Tomorrow, November 20, the Norton Museum of Art unveils a new exhibition tailor made for fashion fanatics. “Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast” chronicles the evolution of fashion photography through 150 images shot by 80 photographers over the course of 100 years.
|Sølve Sundsbø, Love, Spring/Summer 2011|
Condé Nast Publications was founded in 1909 when Condé Montrose Nast purchased Vogue, which began in 1892 as a weekly publication depicting the life of the New York elite. Today, Condé Nast is lauded worldwide for its innovative and popular titles; the brand regularly attracts 95 million consumers to its print, digital and video brands. While at the helm of the company, Condé Nast oversaw the development of such titles as Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Glamour and also launched British Vogue, marking the first time an American publisher produced international editions. Nast passed away in 1942, leaving behind a legacy of excellence in the written word, art and—most notably—photography.
“The discovery of most of the biggest names in fashion photography can rightly be credited to the legendary Condé Nast,” Nathalie Herschdorfer, the exhibition’s curator, said in a statement. “From his early days as a publisher, Nast was a gifted talent scout, and surrounded himself with the most talented artists of his time.”
One of Nast’s first contributions to the fashion world came in 1913 when he hired Baron Adolph de Meyer as a fulltime photographer for Vogue and, eventually, Vanity Fair. De Meyer is largely regarded as the first fashion photographer, and “Coming into Fashion” uses his images as a jumping-off point to depict the evolution of the art. Other photographers featured include Edward Steichen, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Steven Meisel and Miles Aldrige.
|Miles Aldridge, Vogue Italia, September 2002|
As noted by Tim B. Wride, the Norton’s curator of photography, this exhibition illustrates both the history of photography as well as the history of fashion. “It is a revealing look at how photographic trends and cultural evolution came to the service of one another,” Wride said in a statement. To further buttress this theme, the exhibit includes vintage footage of runway presentations as well as contemporary video explorations of how future fashion will be presented.
The Norton Museum of Art is the first venue in the United States to present “Coming into Fashion,” which was organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis/Paris/Lausanne. To celebrate the exhibit’s opening, the Norton is hosting a special Art After Dark event on November 20 from 5 to 9 p.m. In addition to a sketchbook class on fashion drawing, a tour of the Norton’s permanent fashion pieces and music from Soul Funk, the event includes a curator talk and book signing with Nathalie Herschdorfer at 6:30. Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for students and free for children 12 and under.
Can’t make it to Art After Dark? Other fun happenings organized around the exhibition include a screening of The September Issue, the 2009 documentary film that goes behind the scenes at Vogue, on December 4 at 7:15 p.m. Also, on January 15 at 6:30 p.m., Tim B. Wride will host a Curator’s Conversation to discuss the nuances of the photography and pinpoint just what makes the images so fabulous. “Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast” is on display to February 15.