PHOTOGRAPHY Coming Into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast, City Art Centre Edinburgh

With its emphasis on fashion photography as growing into an art form in its own right, City Art Centre's current Condé Nast expo offers a brilliantly detailed background to the world of fashion publishing through the prism of page art. That is, through the original photographs of the worlds most influential fashion photographers from the past one hundred years. 

Coming Into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast explores the collaboration between the photographer, model, stylist, art director, retoucher and editor-in-chief in Condé Nast's titles (there are some lovely examples of spreads from back issues, and wonderful vintage covers on display), but also steps back and looks at the photographs in their original form.

It is wonderful to see works from the likes of Lee Miller, Mario Testino, Clifford Coffin, Helmut Newton, Tim Walker, Man Ray, Sølve Sundsbø, David Bailey and Patrick Demarchelier exhibited in the same space. I learnt new things: Harper's Bazaar was the first fashion magazine ever made (the first ever issue was published in 1867) and the son of the man who acquired Condé Nast directly from the nast himself, Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr., remains the chairman of the company today. What a legacy. And I just so enjoyed the beauty and depth of photographic expression on display. I am a sucker for all things high fashion, especially when viewed through the auspices of art.

Also on show were several short films displaying iconic shots with a soundtrack and/or narrative stream. Sølve Sundsbø's The Everchanging Face of Beauty is ethereal and effectively realised with accompanying music by James Lavelle. I love the atmosphere of Tim Walker's grainy shots in An Awfully Big Adventure (from a 2011 shoot for Vogue) and Chiara Skura, directed by Antoine Asseraf and René Habermacher and featuring Marios Schwab's spring-summer 2012 collection (brought to life beautifully by Amy Bailey), is utterly brilliant.

If you are in Edinburgh over the summer for the festival, do take some time out for this exhibition. It is wonderful.


René Habermacher | Greek Vogue, March 2005

Peter Lindbergh | Italian Vogue, March 1989

Lee Miller (self portrait) | American Vogue, March 1933

Clifford Coffin | American Vogue, June 1949

Herb Ritts | Lei, December 1984
Deborah Turbeville | American Vogue, May 1975
John Rawlings | British Vogue, September 1943
Corrine Day | British Vogue, 1993
Erwin Blumenfeld | French Vogue, December 1948
Antony Armstrong-Jones | British Vogue, November 1959


Coming Into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast runs at City Art Centre, Edinburgh until 8th September 2013. Visit: edinburghmuseums.org.uk/Venues/City-Art-Centre




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