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FASHION ART PSYCHE & BEAUTY Fashion, psyche and beauty ---------Early fashion photography ---------Avedon, in fashion ---------Fashion art contamination ---------Current fashion photography ---------Nick Knight, vision quest ---------Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh matadin ---------Paco Peregrin ---------Fashion magazine covers ---------Alexander McQueen, l’enfant terrible ---------Viktor & Rolf ---------Shaune Leane jewellery ---------Alex Box makeup art ---------Olivier Chomienne hairstyle artist ---------Fashion illustration


started “to follow fashion”. At a certain point - in particular during the “Belle Epoque” - fashion itself became a fashionable concept throughout society, that is to say it became “socially moving”. The consumption of beauty also causes it to be used up, worn out, and this makes it necessary to revive it, ”an eternal return to something new”. Yes, but what is “beauty” ? for centuries , philosophers have been proposing definitions and thoughts on beauty. One typical querelle over beauty asks whether it is a relative and/or universal quality. Beauty lies in that which pleases - so it is relative, but which pleases touches the absolute - therefore it is universal. we can certainly say that people experience particular emotion upon beholding something “ new in beauty”. but in what does this particular emotion consist? the answer is that it consists in being surprised by the infinitely changing appearances of beauty. the infinite and multiple character of beauty is relative to the tastes of the person to whom that which is beautiful appeals - but it is also universal - when its splendor appears as unquestionably obvious. Infinite beauty is moving because it can adopt ever-new forms but at the same time, it embodies something that is recognisable . The first philosopher-sociologist to grasp the relationship between fashion and emotions was Goerge Simmel. He showed how life in large towns, rich as it is in stimuli and images,

The word “mode” meaning fashion, and the “modernity” are etymologically related,they indicate a desire and quest for something “new”. The main human emotion connected with “novelty” is surprise. human beings, from babyhood on,appreciate nice surprises, because they involve them. The surprise grips them, it makes them currious, it muses them, children also love “to repeat nice surprises” but they amuse themselves to that point especially because they experience the pleasure of “recognising something nice and pleasant”. Freud explained the recognition awakens pleasant and reassuring feelings. The interraction of surprise and recognition provides an aesthetic experience that is not only new but also acceptable and comprehensible. The surprise is all the pleasanter when it is generated by an encounter with something pleasantly new and which at the same time, is recognisable. In this case, there is a relationship between beauty, innovation, tradition and surprise that generates a powerful attraction on the human soul. Human beings love to be surprised by beauty that manifests itself in ever changing garnments, and also love to recognise in them an essence that recalls and reminds them of something familiar. The first great philosopher who had some intuition of this ambivalence between old and new in fashion, between recognisable and the elements of surprise was the enlightement philosopher,David Hume, who spoke of a law of taste governed by the relationship between novelty (surprise effect) and facility (recognition effect). We can therefore say that a particular “fashion game” lies in the surprise of the “recall” , which is recognised as harking back to the past, yet which becomes current, present and new. Moreover, Hume wrote a famous phrase : “ Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder” a very significant phrase because it expresses how important the relationship between “psyche and beauty” really is. Nowadays, there has developed a particular form of aesthetic quest that concerns daily life and not only the time and space of matters sacred or the celebration of the powers of politicians and aristocrats. The Rinascimento involved a new psycho-cultural dimension, strongly influenced by the possibility of expressing of the “amazingly new and beautiful” not only in attire, but also in behaviour,objects and customs. In fact why on earth should beauty always be the same? what activity can be more beautiful than that of transforming beauty into ever new shapes? this activity concerned not only the creators of new beauty, but also those who beyond their activities and roles in society, were players in the expression of beauty. Obviously, originally, these player-consumers of “beauty “ belonged only to the upper classes but, in the course of moder- Simon Emmett, untitled. nity, broad strata of the population of various levels of purchasing power,

causes people to react by “turning off” in self-defence, an attitude tending to indifference and to becoming “blasé” . So it is that emotions constitute the key factor in maintaining a high level of interest in consumption while fashion is the power that creates ever-new emotions. The moving trend works when it provokes the pleasure of emotions relating to the emergence of some new forms of beauty. Trend is like a love story that awakes ever-new emotions between the partners. When eros becomes repetitive, habitual, taken - for - granted, it loses in emotion and therefore fades. Setting the trend , in a certain sense means “making love” with someone who loves fashion and doing so by proposing ever-new emotions. “Psycho-aesthetics of fashion” which can be translated as “ psychic sensitivity “ (of soul/psyche) towards fashion and beauty. Aspects of shadow and light in the fashion and beauty subconscious emerge to provoke creativity and inspirations,so the psycho-aesthetics proposed by emotional trend can become an artistic, playful, emotional, brain-storming session. According to the psycho-physiological view of emotions, these manifest in the organism and in the psyche at three levels ; the neuro-vegetative level, the expressive somatic level and the cognitive level. At the neuro-vegetative level, the emotions generate spontaneous phenomena in the body, such as an increase in blood-pressure, the accelaration or deceleration of the heartbeat, a change of pupil diameter and many other functional phenomena. For exemple we can all observe that the appetite can diminish or increase according to our emotional state. At somatic and expressive level, the emotions are manifested more or less spontaneously by facial expression,body language and even the skin.Then at the third level, it is possible to probe the meanings and interperetations behind the emotions. According to the interpretation of an event and hence, the values, education, and temperament of a person,emotions take on a different “ colour” and sense. The clothes we choose everyday, the care we take of our image constitutes an expressive aspect of our emotional flows. But this expressive aspect also acts on our way of thinking, of interpreting and relating to others,therefore their combinations generate an infinite number of mood sensations,states of mind and feelings. So it is considered that emotions have a subconscious component that they derive from a relationship between conscious personality and deep aspects of which we have no obvious and rational knowledge. Artists, with their sensitivity manage to express and provoke emotions and above all, they are able to transform negative emotions into expressions of beauty. Fashion,possesses this magical ability of art to transform,because fashion is art. However,fashion is also a game a form of participation, a lifestyle and means of communication. The creators of fashion and beauty know that what happens is a Lara Stone photographed by Marcus Piggot for Interview magazine, matter of emotional intelligence understood as intuition and sensitivity towards September 2010. the emotions they experience in people and society.

Emotional trend by P.Brunelli.

Constance Jablonski photographed by Greg Kadel for VOGUE Germany.

Madonna, photographed by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggot, Interview magazine, May 2010.

EARLY FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY Paving the way, historical precedents.

Fashion photography emerged within and grew to dominate the commercial arena during the 1920s and 1930s, largely as a reaction against fashion illustration. Readers were so litteraly interested in fashion that wanted to see the Mode thoroughly and faithfully reported rather than rendered as a form of decorative art. Photography was at first seen as a form of representation which possessed the ability to depict clothes realistically, without any artistic distortion. However rather than just providing an exact likeliness of fashionable garnments, in practice it constructed other forms of representation that held wider connotations. These were the same as those of fashion illustration : the impression of fashion ideal or chic - a far more tantalising and marketable idea than a precisely detailed photograph. In effect, early fashion photography was a continuation of this ideal creating a visual fantasy to which women could aspire, and a standard that conventional fashion photgraphy still pursues. The practice of using aristocrats or socialites further endorsed such a concept and it was not until art movements - surrealism,realism and modernism - surfaced within fashion and its photographic representations that such notions were challenged. Certain fashion photographers borrowed from the different movements, creating a plurality of photographic styles. Modernism gave to fashion photography a graphic and geometric influences, surrealism inspired dream-like images, realism on the other hand, inspired a less formal approach : sometimes models were depicted ( as never before ) in action and in movement. Such a look came from the realist imagery of sports fashion photgraphy which offered the modern woman a look she could apply to her own life. Static poses began to disappear, to be replaced by moments of narrative, fleeting impressions and relaxed actions. The role of fashion photography was extended into a larger debate which encompassed discussions of race, sexuality and style. The emphasis on sexuality in fashion photgraphy was promoted by the selfstyled “ terrible three “ David Bailey, Terrence Donovan and Brian Duffy, working class Londoners with irreverent attitude to the world of fashion and the pretensions of its protagonists. Theirs was a vision that developed a theme of women’s independence, yet also placed value on beauty, sexuality and success. In summing up their style, Brian Duffy stressed the fact that the three of them were “ violently heterosexual butch boys... we emphasised the fact that there were women inside the clothes, they started to look real “ this was evident in a look, a gesture, a way of wearing clothes, and in documentary observations taken from their East End roots. Models such as Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy typified this new ideal, indeed, Shrimpton attributed her success to “ ordinariness “, they were also identifiable role models for newer, younger audience who were more

