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FASHION PHOTO OP: American Vogue invented fashion photography early in the last century, and it quickly became an art form and profession. (Until then, there were only illustrations.)
“Mr. Condé [Montrose] Nast can be credited for hiring fashion photographers. He strongly believed in showing the dynamism of modern life,” explained Nathalie Herschdorfer, curator of the exhibition entitled “Papier glacé, un siècle de photographie de mode chez Condé Nast” (“Coming Into Fashion, a Century of Photography at Condé Nast”) at Paris’ Palais Galliera. Herschdorfer mined the publishing group’s archives to retrace 100 years of fashion photography.
The exhibition, which opens March 1 and is organized thematically, showcases 150 mostly original prints from 90 photographers including Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Guy Bourdin and Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
“It’s also a history of women’s representation over the decades,” said Herschdorfer.
In the Seventies, a photo by Deborah Turbeville — her first series for U.S. Vogue — showed women lounging in what could be a public bath. The model in the foreground has her hand between her thighs. “It shocked America. Readers — especially outside big cities — were blaming the magazine for what they saw as a lesbian scene,” Herschdorfer explained.
The exhibition kicked off in 2012 at the C/O Berlin photography gallery. But in the Palais Galliera’s version, the photos are accompanied by 15 couture items from the fashion museum’s collections.
“They aren’t illustrations of pieces shown in the photos. It is a dialogue between the photographs and clothes,” continued Herschdorfer.
The tour includes contemporary films outlining the possible future of fashion photography and culminates with 50 magazines in display cases and screens, where visitors can leaf through some of the publications’ features.
— Laure Guilbault
“Coming Into Fashion, a Century of Photography at Condé Nast,”
March 1 to March 25
Palais Galliera, 10 Avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie, 75016
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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