An exhibition of the images of iconic fashion
photographer Edward Steichen will open at the National Gallery of Victoria in
The National Gallery of Victoria will stage the first
Australian exhibition of fashion’s most influential photographer Edward
Steichen from October 18 until March 2 next year. The exhibition ‘Edward
Steichen and Art Deco Fashion’ will show over 200 of Steichen’s original photographs,
drawn from the vast Condé Nast Archive through the Foundation for the
Exhibition of Photography, alongside more than 40 Art Deco fashion garments and
accessories which showcase the glamour and modernity of the period.
NGV Director, said, “Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion is the first major
Australian retrospective dedicated to Steichen’s iconic Condé Nast work produced
in the 1920s and 1930s. Steichen’s evocative images are regarded as among the
most striking in early-to-mid-20th century photography and his fashion work in
particular revolutionised the genre of fashion photography. This exhibition provides
a rare opportunity to view such a large body of his work and to see up close
the intricate details of outstanding Art Deco fashion items which highlight the
interplay between fashion and photography.”
The exhibition will present
Steichen’s pioneering modernist fashion photography and celebrity portraiture,
produced during his 15 year career as chief photographer for Condé Nast’s
magazines Vanity Fair and Vogue. During this period he put his talents and
prodigious energy to work, creating a legacy of unequalled brilliance as he
photographed the world of high fashion and stars of contemporary popular
culture including Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Charlie Chaplin, Katherine Hepburn,
Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Greta Garbo, Gary Cooper, Winston Churchill and
Steichen’s images transformed fashion photography and
influenced generations of photographers, capturing the sophistication of the
newly liberated ‘modern woman’ and encapsulating the chic beauty and
avant-garde style of the Art Deco movement. Renowned as an innovator and master
of lighting, his practice bridged the transition from photography's early
soft-focus, pictorialist style to clean, crisp modernism.
aesthetics of Steichen’s photographs, this exhibition will also celebrate the
fashion of the period with over 40 Art Deco garments and accessories by leading
designers of the day including Chanel, Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Madame Paquin
and Callot Soeurs. The elegance of old Hollywood glamour and high-end fashion
will be seen through a range of pieces - including swimsuits, coats, evening
gowns, beach pyjamas, dresses, hats, bags and shoes, as well as an early
example of Chanel’s little black dress - drawn from the NGV Collection with
select loans from private collections.
Art Deco style developed in response to
changing lifestyles and ideals following the First World War. Typically
characterised by sleek, geometric lines, rich colours and luxurious adornments,
these new forms represented a shift away from traditional values. In fashion,
hemlines rose and hairstyles became shorter, culminating in the infamous
mid-twenties ‘flapper’ style.
Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion will also
display rare copies of Vogue and Vanity Fair which demonstrate the way
Steichen’s photographs appeared on the magazine page. The exhibition is
organised by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography (FEP), with the
National Gallery of Victoria. Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion will be at
NGV International (180 St Kilda Rd,
Melbourne) from October 18 until March
2, 2014. It’s open from 10am until 5pm, and is closed Tuesdays. Admission fees
apply: Adult $12; concession $10; family $30.
Baher's yacht. June Cox wearing unidentified fashion; E. Vogt wearing fashion by
Chanel and a hat by Reboux; Lee Miller wearing a dress by Mae and Hattie Green
and a scarf by Chanel; Hanna-Lee Sherman wearing unidentified
silver photograph, Courtesy
Condé Nast Archive, 1928
Condé Nast Publications.
Actress Gloria Swanson 1924, gelatin silver photograph, Courtesy Condé Nast Archive © 1924 Condé Nast Publications.
Marlene Dietrich, 1934, gelatin silver photograph. Courtesy Condé Nast Archive © 1934 Condé Nast Publications.