British Vogue celebrates its 100th birthday with the opening of Vogue 100: A Century of Style at the National Portrait Gallery. With over 280 prints from the Condé Nast archive, the exhibition will feature a prolific range of fashion, beauty and portrait photography from the style bible since its launch in September 1916.
From the stunning photo of Anne Gunning standing next to an elephant in Jaipur by Norman Parkinson, to the portraits of a teenage Kate Moss amidst a distinctly grunge-era setting by Corinne Day, the exhibition shows how the publication has documented and shaped not only fashion, but British life in all its guises, through its 1,500-odd issues over the years.
Before the official public opening, our own editor-in-chief Caroline Issa went to the exhibition’s private preview, took some snaps, and with the help of a few more industry elite, talked us through their personal highlights.
“I loved all the vintage Vogue illustrated covers. Other than the New Yorker these days, illustrations aren’t a ‘magazine friendly’ cover medium but this exhibition really celebrates it. There was this Georges Lepape cover that I especially gravitated towards – that ski sweater – I want to buy that sweater now!
I also loved seeing all the images of Kate Moss, Stella Tennant, Gwyneth Paltrow from the early 2000s — icons in their youth. This Stella Tennant one reminds me of reading fashion magazines when I was younger. It’s a lovely selection and the sizing of each image is also very interesting to see, with images either blown up or kept small. It’s one of those exhibitions that requires at least three hours of your time to pour over each image, so make time!”
Imran Amed, editor-in-chief, Business of Fashion
“I really love that Tim Walker image of Alexander McQueen. It’s the biggest one in here so it’s probably not the coolest thing to say. I also like the Kate Moss cover from June 2012 shot by Mert and Marcus [Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott].”
Sheherazade Goldsmith, founder of Loquet London (loquetlondon.com)
“I loved the exhibition — it was quite nostalgic in a way as so many images from my early twenties were included. I remember seeing them at the time and thinking how cool they were back then. Nice to see they’ve stood the test of time. Too many favourites to name one, but as ever Corinne Day’s Kate Moss series styled by Cathy Kasterine is legendary.”
Barbara Casasola, designer
“I’m overwhelmed. One of my favourite photos, an iconic Vogue cover, was right up at the entrance. It still feels so fresh.”
Calgary Avansino, British Vogue contributing editor and author of Keep It Real, @calgaryavansino
“Nothing less would have been expected at The National Portrait Gallery, but the scale of the images struck me most. It was so enchanting to see all those iconic faces: designers, celebrities and models in such grand presentation. And the design behind the scenes: the rich coloured walls, the exquisite and enormous frames — all of it together was intoxicating.”
Grace Woodward, stylist and TV presenter, @gracewoodward
Alice Temperley, designer
“The evening felt very British with amazing photographs, including those of Prince Charles, wellies and then Kate Moss. It’s a real mix, but it definitely feels very British.”
Vogue 100: A Century of Style is at the National Portrait Gallery, London, until 22 May. For tickets, visit www.npg.org.uk.