City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Art Festival: Coming into Fashion Review

By Vivien Devlin - Posted on 27 June 2013

Constantin Joffe, Vogue image 1945
Show Details
City Art Centre

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous." Coco Chanel

This summer, the City Arts Centre presents a retrospective of fabulous fashion photography published over the past century in Vogue, Vanity Fair and Glamour. From the launch of American Vogue in 1892, Conde Nast developed as a powerful, international force in magazine publishing, with the British edition following in 1916 and French Vogue in 1920.

To promote the desirable designs of Haute Couture fashion houses, editors sought out young, innovative artistic talent to produce lavish, glossy double page spreads: Man Ray, Norman Parkinson, Cecil Beaton, Helmut Newton, David Bailey and Mario Testino are world renowned for redefining fashion photography as a fine art.

Wander around this exhibition to view an eclectic collection from the work of 80 photographers - chic black and white vintage shots of the 1920s, the bold technicolour of the 1960s, to the languid, dreamlike images of today.

It's fascinating to observe both the changing styles of dress, hair and hats, but also the cultural and social context. Conde Nast is famed for taking models out of the studio to visit grand cities and exotic islands to show off the clothes against an inspiring backdrop.

As a staff photographer for Vogue during the 1940s and 50s, Constantin Joffe captured quiet moments with whimsical style which showed a true cinematic vision. This stunning portrait here of an ultra-slim girl in a brown dress and fur hat stepping out of a green car, is simple but elegantly effective.

These pioneering photographers used experimental techniques, light, shadow, shade, a cityscape or beach scene to create a cool, classic, classy look. Photographs not only highlighted the fashion designer but also the fashionable destination, all part of the Vogue/Vanity Fair aspirational lifestyle.

In 1963, the 25-year-old photographer David Bailey and the model Jean Shrimpton were invited to Vogue in New York by the editor, (the fiercely competitive and creative) Diana Vreeland, having been impressed by his exciting portfolio in British Vogue. Through Bailey, the Sixties exploded with a fresh, energetic, youthful fashion scene.

The history of fashion – hem lines rise and fall, heels grow higher -and the popularity of magazines is all captured here through portraits, magazine covers and video film.

(Fact: American Vogue readers grew from 14,000 readers in 1909, rising to 138,000 in 1928. Today? 1,200,000.)

Whether you browse around Top Shop or Harvey Nichols for your ever- changing seasonal wardrobe and new shoes, you will delight in this glamorous showcase of beautiful faces, frocks and fashion over the decades.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Coco Chanel.

Coming into Fashion: 15 June - 8 September, 2013
Price: £5 (£3.50)

Events programme – masterclasses, lectures, fashion shows.