In the annals of art history, photography has been a relatively late entree, with critics initially turning their noses up at the medium. Fashion photography? It’s hardly a blip on the radar, soaked as it is with that unwelcome term commercial. Even Richard Avedon, no stranger to sartorial snapshots, once remarked: “Fashion is the f-word, the dirtiest word in the eyes of the art world.”
We’re happy to report that the tide is turning. Right now you can catch a breathtaking exhibition at the The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles that examines a century’s worth of fashion imagery. For those of us outside the City of Angels, the accompanying book, similarly named Icons of Style, is an absolute must-read. Curator Paul Martineau has compiled an incredible and comprehensive survey dating back to 1911, covering the works of both the familiar superstars (Edward Steichen, Guy Bourdin, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn) as well as the lesser known but no less talented, among them Sarah Moon, Latvian Lusha Nelson, Willy Maywald and Hiro. Here, a preview.
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