At a cocktail social gathering in Decrease Manhattan on Friday to have fun a brand new assortment of clothes and accessories designed by the style photographer Steven Meisel for Zara, virtually the one boldface identify who didn’t present up was Steven Meisel.

“I would have been surprised if he had come,” mentioned Edward Enninful, the editor in chief of British Vogue, standing exterior the occasion area on Howard Road because the mannequin Kaia Gerber walked by. “He’s shy. He lets the work speak for itself.”

If Mr. Meisel had been a film star, mentioned one other visitor, the author James Reginato, he’d be Greta Garbo.

Mr. Meisel’s photograph spreads are identified for his or her ingenious and sometimes satirical narratives. In “Makeover Madness,” a 2005 function for Italian Vogue, Linda Evangelista posed as a couture-clad socialite with a cosmetic surgery habit.

Ms. Evangelista was one in every of many fashions on the social gathering, together with plenty of editors, stylists and different fashion-world individuals who have labored with Mr. Meisel.

He appears to be having a second. Along with the Zara collaboration, Phaidon is publishing a guide this month, “Linda Evangelista Photographed by Steven Meisel.” On Oct. 6, Christie’s is holding an public sale titled “Madonna x Meisel — the Sex Photographs” of greater than 40 pictures from Madonna’s 1992 espresso desk guide, “Sex.”

Mr. Meisel, who shot the quilt for Madonna’s 1984 album, “Like a Virgin,” was her chief collaborator for “Sex.” She has credited him with instructing her to deal with every photograph shoot as “a small film” and to rework in every into a brand new character. “He was the first person to introduce me to the idea of reinvention,” Madonna as soon as mentioned in an interview with Vogue.

A number of fashions on the social gathering spoke of how Mr. Meisel had both discovered signature seems for them or modified their appearances in methods that they had not imagined.

Karen Elson, who made her identify with a goth princess look, was decked out in a black trench coat that Mr. Meisel had designed for Zara. She mentioned that when she met Mr. Meisel in 1996, she was “a mousy strawberry blond.” On their second shoot collectively, for Italian Vogue, Mr. Meisel tried one thing new.

“They shaved my eyebrows off and colored my hair red,” Ms. Elson mentioned. “It was the first time I saw myself, if that makes sense. Steven has this uncanny ability to make his subjects feel seen. It was like I had been transformed into who I am, and that’s something magical he possesses. They call him a Svengali for a reason.”

The mannequin Joan Smalls recalled working with Mr. Meisel on a Moschino advert marketing campaign through which he spoofed a TV collection from the ’80s the place “all the women hate each other.”

If solely she may bear in mind the identify of the present.

“‘Dynasty’?” a reporter requested.

“Yes, that’s it. Exactly,” she mentioned. “It was just so much fun.”

Mr. Meisel way back stopped going to occasions the place he could be photographed. However everybody in style is aware of his look: androgynous, with lengthy black hair and all black garments, with a punk edge. His designs for Zara had been of a bit with that. “It’s his uniform,” the mannequin Karolina Kurkova mentioned as she picked out a black leather-based biker cap from the racks.

Just a few toes away, the hairstylist Julien d’Ys was attempting on a faux-fur winter hat that recommended a mash-up of Dr. Zhivago and Rick Owens. Mr. d’Ys described how Mr. Meisel had introduced him to New York within the early ’80s to satisfy the designer Stephen Sprouse.

Mr. Sprouse and Mr. Meisel had labored collectively within the ’70s, beneath the designer Halston. Mr. Sprouse, who died in 2004, was the studio supervisor. Mr. Meisel, a gifted illustrator, was accountable for offering the Halston seamstresses with drawings that served as blueprints. However he didn’t get together with the boss, who derisively nicknamed him “Pocahontas,” Mr. Meisel advised Vogue in a uncommon interview in 2009.

After a while at Ladies’s Put on Day by day, Mr. Meisel was delivered to Condé Nast by its editorial director, Alexander Liberman, and commenced taking pictures for a lot of of its publications. Prada, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton and Versace began calling on him for advert campaigns. In these days, Mr. Meisel went in all places — Mudd Membership, Space, Marc Jacobs reveals. The reclusive half, Mr. d’Ys mentioned, got here later.

In 2009, when the Worldwide Heart of Pictures staged an exhibition that includes Mr. Meisel’s work, the Vogue editor Anna Wintour assigned a profile of Mr. Meisel. The consequence was an article suggesting {that a} attainable purpose for his reclusiveness was insecurity about his weight.

After that, Mr. Meisel shot for American Vogue solely sporadically. Requested concerning the obvious deterioration of the journal’s relationship with Mr. Meisel, Ms. Wintour mentioned in an electronic mail, “Steven is an absolutely brilliant photographer, someone whose work defines our era and Vogue’s history, and I admire him so much.”

At somewhat previous 6 p.m., Tonne Goodman, a former style director at Vogue, made a beeline to Ms. Evangelista, who was decked out in a black oversize Meisel for Zara blazer alongside together with her personal billowing black skirt and a pair of Meisel-designed biker boots.

“Aren’t they great?” she mentioned.

Mr. d’Ys gave Ms. Evangelista a kiss hi there, which become an extended embrace.

“He gave me my original haircut!” Ms. Evangelista mentioned, recalling a shoot from early in her profession, when Mr. Meisel was behind the digicam and Mr. d’Ys styled her hair. “He’s the one who made me cry.”

As Ms. Evangelista advised it, she wasn’t ready in the beginning to alter her look so drastically. However that’s what it was like working with Mr. Meisel.

A reporter requested her why he gave the impression to be having a resurgence.

“But is it a resurgence?” Ms. Evangelista mentioned. “I don’t know. I think he’s done a few things all at the same time, and there is this younger generation that’s coming to appreciate him now and discover him, I guess.”

“He’s legendary,” she continued. “We all go into our quieter moments and then resurface. It’s not like he ever went away. Not like me.”