Vogue 100: A Century of Style
24 June – 30 October 2016
Free to all
Over 280 prints from the Condé Naste archive are brought together to showcase the remarkable range of photography that has been commissioned by British Vogue since it was founded in 1916.
With paper shortages and restrictions on overseas shipping in place in America, Condé Nast struggled to get Vogue to audiences in Britain during the First World War. The publisher decided the most practical solution was to create a special British edition that could be produced in London and in autumn 1916 the first copies were printed for sale.
In the 100 years since British Vogue has earned a reputation as 'the fashion bible', debuting the defining designs of the century – including those by Dior, Saint Laurent and McQueen. This exhibition includes vintage prints, experimental fashion shoots, unpublished works and original magazines that demonstrate its influential role in British fashion.
While early editions were intended to replicate the American publication exactly – minus the British English spelling – its first editor, Elspeth Champcommunal, had bigger ambitions. Champcommunal wanted Vogue be 'more than a fashion magazine' and introduced articles on society, culture and sports, as well as health and beauty and travelogues.
Testament to her vision, on display here are many of the cultural icons of the 20th century who have graced the pages of the magazine: Henri Matisse, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Marlene Dietrich, Fred Astaire, Gwyneth Paltrow and David Beckham, among others. Additionally the harrowing images shot by Lee Miller – Vogue's official correspondent – capture the brutality of the Second World War.
Images from Corinne Day's lingerie fashion shoot with Kate Moss in 1993 mark a controversial period for the magazine. Featuring the 19-year old waif like model sprawled out in her grungy London flat in mismatched underwear, the photographs caused international outrage when they were published by Vogue. Critics levied fierce accusations that they promoted drug use, eating disorders and paedophilia, with even President Clinton speaking out about his reservations over the pictures. Following the uproar, Kate Moss's agent banned her from working with Day again. The series is shown in its entirety here.
A less contentious highlight is the display of Horst's corset photographs; featured in the magazine in 1939, they served as the inspiration for Madonna's Vogue video.