attuned to the rising success of the new designers and smaller boutiques which emerged as the dominance of couture waned. The liberated new woman, who was much a nova construction as a reflection of time, was reinforced within fashion imagery by the influence of metropolitan youth culture while much 1960s fashion imagery was resolutely positive in its construction and depiction of the “ liberated woman “. Bob Richardson reflected another side of her personality that had rarely been seen in fashion photography, he incorporated images of despair, melancholy and anxiety, using images that clearly resembled snapshots, often within a wealthy or glamorous setting. However, Richardson invariably used clearly constructed tableaux to portray these wider concerns, despite the fact that he developed realistic themes within his narratives, they cannot properly be described as “ realistic “. In the 1970s some of these themes were taken up by photographers such as Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin, whose style is called “ brutal realism “. However the galmorous fashions of the period and the highly stylised images in which they portrayed could hardly be seen as documentary but the issues they develop mainly the eroticism of the women, involved wider cultural debates. They could be seen as reflecting the underlying tensions about the fantasies, myths and images of sexuality - and in many ways, therefore, there is a questions of the dominant orthodoxy of “the liberated woman” that was the creation and legacy of the 1960s, their photographs were extraordinary explicit, it has been difficult to imagine the spectator, whether male or female identifying with anyone in the photograph. They therefore encountered changes of misogyny and sexism, the photgraphers were accused of being exploitative and regressive. Here fashion photography encountered critical discourse - and entered the public consciousness- through feminist debate. Yet, a new strand of documentary photography was emerging, which recorded the street styles of the time specifically the subculture of punk. This genre has originated in the 1960s, when photojournalists captured the upsurge in youth cultures for the newspapers and supplements of the time. Its purpose was not to record styles of dress but to document this new social phenomenon. As the history of fashion photography shows, it has developed the ability to reflect the spirit of its time rather than merely to showcase the preffered mode of the day. However, a number of photographers - often subversions within their field- have tried to reflect this mood as realistically as possible such endeavours, whilst still servicing the needs of fashion, have questioned preconcieved ideals in a way that their conventional counterparts have not. These successive attempts paved the way for a photgraphic practice within the fashion arena that captures the reality of everyday life in a defiant and delibirate anti- glamour. This style, which has been labelled the “ the school of London “ has stripped bare the fantasies and superficial ideals that the fashion industry had formerly felt compelled to portray and disseminate. This 1990s style of realism is described as “ constructed tableaux are rejected for truth located in the artless, the unstaged, the semi-conscious, the sexuality indeterminate and the pubescent- the slippages between socially prescribed roles “.

Moore house in Kangere, Edward Steichen 1926.

Etude sur le rĂŞve de Venus, by Horst P. Horst and Salvador Dali , 1939.

Gloves, Horst P. Horst , New York 1947.

The photographers who worked in this ways, although not strictly Londonbased, has surfaced from within the innovative style magazines currently centered there. Among the most prolific were Corinne Day, David Sims,Juergen Teller and Nigel Shafran while they each had their distinctive individual style, they all shared a similar aesthetic based around notions of realism. Their style had its roots in the insecure political climate of post-thatcherism and global recession, there was a percieved platform for change. Fashion had reacted to this mood designers presented expensive versions of the street style that the press quickly designated “ grunge “. In fashion photography such a change was not just made manifest in its depiction of a particular reality, but also in its rejection of the precise photographic techniques which had helped to construct the ideal images of perfection of the past. Corinne Day, an ex-model turned photographer, was one of the first to define this change. She encompassed the mood of the new decade with a seemingly “ unprofessional technique - exemplified by a series of photographs of Kate Moss which not then a “ supermodel” appeared in The Face in 1990. On a denotative level, the series show a young, free-spirited girl, happily playing on a beach, in a simple relaxed clothes or in a state of near-nudity. Her semi-nakedness signifies not an eroticism but a natural quality that is also denoted by her surroundings, her lack of grooming and the daisy chain that she wears in one particular shot within the series. Her laughing expression, her squiting eyes and playful gestures hold connotations of innocence, immaturity and a teen spirit that is further signified by her under developed body. In some ways Moss’s “ ordinariness “ and waifish appearance parallels that of models such Twiggy in the 1960s, where they differ is that although the 1960s images reflected the new “ liberated woman “ of that era, who owed much to the sexual revolution, the photographs were taken by male photographers, invariably the “terrible three”, who infused the images with their own sexual desires. In contrast, Day’s images neither empower nor undermine Moss’s sexuality, which remains passive, this is an image of a woman taken by a woman. The intimacy that is apparent within them and the natural surrounding within the image, deflect any erotic interpretation and resemble more a private, unstaged moment being acted out before the camera - like a snapshot in a family photo album- That Corinne Day was at this time a close friend of Kate Moss adds credence to this feeling, as does a photographic technique that clearly eschews the technical perfection of conventional fashion photography. The realist style later explored the surrounding culture and therefore lost much of its optimism. Whatever the ambiguous function and possible readings of these images wether they are seen as documentary or realistically stylised tableaux, there is an element of discomfort about the possibly voyeuristic nature of viewing such intimacy that has led to misinterpretation. Their context then , can be seen to confuse their meaning, indeed if they had been placed within The Face or on a gallery wall, it is likely that they would not have caused any offence. Testament to this assumption is the social documentary work of photographic artist Nan Goldin, cited as a major influence for fashion photographers of the

1990s, Goldin has created a compelling photographic diary of her life that explores the depths and heights of human existence, recording the deaths of many of her friends and fellow-travellers from drugs and AIDS-related illnesses. However the apparent intimacy between Goldin and her friends in her photographs deflects the sense of voyeurism, while the snapshots aesthetic further averts such a feeling. It is as if we were invited to join and view her world with all of its highs and lows- above all because it is hung on a gallery wall, or seen within a book, and thus validated by the critical value that the art world places upon it. With the blurring of these boundaries both art and fashion photography are imbued with different meanings. Fashion appropriated the richness of art, while art - in this case Nan Goldin - can fall prey to the fictituous values of fashion. Thus when Goldin works in the fashion arena, the validity of her personal work has been questioned. Collier Schorr in Frieze comments that “ as much as we count on fashion to lie, perhaps we have begun to rely rather too heavily on art to be sincere.” But while some question Goldin’s work in fashion, her intentions are clearly that of the documentary photographer - to work on the viewer’s emotions, to shape attitudes. In Goldin’s work, for Matsuda and Helmut Lang, she affronts her audience into questioning the preconcieved ideals that fashion holds. The idea that fashion photography could play an active role in influencing social habits and lifestyles is not wholy convincing, despite a plethora of media claims during the last decade. Indeed, such claims have never been substantiated - Goldin was not trying to promote prostitution or drug abuse, Corinne Day was not advocating anorexia. Such images can work as a conventional marketing tool when used in a context where their audience will understand the dominant conventions, especially in fashion advertising, where they can promote a completetly different lifestyle to that actualy depicted. It therefore seem that realist fashion photography in the 1990s has that function that photojournalism has lost perhaps through its sheer volume. Furtheremore, realist fashion photography can reach a wider audience than social documentary or art photography could ever hope to achieve. “ In these photographs, the body and its gestures report on the defining characteristics of a decade... the ambiguity of gender and beauty lays bare our secret desires, dissolving the boundaries between style and the subconscious emerges a portrait of our time “ Nickerson and Wakefield, Fashion photography in the 1990, (1996)

Fashion cultures : theories, explanation, analysis by Stella Bruzzi, Pamela Church Gibson.

Woman in palace, Irving Penn, Marrakech 1951.

Guy Bourdin, VOGUE paris, April 1960.

Paggy MoďŹƒtt, photographed by William Claxton, 1964.

Veruschka, By Richard Avedon 1973.

Big nudes, Helmut Newton 1975.

Glances, Terrence Donovan, 1983.

The ballad of sexual dependancy ,Nan goldin, 1980s.

Round the clock, Horst P. Horst 1987.

