More than a magazine publisher Condé Montrose Nast was a great business man. During the First World War, restrictions placed on overseas shipping made it difficult to sell Vogue magazine – founded in 1892 in the United States – overseas to British readers. The publishing mogul decided to authorize a British edition of the magazine. The first issue of the British edition of Vogue was published in September 1916. And what a hit it was! Such was its success that the magazine is still going strong today, more than a century later.
Over the last hundred years, the pages of the British edition of Vogue have been blessed by the best photographers, models and fashion editors. In addition to showcasing designers, actors, musicians, singers, artists, athletes, aristocrats, writers and intellectuals, the magazine has also witnessed first-hand some of this past century’s greatest social upheavals, from world wars to cultural revolutions. And all of this has been thoroughly captured in a new exhibition titled Vogue 100. A Century Of Style, now showing at the National Portrait Gallery of London until 22 May.
David Hockney photographed in his studio by Cecil Beaton. Claudia Schiffer as seen by Herb Ritts on a motorcycle zooming through the streets of Paris. Unique portraits of Fred Astaire, Lucian Freud, Charles Chaplin, Francis Bacon, Jean Shrimpton, Vivienne Westwood, The Beatles, Sofia Coppola, David & Victoria Beckham, Uma Thurman, Alexander McQueen and Hugh Grant, just to name a few of the most celebrated figures seen in its pages. Photographic portrayals of war taken during World War II by model-turned cult photographer Lee Miller. Unforgettable covers like the one featuring 1990s supermodels (those famed women, who Linda Evangelista said wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000) taken by Peter Lindbergh or that legendary photograph of the young and fragile Kate Moss taken in an unassuming flat in London by Corinne Day.
And of course the black and white photos taken by Baron de Meyer, the world’s first professional fashion photographer. Swinging London represented by the sweet face of Twiggy and the explosion of the punk scene, exemplified by the heavily made-up face of Jordan. Fashion editorials shot by Helmut Newton at the pool of a St. Tropez hotel. A hallucinatory journey into the USSR featuring Jerry Hall as seen by Norman Parkinson’s camera. A portrait of David Bowie by Snowden which was never published. The wild beauty of Naomi Campbell through the lens of Patrick Demarchelier. The allure of Lady Di that was so well captured by Mario Testino…
This and much more is revealed through the 280 large-format prints on show as part of this exhibition. The show also includes original copies of the magazine recovered from Condé Nast (including stunning cover art from the 1920s, in particular those memorable covers created by Eduardo Benito). Vogue 100. A century of style is a return trip to a tumultuous, intense and immensely beautiful century. And all of this played out on the pages of a magazine which helped to turn photography into a form of art.
–> The exhibition is now open at the National Portrait Gallery of London until 22 May.
© Limelights Night by Helmut Newton (1973)
© David Bowie by Snowdon (1978)
© Cover art by Eduardo Benito (1926)
© Header: David Hockney, Peter Schlesinger & Maudie James by Cecil Beaton (1968)