, for example, were taken at Rich’s apartment—and the pizza was made by his mother).
The pictures are presented without captions or dates, and except for an introduction by Rich and a foreword by Jacobs, there is no text in the book. “I wish I’d dated the photos on the back, but it was just spontaneous,” Rich explains. “I’d throw ’em in my back pocket to develop them, and then she would take some and I would take some.” After he began assembling the book, with the help of Francesca Sorrenti, who worked as the creative director, Winona sent some of her own favorite shots that she’d kept.