Summer of love, Kate Moss, by Corinne Day,The Face Magazine, 1990.

Snaps, photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth, 1994.

Stephanie Seymour, VOGUE US photographed by Juergen Teller, 1994.

David Lachapelle, VOGUE Paris 1995.


“His fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty, and culture for the last half-century.” THE NEW YORK TIMES. Richard Avedon was fifty-five years old in october of 1978 and at the top of his game. He had spent his life photographing people of power,people of accomplishment and women of great beauty : presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Ford, and Carter, Samuel Beckett, Bob Dylan, Marella Agnelli. The mission council in Saignon, the Chicago Seven. Four major exhibitions in eight years had now culminated in retrospective of his fashion work at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art. “ An Avedon portrait” had become a standard phrase in the art world’s vernacular. His most unflinching work had placed him in the pantheon of the 20th century’s greatest photographers. Avedon has the instincs of a great court painter, his style is essentially a court style, his way with the camera worldly, fluent, knowing. His particular court, rather than being a fixed place, is more like an idée fixe shared by many people. Call it smart and powerful New York, there is no king,but stylishness itself reigns. Like most dreams of assembling the most glamorous figures in the realm to glory in the light of shared importance.

In the publication - more an album than a catalogue - that acompagnies Richard Avedon’s retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art,there is a snapshot of the photographer,taken in 1978 on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Above him is a banner, with his signature in red against a blue field, and, in white, “Photographs 1947 - 1977”. In a list of exhibitions at the end of this album, that triumphant show is identified as a “fashion retrospective” tacitly implying that other of Avedon’s exhibitions were not quite so narrowly concieved. It was indeed as fashion photography that it was recieved at the time. That was the great excitement of the show. The Avedon show reprsented a different impulse, and aroused a different order of excitement. That impulse was to demonstrate that certain forms of commercial or applied art, were aesthetically meaningful even if their purposes were those of visual rhetoric. - to provoke certain attitudes and arouse certain desires- The excitement was that Avedon was at the Met. The name alone carried the glamour of certain labels ( Chanel, Guerlain, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Dior...) and it was almost certainly to be in the presence of that palpable glamour that a great many visited the museum who might otherwise never have set foot there. The images were large and hung the way works of art characteristically are hung in modern museums, simply framed, handsomely illuminated. The best was Dovima and the elephants,cirque d’hiver,Paris which Avedon did in 1955, and which will be always remembered in histories of photography, of fashion, of illustration, of art. It is a great image and even if its original occasion was to represent again from some designer’s line of that year in a fashion magazine, it transcends the occasion without obliterating the point of high fashion illustration, or indeed of high fashion itself. Dovima with the elephants has the power of a dream, and might, all by itself, support the thesis that dreams are a form of wish fulfillement. It is a dream of power and magic and of promise, in that superb garnement, with its marvelous cascade of satinsilk. The woman who wears it draws onto herself a strength greater than that of the hugest animals, now docile to her touch or even to the nearness of her touch. If elephants are no match for the well-dressed woman,how can mere men hope not to yield, to obey, to adore. The fashion designer designs dreams and that is the entire point of the subtile craft. What Avedon achieved was the objective expression of such dreams in a single image, so dense with possibilities, erotic, aesthetic and psychological that it stands as a portrait of an inextinguishable wish and metaphor of empowerment. That it may, in 1955 also have aroused the desire for a particular garnment by showing what it must feel like to wear it, subtracts nothing from its artisty or communicative energy. The image defines the genre of popular art to which the kind of

photography practiced by Avedon belonged. It is the art of making wishes objective and myths explicit, its peers are certain movies, or ballads or even styles of costume, all of them universalized through mass distribution. They service ( as poetry evidently no longer can ) longing hearts shortchanged by what Kant once called “ the niggardliness of a stepmotherly reality “. It is no small thing to have achieved an image as unforgettable and potent as Dovima with the elephants, but it is also true that most viewers of the 1978 exhibition would be hard pressed to place a second Avedon image alongside it. After the symbolic martyrization of the beekeeper, the images tend to blur into generic Avedons of either of two kinds : models shown leaping in a way that is now kind of cliché but which could only rarely have been a convincing idealization of what it would mean to wear the garnment modeled,and heads, commonly of famous men though sometimes of women wether leaping models or intensely studied faces, the subject is shown almost always against an undifferentiated white ground, as characteristic of the Avedon photograph as the undiffrentiated black ground is of Carravagio. Photographs that fit into neither of these kinds belong to Avedon’s periodic efforts to break free of the stylisation and preoccupations that have made him famous as fashion photographer and as portraitist, he’s hostage to his own powerful but limited repertory. It is difficult to believe that Avedon himself is all that free of the “little myth” given his breakaway efforts into what one supposes he regards as “real” art photographing drifters, the insane, the war-maimed, and bringing to these commercially unrewarded tasks the skills and gifts that have made him the greatest fashion photographer he is, and the portrayer of the famous and successful. And perhaps, because Avedon is a political activist in his life, it might strike him at times that there is a tension between photography as he is famous for practicing it and photography as it ought to be practiced -bearing witness to injustice and pover ty,agression,cruelty,awakening the conscience of viewers to squalor,horror and the waste of human lives. As though he has to compensate, or atone. And - who knows - that explains the cruelty with which he portrays the famous and successful, the naked contempt with which he depicts aristocrats at a venetian ball, the manupulative will with which he drove his models into leaps and flutters,or gets celebrities of the lower magnitude to look silly, like the monty pythons naked except for the hats, clutching their genitals, or poor candy darling looking vulnerable and confused with a garter belt framing his sad penis. This at least would be a way of bringing the two sides of Avedon’s art into something like a moral unity. The commercial art would be a kind of aside to the viewer, a way of dissociating himself from the world he is paid to celebrate, beckoning us to join him on his platform of anger or didain. Given the distance between the world in which he attained his great success and the world whose conspicious problems are so clearly of concern to him, there is a lived tension in his work that is an almost tragic dimension, particularly in view of the disproportion between the undeniable artistic merit of his best commercial work and the largely undistinguished quality of what he doubtless regards as his real art. Avedon is a presence in every image he makes.

“ The subject must become familiar with the fact that, during the sitting, he cannot shift his weight, can hardly move at all without going out of focus or changing his position in the space. He has to learn to relate to me and the lens as if we were one and the same. And to accept the degree of discipline and concentration involved. As the sitting goes on, he begins to understand what I am responding to in him and finds his own way of dealing with that knowledge. The process has a rhythm that punctuated by the click of the shutter, and my assistants changing the plates of film after each exposure. There are times when I speak and times when I do not, times when I react to strongly and destroy the tension that is the photograph. I stand next to the camera, not behind it, several inches to the left of the lens and about four feet from the subject. As I work I must imagine the pictures I am taking because since i do not look through the lens, I never see precisely what the film records until the print is made. I am close enough to touch the subject and there is nothing between us except what happens as we observe one another during the making of the portrait. This exchange involves manipulatios, submissions. Assumptions are reached and acted upon that could be seldom be made with impunity in ordinary life “ RICHARD AVEDON “ His pictures showed young ladies enjoying life to the full as they preened and jumped with joy in their Paris confections, Avedon’s photographs did not perhaps have technical perfection and they were all better for this, for they created the statement that he wished to make-of movement caught forever by his lens.” CECIL BEATON.

Dovima with elephants, Paris cirque d’hiver 1955 by Richard Avedon.

Dovima and Avedon created arguably the most famous fashion photograph of all time, “Dovima with Elephants”, in Paris in 1955. The photo shows Dovima in haute couture with circus elephants surrounding her. There are prints in The Metropolitan Museum, and The Museum of Modern Art. Of her relationship with Avedon, Dovima was quoted as saying, “We became like mental Siamese twins, with me knowing what he wanted before he explained it. He asked me to do extraordinary things, but I always knew I was going to be part of a great picture.” Dorian Leigh, fashions model turned agent, said, “He used Dovima like a painter uses a medium. She was his medium.” Model Carmen Dell’Orefice a friend of Dovima said, “They had the greatest fantasy affair on paper that the public ever witnessed. Avedon had the skill to metamorphose a fledgling model. He could finish the pieces of her persona.” In Dovima with elephants, Avedon presented his own version of beauty and beast “ by posing Dovima before a group of elephants. the variety of textures created by this combination revolve around contrast : The model, smooth, ivory skin versus the wrinkled gray hides of the elephants, her fluid and graceful arm movements versus the awkward confinement of their chained legs, the elegence and civilization versus their clumlinence and animal nature. Avedon often illustrated the contrast between youth and aging in his photographs and the variety through contrast in Dovima may suggest the transistory nature of beauty and inevitably of physical change with the onset of old age.

