100 years: a milestone birthday. Vogue, the monthly magazine for Fashion (and beyond) celebrates its first century of British edition at the National Portrait Gallery ( London)
Vogue 100, a Century of Style: over 280 shots, taken from Condé Nast archives, published from 1916 to nowadays.
“My hope is that the visitor will go back home with the assurance that Vogue is so much more than just a fashion magazine or clothing. It is a cultural barometer of our times. ” Explains the exhibition’s curator Robin Muir.
In addition to original prints, the works of photographers such as Cecil Beaton, Lee Miller, Norman Parkinson, Avedon, Irving Penn, Helmet Newton, and Mario Testino, the show displays dozens of portraits of Hollywood stars of the Fifties, up to those of the nineties supermodels, including “naughty girl from Croydon”, Kate Moss, British pride, almost deified for the exposure.
The photographers of Vogue are not just big names of the fashion world, they are big names in photography. ” Says Alexandra Shulman, the current editor in chief of Vogue, “we are always interested in new talents, in addition to the already established personalities.”
In fact we see the evolution of photography from the beginning of the last century, when the covers were almost artistic posters, to the glossy cover of today. And so, in the same show: artistic photos where the subject almost disappears in the beauty of dream landscapes or in the complexity of a make-up, portraits of Royals (Princess Diana, in primiis), or even the Beatles, from style icons as Twiggy, to the Supermodel Naomi and Claudia and the more “pop” ones Uma Thruman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Keira Knightley.
Also men, icon of British elegance,such as Rupert Everett and Hugh Grant.
Until May 22 it will be possible to take a trip in the history of the style, looking at the evolution of a mega brand like Vogue, which by 1996 already boasted an impressive website. Communicate through images, through the video: indeed, the exhibition opens with a mega wall screen projecting the most influential divas of the moment .
This knockout exhibition may look like it’s primarily for those interested in fashion, but looking back on it, I can hardly remember any fashion in the sense of something someone might actually wear. It’s all about storytelling, image-making and personalities. On this showing, Vogue is about selling dreams rather than selling clothes. But that probably always has been the ultimate essence of fashion.