Seductive, provocative, commonplace, eccentric and above all powerful – for some time now fashion photography has no longer merely been contract work or aestheticising documentation. It has become a unique opportunity for experimentation, between commerce and creativity, mainstream and subculture, industry and art.
The publishing house Condé Nast opened its archives in New York, Paris, London and Milan for the first time, providing an insight into a photographic collection of paramount quality. The exhibition provides a representative overview of this genre and traces the development of fashion photography – from the classic compositions of the founding fathers such as Edward Steichen and George Hoyningen-Huene to the experimental photography of Erwin Blumenfeld and Irving Penn, from the sexualisation and voyeurism of Helmut Newton and the cool elegance of Peter Lindbergh through to the most recent works by Mario Testino and Tim Walker. It not only presents fashion photographs but also the history of the publishing houses and the establishment of a medium and its transformation. The exhibition also includes works by Cecil Beaton, Man Ray, Diane Arbus, Horst P. Horst, William Klein, Sarah Moon, Albert Watson, Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Corinne Day, and Nick Knight among others.
The curator Nathalie Herschdorfer drew on this substantial, historical stock and put together the essence of 100 years of fashion photography. The exhibition includes more than 150 prints as well as original magazines that have never been exhibited before. A catalogue will be published by Prestel to accompany the exhibition.