Marilyn Monroe as Theda Bara in cleopatra by Richard Avedon,1958.

Marilyn Monroe dressed as Lillian Russel photographed by Avedon in 1958.


Kristen McMenamy and Nadja Auermann for Versace spring 1995 campaign photographed by Richard Avedon

Kate Moss for Gianni Versace couture fall/winter 1996/1997 catalog by Richard Avedon. It’s a trip back to his late 60s psychedelia. Richard Avedon and Gianni Versace were one of fashion’s most devoted couples photographically speaking, for 20 years Avedon translated the designer’s sexy vision into a draft of ads that have since become icons.


One of the forgotten great photo shoots with renowed Richard Avedon-“ In memory of Mr & Mrs Comfort, this is a fable filled with supermodel Nadja Auermann about a woman and her deceased husband. In some ways, it may be a good phantasmagoria of the current global crisis.“ This photo shoot that featured clothing from various high fashion designers was first published in the New Yorker in 1995. We can read many meanings into these brilliant images, but more than anything they represent a farewell of sorts between Avedon and the fashion journalism that made him a top-tier celebrity. The series of 27 pages of designer-clothes photos are shocking and disruptive visually, existing as an undeniable social commentary on the world of couture and luxury living, Bonfire of the Vanities-style.The Richard Avedon Mr. and Mrs. Comfort photos for The New Yorker represent a revulsion against the very high society world that embraced him. They are a violent cariacature of a world of thin women and rich men who are — at the end of the day — dust like the rest of us mortals.A sensuality-drenched the skelton of Mr Comfort appears thwarted by Mrs Comfort, who has abandoned sex for stilletos, even if red is a primary color in the fashion selections. The many sexual references and poses to the Garden of Eden are physically marked ‘Stricly No Entry’. Unable to enjoy pleasures of the senses, Mr and Mrs Comfort resort to the pleasure of materialism, as a substitute for carnality and intimacy. The splendor of their surroundings is reminiscent of the splendor of Rome and the Vatican, where excess is defined only as it relates to flesh but not pomp and circumstance.

In both fashion and his portrait photographs, Avedon has taken the style of spontaneous witness into realms of artiďŹ ce, glamour, and celebrity and others followed. To be sure, these photographs have been staged, and yet they depict women who themselves are active and engaged with the world and far from the white-gloved, static beauties of earlier fashion photography.

FASHION ART CONTAMINATION Fashion, trends and advertisement.

There are nuances in fashion art relationship that regard specific arts and techniques in particular photography museums of the callibre of the National Portrait Gallery of London recognize fashionable photography as having the quality and value of an artwork, that bears witness to how subjectivity is becoming more aesthetic in our time. In the fashion photo, the humanity expresses the embodiment of a soul inhabited by emotions, a nostalgia for unique and special states of mind. Hence, an exaltation of subjectivity in its absolete value. Today, fashion photography in expressing and presenting fashion, becomes also the main form of visual expression of the human figure with its outer and inner aspects. Therefore, fashion photography has an eminent poetico-emotional function through which the public can glean ideas, moods, trends and values that go “ beyond fashion ”. A phtographer as David Lachapelle provokes and teases with “archetypical surrealistic images “ Toscani provokes an emotional shock with at times pitiless paradoxes, Irving Penn, conversely, is rigorously elegant and respectful, Nick Knight evokes an energetic constructivism, Paul Rversi is dreamy, Fabrizio Fetri is picturesque and transcendental... We are here not trying to attributeperfunctory aesthetic and stylistic adjectives but only to cite some exemplary styles in order the better to reveal the emotional nature of fashion language in photography. Grasping the emotional aspects not only in fashion itself, but in its way of representing is fundamental for the trend researcher and the trend setter. Fashion advertising not only presents fashion, but also makes fashion, in comportements, tastes, desires, and emotions. Moreover, advertising in general needs fashion, in that too, must always strive for innovation and follows trends. So it is that art and communication ( including words ) even when they are combined in the advertising message, provoke emotions that can in turn, be related to the world of fashion and beauty. Classic and digital graphics, the essential art of advertising contribute to making fashion and beauty an art form with the visual creation of brands and company sites,blogs and magazines. Likewise, the performing arts, choreography, music and theatre are essential in advertising, but also in the representations of the catwalk and events aimed at activating glamour and fascination. An example of this sort of showmanship is scenic creativity of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. Fashion and beauty are particularly for research into changes and transformation also because they invite every individual to participate, to become “ his own artist “. Advertising and fashion are forms of art and mass communication able to provoke individual emotions, but also enthusiastically collective.

The fashion design contamination has always existed, from Art Nouveau era, style has nearly obligatory fluctuated between living spaces and clothing. The house, the city, the salons, the departement stores and image of the accessories and of the first individual technologies had to co-ordinate with the traditional handicraft and tastes. Mucha, Morris, Grasset who inaugurated the age of the affiche with their aristocratic-floral signs demonstrated that the quality of industrial products was guarenteed by manneristic, curvilinear images and shapes and therefore by traditional taste. But Toulouse- Lautrec was also a sensitive interpreter of the forms of the urban scene of the Belle époque with its nightclubs, the madness of the cancan, the panties, the lingerie displayed between unbridled dances and rivers of champagne. With the 20s, the knowledge of total design become ever more acute - Art Déco devoted itself to that with untiring and pervasive accuracy. It was free of taboos and aristocratic dictates and could therefore absorb the inspiration of industrial aesthetics, rigid, geometric and stylised lines . Aerodynamic futurist and future seeking shapes blended to revisit the past and places of exotic cultures. With Art Déco geometric and enigmatic egyptian stylistic features ennoble the quest for a sophisticated and angular elegance that would make the silhouette definitly slender and regally essential. The history of the interaction between fashion, beauty, and design is therefore rich in coup de théâtre, findings and variations, whose immediate motivation is often difficult to trace, but that sometimes resurface with the rediscovery of enormous historical aesthetic deposits. It is certain that the socio-cultural dimension, with its productive, political and expressive aparatus, has a “ social influence ” on fashion as can be read in various historical and reworking the signals put out by society, is itself an influencing factor in society and change. Emotions have a particular social value in that they can be collectively expressed on great mass occasions but also in the city streets, in meeting places and glamorous settings, they can virtually be snatched from the air. So we can view society in emotions the scenes of our time produce, in what contexts and by whom they are shared. Moreover, we must consider that now the scenes are also virtual, the real landscape blurs into that of the television screen and the computer monitor. Images of the world become confused with Emotional trend by P. Brunelli. the world itself. Nothing can be considered only in terms of the here and now... Imagination is our time machine that frees us from time, and through which its artistic presentation permits us to symbolically compare with the challenges of reality in a psychologically acceptable way. To create fashion trends, couture and beauty means essentially to be imaginative, living emotional contact with society and the world, but also with one’s own independant and exclusive personal fashion genius.

VOGUE Germany, photography by Sebastien Kim, July 2010

CURRENT FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY Fashion, desire and pornography.

Today’s catalysts include photographer and filmmaker Craig Mcdean, renowed for his striking fashion imagery and portraiture, in 1999, McDean published I love fast cars, a series dedicated to the wold of drag racing. He has also directed commercials for VERSUS frangrance and Calvin Klein’s contradiction. Alexei Hay draws on photojournalism and hollywood inspired backdrops. Like Philip Lorcia Corcia, Hay moves effortlessly between magazine and gallery work, He sympathizes with his models, never concealing their personal identity. He challenges the stereotypical fashion image. Others who have made recent statements in fashion photography include Steven Klein, who stands out among his peers in his view of the hypersexual male. Self taught Mario Sorrenti, who rose to fame in the early 1990s with his candid black and white images of his daily life and his launching the career of supermodel Kate Moss. Richard Bubridge, whose close up portraits are brutally confrontational and Ruven Afanador Torero, whose work is heavily influenced by his native colombian culture. Commercial pornography is still directed toward a male audience and generally emphasizes sexual arousal and desirability. In recent years, however, pornography for women has become more common in magazines and on commercial websites. The poses and facial expressions follow a pattern similar to that of male pornography, and the results presumably are the same. Despite its prevalence, sexual photography, pro - am photography and film,and pornography remain highly controversial. Sex is a private pleasure in western cultures, and witnessing other people performing it challenges society’s boundaries. Sex today is more obsessive than the liberating 1960s and our visual culture is increasingly crowded with images of it. Fashion photography and art have merged to form a new hybrid of fash-art photography. The influence of pornography on both forms is indisputable. Fashion trends construct gender identities that reflect our sexual fantasies. Fetish subcultures and an attraction to fashion’s dark side have provided designers and photographers with a rich source of material for decades. As long as boundaries are drawn between what is “normal” and what is “subversive”, fashion photography will survive, prosper, and challenges us.

