Monday, March 3, 2014

Celebrating a century of fashion photography at Condé Nast: "Papier Glacé" exhibition at Palais Galliera

John Rowlings, American Vogue, 1943 (left). Frances McLaughlin-Gill, American Vogue, 1946 (right).


My mother, who somehow managed to be a packrat in spite of our itinerant lifestyle, used to include old magazines dating from the year of my birth as part of my birthday package. Gazing at the faded photos of models wearing white gloves, pillbox hats and strands of pearls always provoked an odd sensation, one of being simultaneously connected and disconnected from these women. Their look was as timeless as Jacky Kennedy's trademark Chanel suits yet they weren't part of my personal memories. Coming into Fashion, A Century of Fashion Photography at Condé Nast (“Papier glacé, un siècle de photographie de mode chez Condé Nast”), the new exhibition at Palais Galleira, provoked the same sensation when I attended the vernissage last Friday afternoon.

Drawing from the archives of Condé Nast New York, Paris, Milan and London, the exhibition includes 150 mostly original prints shot by leading fashion photographers from 1918 until today. Organised by theme, it highlights the ties between these photographers who, from one glossy page to the next, have shaped the identity and history of Vogue. The dialogue flows in the most natural of fashions between the elegant interiors of Baron de Meyer and Henry Clarke, the narrative staging of Cecil Beaton and Deborah Turbeville, the snaps of Norman Parkinson and William Klein, the visual experiments of Erwin Blumenfeld and Paolo Roversi, the surrealist games of Man Ray, John Rawlings and Guy Bourdin, the glorified bodies of Horst P. Horst and Herb Ritts and the portraits of models by Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh and Corinne Day.

The photographs are accompanied by some fifteen haute couture items from the collections of the Palais Galliera. There are also two reading rooms with fifty or so magazines in display cases and a number of screens where you can “leaf through” some outstanding features from the publications of the Condé Nast group. And last but not least, contemporary films projected on a large screen outline the possible future of fashion photography.

After Berlin, Milan, Edinburgh and Paris, the journey continues to Zurich, West Palm Beach, Fort Worth and Tokyo. (Excerpt from official press release)

“Papier glacé, un siècle de photographie de mode chez Condé Nast”
(Coming into Fashion, A Century of Fashion Photography at Condé Nast)
Palais Galliera Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris
10, avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie, Paris 16e
+33 (0)1 56 52 86 00
Open from Tuesday to Sunday
10 am to 6 pm, closed on public holidays. Late opening until 9 pm on Thursdays.

Click here to see additional photos.

Albert Watson, American Vogue, May 1977. Models Debbie Dickinson and Christie Brinkley.

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