Jean Seberg: Christy Turlington, negative, 1990; print later Chromogenic print, photographed by Ellen von Unwerth; collection of Ellen von Unwerth

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.

Kate Moss, Times Square, New York, negative, 1994; print, 2017, gelatin silver print, photographed by Glen Luchford; Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum. Gift of Glen and Tanya Luchford, 2017.121.1. © Glen Luchford

Lisa Taylor, George Washington Bridge, Inkjet print 1979, photographed by Arthur Elgort; L.2017.71.3, J. Paul Getty Museum, 2017.71.3

First Bikini Seen outside France, Montego Bay, Jamaica, 1947, gelatin silver print, photographed by Toni Frissell; New York, Staley-Wise Gallery

Wendy Whitelaw, New York City, negative, 1981; print, 2016, photographed by Arthur Elgort; Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, Gift of Arthur Elgort, 2017.71.1

Bathing Suits by Izod, Paris, 1930, gelatin silver print, photographed by George Hoyningen-Huene; collection of Richard and Allison Roeder. © Horst

Bettina and Frances McLaughlin-Gill, New York, 1950, gelatin silver print, photographed by Gordon Parks; collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody. Photograph by Gordon Parks / Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation.

Style Profile, Ni’ma Ford, December 22, 2011, 2011, pigment print, photographed by Scott Schuman, New York, Courtesy of Danziger Gallery. © The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman

Untitled, for Charles Jourdan, Spring 1977, negative, 1977; print later, chromogenic print, photographed by Guy Bourdin in Porto Cervo, Italy; the Estate of Guy Bourdin/Courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery. © The Guy Bourdin Estate 2017, courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery

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