The concise focal encyclopedia of photography : from the first photo on paper. by Micheal R. Peres.

VOGUE Paris, December 2010 photographed by Terry Richardson.

VOGUE Germany, December 2008 photographed by Alexei Hay.

VOGUE Paris, December 2010 photographed by Terry Richardson.

Anja Rubik photographed by Glen Luchford for Purple Fashion July 2010.

Lara Stone photographed by Marcus Piggot.

Lara Stone photographed by Steven Klein for VOGUE Paris, February 2009.

Raquel Zimmermann &Tom Ford photographed by Craig McDean.

Natalia Vodianova, photographed by Mario Testino .

INEZ VAN LAMSWEERDE VINOODH MATADIN Re- shaping the conventions of fashion photography, Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin subvert the status to explosive effect. Bringing an underground perspective to exclusive brands and to top-shelf celebrities, this provocative duo delight and vex in equal measure, sometimes startling but always stylish, both their fine art and commercial work challenge the outer limits of digital wizardly. In 2006, Inez & vinoodh were invited to design iconic Pirelli Calendaraan assignement they undertook with characteristic verve. To dub their work unpredictable would be mere understatement. This photographic dutch dream team has trail blazed for the likes of VOGUE, Harper’s Bazaar and The New York Times magazine, an extensive advertising clientele includes Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney and Jean Paul Gaulthier. Disturbing and disorienting, their photographs are filled with digitally contorted limbs, manipulated expressions and artificial landscapes they have lent their talent to advertising with their peers, they continue to blur their boundaries between art, fashion and marketing.

Balenciaga spring 2002 Ad campaign by Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin.

Jessica Miller for APC Ad compaign fall/winter 2009/2010 by Inez & Vinoodh.

Anastasia by Inez & Vinoodh ,1994.

Delphine by Inez & Vinoodh, 2001.

Daria Werbowy for VOGUE Paris, by Inez & Vinoodh, Morocco 2010.

Daria Werbowy & Andrès Valensco VOGUE Hommes International by Inez & Vinoodh.

NICK KNIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY I can’t see how my life could have been anywhere near as full or as rich as it has been without photography. It’s been everything to me, the electricity in my life, the way to communicate with people, to fall in love, to vent my displeasure at the world, to articulate every fibre of my feeling. Photographing has allowed me to express all of this and to make some sense of it. Photography’s power is like a passeport. It gives you permission to participate in a whole series of situations in life that you wouldn’t be allowed to normally. Wether it’s a car crash or a presidential election, society immediately accepts you into this event because you are a photographer. If you take away the camera you are like everybody else. Photography like poetry or philosophy, enables you to spend a lot of time scrutinizing the little details of life. It becomes a reason to live in a broader way. Other people’s pictures are enormously important as a way of solving problems, how someone else dealt with expressing great energy in their work, perhaps or profound sadness. Photography is so accessible, that it’s very easy to produce images that seem to look as good or similar in style or structure to existing work. What’s slightly dangerous about this is that people quickly achieve these more or less adequate results, and think “ i can do this “ and then remain at that level, apeing others’ styles. This is a false way of rationalizing your own work, however. Photography is about yourself, how you feel about what you see. Trying to express your perspective through somebody else’s feeling is a twisted way of communication. Equipement or image-manipulation don’t matter in themselves, which camera or software you use is no more interesting than which pen a writer uses or microphone a rock star sings from. But you need to know the scope of technology, without full knowledge of your equipements, ability to articulate what you are trying to express, it’s like trying to speak with a limited vocabulary. Experimenting with photographic imagery suggets that many photographers past and present - do not regard the point of image capture as the only creative moment in image making the entire process - right from conception, through construction and post-production to the moment of completion is important. I can’t believe that anybody can claim to be aware of every single square centimetre of their photographs. My earliest pictures, done with a 35mm camera and black and white film, were reportage shots of skinheads and potentially violent events as they unfolded in front of me. I remember taking pictures of two girls that I liked the look of, who were standing against a wall in a dance hall. It was only afterwards, when I looked at the contact sheets, did I notice that whilst, one of them was holding a handbag, the other a broken bottle. Contrary to the principle of the “ decisive moment “ that had dominated the

dominated the understanding of photography, a photographer just isn’t aware of the full image as it is taken. To describe the process, you force yourself into a situation in order to get the shot, you’re experiencing a crescendo of heightened awareness, pushing and manipulating, doing whatever is necessary to balance circumstances, lighting, relationships with the sitter, whatever it is. Finally you sense a whole bunch of energy flows converging, which almost like a melody becoming pitch perfect. You respond much quicker than you ever thought you could, but the shutter goes down and the flash goes off in response to the moment prior to capture. The moment documented is not the moment that you see, therefore, it is the moment that you don’t see. Unfortunately, photography has recently been held to trial for its lack of representation of reality. My own view is that photography never lied but neither did it set to tell the truth, it said “ you know nothing of this situation, i’ll give you some of my thoughts on it “ A far crucial issue is that photographers have some responsibility for what they show us. Visual imagery is a very powerful medium of expression and some image-makers are guilty of firing it recklessly, like a gun, without looking at the impact of what they are doing. In a culture that can be so rich, we are so poor with imagery, there is a whole range of people that just aren’t included in our visual representation of beauty, excluded for their size, individuality, health, ethnicity, sexuality. I believe it is our duty to use images to aknowledge that the parameters we set for our image of society are too narrow and reflect that these people have every right to be held up in adoration along with everybody else. It is useful for all photographers to be shown that they are completely capable of screwing up. On the shoot, the first pictures that come out are almost certainly going to be a failure. Standing in front of someone who is supposedly meant to be the most beautiful woman in the world and then the initial polaroids aren’t very good at all, that’s reasonably humbling experience. It tends to force photographers into repeated patterns of behaviour, like “ last time i did this way, or that works so by playing this music and using this lens, talking particular way to the model or using that light, etc.” will achieve the same results, those confidence tricks aren’t ways of understanding what is happening in front of you, they are ways of reassuring yourself. You should be metaphorically naked in front of your subject, out of your comfort zone and fighting for a new vision that you’ve never previously imagined. If you can see it already, there is no point in taking the picture.


One in Ten, Dazed & Confused, December 2000 by Nick KNIGHT.

In December 2000 Nick Knight photographed breast cancer survivors to reflect our restricted ideas of beauty and explore the sexuality of these women. Working closely with the breast cancer charity, Breakthrough, Knight and then Dazed fashion director Katy England set out to find women who had suffered breast cancer to take part in a fashion shoot and film for Knight’s SHOWStudio to challenge the perceived notions of beauty within fashion. Dazed & Confused

“Under her spell “ Natalia Vodianova, Vogue UK February 2010 by Nick Knight.

“ Refined rebel “ Raquel Zimmermann, Vogue UK November 2010 by Nick Knight. “ It amuses me that fashion photography are treated so poorly intellectually. Cultural intellectuals tend to feel they’re not qualified to discuss fashion photography, or that it’s a waste of time. I even get correspondence across the forums at SHOWstudio from people who think fashion is evil. There’s a lack of understanding, a moral dismissal, and an anger that fashion, and by extension fashion photography, is wasteful, criminal thing. Iquite like that agitation and aggression, because i don’t believe it. In a society where your first encounter with people tends to be visual, you’re sort of saying “ this is who I am “ I can’t imagine a society that doesn’t adorn and decorate itself and doesn’t use its outer appearance in some way as a social communication. “ NICK KNIGHT

Alex Box,makeup artist, 200 portraits by Nick Knight, I-D Magazine September 2010. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of i-D magazine, Nick Knight mirrored his 1985 ‘100 Portraits’ series and photographed 200 of the most important people in fashion, music and culture today. Alongside the photographic portraits, Knight created a series of unique video portraits of each sitter during this landmark seventeen-day shoot.

VISION QUEST WITH NICK KNIGHT New York Times, by Alice Rawsthorn.

A lean, taut figure with a boyish tuft of brown hair, Knight, is not nearly as rigid when he turns his professional eye on fashion. In fact, his luscious, uncompromisingly contemporary images never look backward. Whether he is shooting the cover of British Vogue, an advertising campaign for Swarovski or an album sleeve for Bjork, Knight pushes himself relentlessly, experimenting with complex technologies to ensure that each new image is even more beautifully composed than the last. “I’ve never seen him repeat anything,” says the photographer Craig McDean. “He’s always looking for something new.” With fashion now roiling with the kind of futuristic glamour that Knight is known for, his own quest for the new has taken him deep into the digital domain, searching for the multimedia equivalents of the still images that have defined fashion for the last century. With fashion now roiling with the kind of futuristic glamour that Knight is known for, his own quest for the new has taken him deep into the digital domain, searching for the multimedia equivalents of the still images that have defined fashion for the last century. In 2000, Knight founded the Web site SHOWstudio as a laboratory where he could experiment with interactive technologies. SHOWstudio has since produced more than 250 projects by Knight and others, placing him at the forefront of developments in 3-D scanning, digital sculpture, interactive film and a raft of other innovations. “When I’m producing a piece of work,” Knight says, “I’m looking for something I haven’t seen before, and once I’ve produced it, I’ll want to see something else.” By the time he graduated from art school, Knight had produced a photo book called “Skinhead” and persuaded the fledgling style magazine i-D to publish his work. Robin Derrick, now the creative director of British Vogue, was working there when a box of Knight’s student photographs arrived. “They were quite extraordinary,” he recalls. “They were what came to be a Nick trademark, black-andwhite portraits, all very mannered. The people never just sat there, they were cropped or contorted. Later I found out what that involved, when Nick came to do my portrait. He put a large wooden set square in the back of my jacket and propped me up on a stool.” Knight took a break from fashion in 1993 to work with David Chipperfield on Plant Power, a new gallery at the Natural History Museum in London that explores the relationship between people and plants. His return was the November 1993 cover of British Vogue, which Derrick had joined as art director. The sumptuous ring-flash shot of Linda Evangelista brandishing a flash gun was their reinterpretation of the hard-edged glamour of the early 1970s work of Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Chris von Wangenheim. Marking the end of grunge, it heralded the revival of glamour, a theme that Knight has since explored tirelessly, often with longstanding collaborators like Alexander McQueen and Bjork.

In the late ’90s, he challenged the fashion industry’s stereotypes of glamour in a series of images featuring plump women, elderly women and people with disabilities. “Nick made them all look fabulous, and that forced people to look at them differently,” says Lisa Armstrong, fashion editor of The Times of London. “There was a huge fuss at the time, but Nick handled it so politely and thoughtfully that it became more than just a bubble, and has had a long-term influence.” The advertising campaigns that Knight did with John Galliano for Dior, beginning in 1997, are his most visible works. “We had to rewrite the visual language of the brand,” Knight recounts. “John had this idea of bouleversement, of swiping the carpet from underneath this established French house, so everything spun into fantastic chaos.” “There was never a disappointment,” Galliano adds. “If I had to choose a favorite, I’d choose Angela Lindvall in the trailer-trash campaign, Karen Elson in the manga campaign or Gisele in the bubbles. The list is just endless.” As well as revitalizing Dior, the campaign cataloged the changes in photographic technology. Each ad was shot with a fisheye lens, which distorts the image by stretching and shrinking it into improbably proportioned shapes. Knight then refined the results using the now ubiquitous technologies of postproduction. New digital techniques have enabled him to make his pictures even more complex, like combining a dozen transparencies into one super-rarefied image. “Digital manipulation is just another tool,” he says. “It’s less profound than the lens you use, or the angle.” But in the end, he adds, “photography is all about manipulation, and as it’s evolved, it’s become more manipulative in every way. I’ve never seen photography as a truthful medium. It’s about individual perceptions of reality, and that’s what people want to see.” What Knight wants to see are perfectly composed images. “Working behind the camera, I am waiting for the moment when the colors and shapes form themselves into a harmonious series of patterns,” he explains. “It’s about the purity of the note, like a musical composition. Everything is in discord until I hit the note, and the image feels correct.” Critics have said that Knight’s work is too emotionally detached and that, in his pursuit of aesthetic perfection, he treats his models as compositional elements, not individuals. It’s true that he conveys little of their characters but always imbues his subjects with dignity, and sought-after models like Kate Moss and Gemma Ward choose to work with him repeatedly. Moss says that she enjoys “the intensity of being in front of his 8 by 10.” “Going back over the old work for the book so goes against how I feel,” Knight admits. “I always work in the future tense. As a photographer, you never see the moment you’re recording. When you press the button, the flash goes off and overstimulates the retina; or you look into the camera, the shutter goes down and it goes black. You’re always working in a pre-emptive, intuitive way. The future is where I find myself most of the time, and it’s an odd place to be.”

2004 Pirelli calendar by Nick Knight.

Abbey Lee for Gareth Pugh, Dazed & Confused, October 2008 photographed by Nick Knight.

Photographically it is diďŹƒcult to pin down a particular style that deďŹ nes Knight, although convention is t horoughly deďŹ ed. His constant risk-taking occasionally resulted in images that lack longevity, becoming dated as the technology that created them advanced, but there is no question that he is the most fearless and imitated fashion image-maker alive. He has almost single-handedly dragged the fashion industry into the 21st century, and without his zeal for the new and love of the provocative, the fashion world would be a much drearier place.

PACO PEREGRIN PHOTOGRAPHY Paco was born in Almeria, Spain. According to his bio, Peregrín works as a photographer and art director for clients such as Nike, Diesel, Adidas, Lee, Vögele, Mazda, Toyota, Levi’s, EMI Music, Cosmopolitan TV. He publishes for recognized magazines as Glamour, Zink (USA), Rolling Stone, , Eyemazing (the Netherlands), Vision (China), Vanity Fair (Italy), Edelweiss (Switzerland), Vanidad (Spain), Hint (USA), FHM (Spain), Flux (UK),The Red Flag (Germany). His work is defined by a marked character of hybridization of styles where come together the latest fashion trends and the most personal conceptual reflections, always providing to his images with a sensual, elegant and mysterious, even perturbing character, trying to interrelate the point of view of the traditional spectator of works of art with the most generic public of the mass-media.

Alice in Wonderland, by Paco Peregrin.

Alien Beauty, makeup by Alex Box photographed by Paco Peregrin,2010.

Makeup by Alex Box, photographed by Paco Peregrin.


VOGUE cover by Benito, 1926.

VOGUE cover , April 1950.

PHOTO magazine cover by David Lachapelle, july 1997.

Vanity Fair cover, march 2006.

Julianne Moore, by Mario Testino, may 2008.

Dazed & Confused cover, divine power,March 2009.

Kristen McMenamy, i-D mag cover, by Danielle Duella and Lango Henzi.

i-D magazine cover, by Tim Walker, Fall 2009.

Anja Rubik, Muse magazine cover,September 2010.

Penelope Cruz, Interview mag cover, January 2010.

VOGUE Paris cover by Mario Testino, June 2008.

Kelly Brooke, LOVE mag cover by Mert & Piggot.

Lara Stone, LOVE mag cover, february 2010.

Natasha Poly, VOGUE Paris cover,by Mario Sorrenti, November 2010.

Lara Stone,VOGUE P aris cover,by David Sims October 2010.

Adrianna Lima, V magazine Spain cover by Mario Sorrenti, Fall 2010.

Isabeli Fontana, V magazine cover by Mario Sorrenti, Fall 2010.

VOGUE Germany cover by Karl Lagerfeld, February 2010.

Gisele Bundchen, VOGUE Italia Spring/Summer 2011 Preview cover by Steven Miesel.

Maria Carla Boscono, VOGUE Italia.

Kate Moss, VOGUE Paris April 2008.


Fashion has always been a cruel mistress, and in the world of Alexander McQueen it always was. No other designer illustrates this point so perfectly as the one who shacles his models in leg irons and distorts their faces with mouth and eye jewellery, indeed, Alexander McQueen’s work often seems to torture and contort beauty by dressing gorgeous women up in spiky tailoring and retraining them in debilitating outfits. The principles behind McQueen’s work take on an additional charge as they refine the experience of fashioned body. Feminine beauty in McQueen’s work is negotiated in terms of aggression and brutality, assiging each woman the ability to wound and attack, they can be characterized by their extended presence beyond the borders of human body, or their confinement in painful corsets, metal skirts and dresses made from razor-sharp materials. The McQueen woman is also a warrior, armed with “weapons” of jewellery and accessories that equip her with technical extensions of agression, self-defence and alienation. In fact, it always seems that she is “being added to”. McQueen’s women are styled to look complex,serviceable and mechanical. McQueen’s fascination with Aimee Mullins prosthetic limbs explored the limits of fashion’s ability to equip the body with wearable mechanisms that facilitate protection and adaptation. Mullins is a paralympic medal winner for sprinting, she was born without fibula bones in her shins and had to have two legs amputated below the knee when she was a year old,McQueen met her on a photoshoot he directed for Dazed & Confused magazine shot by Nick Knight,the pictures that resulted from this project are among the most ground breaking fashion images ever published. McQueen demonstrated in a cute sensitivity that undermined societal beliefs in what beauty is the shoot featured models pronounced physical disabilities,dressed in designs by Hussein Chalayan, Comme des garçons and in McQueen’s designs from both his own label and Givenchy. The images rendered moments of poignant beauty, these individuals traditionaly marginalized by the widening cult of body fascism presented a sense of strengh and inner fulfilment rarely seen in the pages of a magazine.

Mullins and the other models were portrayed as beautiful because of their disabilities not in spite of them. McQueen created a mood that resonated the unease expressed in Helmut Newton’s photographs of Jenny Capitan dressed in full-leg cast and neck brace, photographed on a shabby room at The Pension Dorian in Berlin.In one image Mullins is captured sitting on the floor, holding her head in her hand in a melancholic,moody pose. her gaze is fixed, staring downward, her hands are held in an unusually rigid position with fingers splayed apart and fixed to the floor and to the body. Her colouring seems unnaturally pale, her blonde hair fashionably inkempt, the historical allusions of crinoline and the exotic contortions of the wooden fan mantle fusing together to create an image of a victorian doll. The image’s colouring resembled sepia or monochrome prints from a bygone era, also suggesting a previous period. Mullins is dressed in garnments that extend beyond the borders of the photo as if she had been squeezed into the frame . Her own artificial limbs have been substituted by the lower legs of a display mannequin, which appear to be old and stained, but with pointed toenails. The seams joining the Mullins’s kneecaps are visible, ressembling the joints of plastic dolls, the effect of Mullins depiction as a beautiful doll evoke a neglected toy abondoned in an empty corner. The poignancy of the images makes a strong contrast to the violence and agression that often characterize McQueen’s work. The image immediately connotes the pain that typifies McQueen’s models, this time epitomizing the sense of isolation sublimated by the female warrior. Here, feminine beauty is negotiated in terms of innocence. McQueen subverts the traditional use of jewellery as a signifier of feminity,instead, he uses it as an index of inner angst and political repression, much like the punks did, the type of jewellery made for McQueen by Shawn Lean is agressive, it breaks away from the classical style of jewellery. McQueen’s fascination with abused and violated bodies has resulted in accusations of misogyny and exploitation. In his defence, McQueen recounts the memory of a brutal attack against his sister by her husband that he witnessed at the age of eight, “ I was this young boy and I saw this man with his hands around my sister’s neck, I was just standing there with her two children beside me. ” he told the independant’s Susannah Frankel. “ Everything i’ve done since then was for the purpose of making women look stronger, not naîve.”

McQueen explained “ I am constantly trying to reflect on the way women are treated. It’s hard to interpret that in clothes or in a show because there’s always an underlying sinister side to their sexuality because of the way I have seen women in my life. Where I come from, a woman met a man,got shagged, had babies, moved to Agenham, made the dinner, went to bed and that was my image of women, and I didn’t want that, I wanted to get that out of my head. “ But this in age,appears to stay with McQueen haunting him as he strives to reconcile the physicality of abuse and transpose it into the language of revenge.His garnments reconfigure the passive as well as the active stressing that women may be subject as well as object, agent as well as possession. McQueen’s woman-as-a-warrior can be traced back through each collection he has done for his label, his fashion show “HIGHLAND RAPE” drew inspiration from the english occupation of Scotland, McQueen described the historic bloodshed as “nothing short of a genocide” and used the collection to highlight the violence and oppression of the era that culminated in the jacobite rebellion. The most out standing collection told the story of a lone warrior, Joan Of Arc. The criticisms of mysogyny are fuelled by then. McQueen contradict the sublime image of offering typically presented in fashion, Caroline Evans argues that the agression inherent in McQueen’s depiction of women seems more representative of his wider view of the world than a drive to abuse women. One interpretation of his women is to see them as invincible and uncompromising, but beyond that their aggressive sexuality makes them dangerous, even deathly to male desire.The pain of abuse is literally acted out across the bodies of McQueen’s models under a preveiling mood of silent anger,seclusion, and melancholy, undercurrents of sex and violence are nothing new to fashion. High fashion in the 1970’s in particular, was characterized by such a strong undertone of sado-masochism, erotism and violence that Edmund White described as “The new brutalism”. The photographs taken by Helmut newton and Guy Bourdin in this era were imbued with fascination and fright, which surfaced again during the 1990’s in magazines like “ THE FACE” and “Dazed & Confuzed”. As brutality became a legitimate theme for fashion editorial, a trend grew for depicting models in abusive scenarios that echoed crime scenes,brutal attacks, rape and even murder. McQueen uses fashion to constrict and fetter sexuality, inviting advances while sumultanuously deflecting them. Mcqueen destabilizes the usual affinity; a sensual relationship that invites both wearer and observer to touch, feel, stroke the sumptuous textures of fabric.

Techno Fashion by Bradley Quinn.

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2010 by Nick Knight.

Lady Gaga in Alexander McQueen’s Dress from spring/summer 2009 collection photographed by Nick Knight, VANITY FAIR.

“Noble Farewell” Alexander McQueen tribute, photographed by Annie Leibovitz,VOGUE US, March 2010.

“There is something sinister, something quite biographical about what i do but that part is for me, it’s my personal business.I think there is a lot of romance, melancholy. There’s a sadness to it, but there’s romance in sadness. I suppose I am very melancholy person.” Alexander McQueen.

Lily Donaldson photographed by Steven Klein for Alexander McQueen tribute in VOGUE Paris, march 2010.

Daria Werbowy dressed in McQueen’s spring/summer 2008 collection, VOGUE UK March 2008.

Dress & the “Armadillo” shoes from McQueen’s “Plato Atlantis” spring/summer 2010 collection, VOGUE Australia, June 2010.

Hana Soukupova, coat and hat by McQueen, photographed by Paola Kudacki , VOGUE Germany.

Dress, shoes, purse by Alexander McQueen,VOGUE Paris, October 2009.


While being immersed in his screen, Coupland naturally comes up with hydro metaphors such as evaporation. However, visual art did not evaporate, it rather resurfaced powerfully as screen-based art in novel liquid time spans and novel liquid shapes. So, what could be at stake when visual art exhibition, a catwalk show and a literary essay merge in one oeuvre? Is that a criss-crossing of cultures? or is it something else? Remarkably enough, in all three fields, a common strand seems to be the screen or, to empty that metaphor once more. The water front as an edge where another condition is encountered in a postion of near escape, the best guarantee for pleasure. In the case of Viktor & Rolf, fashion seems to meet another condition in visual art elements such as the sound and the misty atmosphere of the show, both of which are inspired by screen-based art performances. Furthermore, it is precisely the confrontation with the catwalk show and its form of liquid perception reminding one of watching visual art video loops that turn fashion into the “edge” where visual art meets another conditon. And the Douglas Coupland essay? The names Coupland invented for Viktor & Rolf such as Hawk and Wasp could only have been inspired by screen-based liquid perception catwalk shows, which, in Amsterdam, at least are broadcast frequently on the art channel. What does all of this mean for the notion of criss-cross culture? it means that there is not any criss-crossing at stake at all in the world of visual art. Rather, many forms of visuality are bouncing against an edge, as if an inner necessity drives them time and again through an exciting moment of escape into a dialectic supersession. Visual art does not participate in a criss-cross culture, on the contrary, visual art lives its very life in the genetic city.

Dutch design duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, have earned international acclaim for their highly conceptual and photogenic fashion creations. Viktor and Rolf is a Label, it stands for the dutch duo who have been exhibited in the Stedelijk Bureau - as so called young art annex of the “ official “ Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum - they are covered in Metropolis M, the leading dutch magazine for topical visual art and The Mondriaan Stitching, the dutch governmental art foundation, that provides financial support so they are able to create and present their clothes. However in the art, Viktor & Rolf do not simply show their work on the catwalk conversely, they seem to work in line with good old protesting modernist artists when they challenge the spring-summer-fall-winter dictate of the fashion world in a Viktor & Rolf on strike poster which substitutes a show. Or, when they send out a catalogue exclaiming “ Because of an abundance of fashion shows, we come to you with this catalogue.”Nonetheless, they are part of the Paris Haute Couture world, where they follow the strategies of the world of catwalks and glamorous fashion rather than the strategies of visual art. In one of their recent shows in Paris, models showed “classic” clothes such as a pink cocktail dress or a camel trenchcoat on a catwalk hidden in heavy fog. All clothes were embellished with numerous silver and golden bells under collars or on belts. The sound of the bells replaced the usual catwalk music while the fog camouflaged at times the twelve models who jingled along. After the show Rolf stated : “ Fashion is more than a picture, it also involves an Exploding aesthetics by Annette W. Balkema and Henk Slager. aura surrounding it, which is not tangible. One should feel it, that is the reason one could not see but only hear the clothes appearing .“ Clothes with a Benjaminian aura, clothes with sound - an item so hot today in the present world of visual art. Did the catwalk show leave the Haute Couture world after all in order to enter the world of visual art or were Rolf’s words merely an afterthought. Another question emerges is wether Viktor & Rolf were consciously reaching out from the visual art and the fashion world in order to embrace a third world of art in inviting the american author Douglas Coupland to write a mini-essay for their show. In the Viktor & Rolf essay, Coupland claims that “visual art has evaporated”. Perhaps because it lost the relationship with the human body and, in so doing, it lost its soul. Fortunately, we still have art’s sister “ Haute Couture “ which combines visual art’s strategy and cultural criticism with a craftsmanship connected with the human figure. Since Coupland christened Viktor & Rolf creations with beautiful names such as Hawk ( System error please restart ) and Wasp ( you’ve got mail ) without seeing any creation - there was only mail contact - Coupland might have arrived at his statement about art while merely staring at his screen- and who could blame the author of wonderful books such as Microserfs for that ?

Lazer cut dress by Viktor & Rolf, Dazed & Confused magazine, February 2010.

Naomi Campbell wearing the “dream Coat” by Viktor & Rolf. Photographed by Mario Sorrenti for V Magazine,

Viktor & Rolf, Fall/ Winter 2010 fashion show.


illusions “ Shaun Leane explained. Jewellery can also be used to highlight different parts of the body, shapes like sppears, barbs, and tusks are unusual in western fashion, more reminiscent of tribal influences that recall a carnal sense of the exotic. “ the spear earring can actually be worn in normal ear piercing. The Rewarded UK jeweller designer of the year 2010, Shaun Leane is interna- illusions I create accentuate the body in a way that looks as though it has been dramatically modified.” tionally celebrated for pushing the boundaries of jewellery design. Leane’s signature style is strong, refined and elegant,renowned for his darky Techno fashion by Bradley Quinn. romantic and beautifully crafted jewellery, his work has been described by Sotheby’s London’s prestigious auction house as “Antique of the future”. Alongside his collections and bespoke pieces, he produces for clients such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Daphné Guinness. Leane is also responsible for creating some of the most iconic catwalk pieces we have seen today. Past catwalk collaborations have included acclaimed projects with Alexander McQueen and Givenchy. His work with the late fashion designer McQueen spanned over fifteen years and has brought him international recognition. The jewellery Alexander Mcqueen commissions from Shawn Leane redefines the body’s intervention in the space around it. Rather than hanging the body, Leane’s jewellery is typically designed to renegociate the boundaries of the body as the pieces of jewellery lift away from the coutours of the body and continues outwards, they symbolically extend the body beyond its confines. The jewellery adorns the body with necklaces, armbands and earrings that resemble spears, spikes,barbs and tiny thorns or mouthpieces that that protrude from lips like snarling tusks on sinister fangs, every bit as deadly as they are elegant. Some pieces like the body jewellery commissioned for La poupée, are designed to change the movement of the body by constricting the arms or legs, facial jewellery is intended to disrupt the semetry of the face or highlight the eyes, the nose or the lips. The “eye bar” is designed to slot in between the eyebrow and cheekbone opening up the eye socket and giving it a different look. A “mouth bar” was included in the untitled ( spring/summer 1998) McQueen’s collection that was clenched between the model’s lips like a horse’s bit. Other jewellery pieces serve as protheses, like the mouth pieces that protrude from the lips like human tusks on vampires, like fangs. Lean’s mouth piece was worn in a Jean Paul Gaulthier advertising video, in which ,a woman is chased by ferocious dogs, she suddenly turned and snarled at them, brandishing it between her teeth as she crouched to attack, the dogs whined pitifully and ran away. Facial jewellery engages with games of sexuality, suggesting that erogenous zones in the face and neck are off-limits, or that the pieces of jewellery are implements used to arouse and heighten the pleasure of another, it highlights the fatal threat presented by sexualized feminity also raising questions about the vulnerability of the body and contemporary anxieties about the potential dangers of its visual and physical possession. Apart from earrings, none of the jewellery is made for piercing. “ I don’t make jewellery for body piercing or for lasting body modification, I like creating

Feather earrings by Shaun Leane for Alexander Mcqueen’s 2005 Spring/Summer collection.



Shaun Leane’s metal glove for Daphné Guinness.

ALEX BOX MAKEUP ARTIST A ground breaking makeup artist with a strong alternative voice, for her degree show at the Chelsea College of Art, Alex Box axhibited installation art exploring the relationship between the body and the environment. Later her makeup went on to explore this relationship between art, science, nature and the magical. Alex has since become one of the most influential makeup artists of our time. She creates looks for designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Peter Jensen andGareth Pugh. She was also the lead artist at the 2007’s Fashion Rocks event. Alex’s work has featured in Vogue in Italy, France, Japan, China and UK. Her work is also regularly seen in titles including Numero, W, Another Magazine ,Dazed & Confused, 10 and I-D.

Psychedelic explosion “This image is a cathartic outpouring of emotion and movement, like a play or a dance. It’s when you put on makeup and shapes to transform your face into a sort of emotional landscape, and you work on the planes of the face and they tell you what to do. It has a natural beginning and end and know exactly when I’ve done enough. It resonates with my mood at that moment. I am in love with color and with what I do.” Alex Box


High are all the rage according to french hairstylist Olivier Chomienne. His french touch transforms regular hair into hatlike styles which range from peacock to straw like designs. An extra dimension is created with Olivier’s wigs and hair pieces which add another level to editorial hairstyling.


Fashion illustration titles line the shelves of bookshops, magazines often illustrate features rather than use photographs and illustration is a popular medium for fashion advertising. The art of fashion illustration is once again in vogue, but will this trend continue? The answer must be Yes. In an age of increasingstandardization and automation, we yearn for the individuality expressed by the new trend-setting image makers. Fashion illustrates who experiment skillfully with unusual media and innovative design are warmly welcomes, while fashion illustration continues to develop and oer fresh interpretation, its place in the future commercial world is assured.







Sassy fashion illustrations of young belgian artist Achraf Amiri, he is mocking the fashion industry with his stunning colorful illustrations.



Fashion art : Psyche & beauty.  
Fashion art : Psyche & beauty.  

E-book tracing fashion photography and design history, with striking images by then and now's greatest photographers and artists.