A Century of Style:
Fashion Photography from the National Portrait Gallery Collection
"I always thought we were selling dreams, not clothes."
– Irving Penn
Fashion photography emerged as a commercial profession in the early twentieth century, with the primary purpose of showcasing and promoting clothing designs. However, over the last one hundred years it has grown into an art form of its own, with many of the most imaginative and creative photographers of their time drawn to the challenge of capturing the essence and beauty of fashion in their work.
This exhibition brings together some of the most famous fashion photographers and models (sitters) to showcase the art of fashion photography. Through themes including Designers, Model, Maker and Muse, and Art and Fashion, the exhibition examines the role fashion photography has played in defining style, imagery and contemporary culture. The exhibition also focuses on the work of probably the most celebrated fashion photographer of the 20th Century, Cecil Beaton.
This exhibition has been created in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery as part of their transformational Inspiring People project that includes an extensive programme of nationwide activities, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Art Fund.
Maisie Williams by Miles Aldridge, 2017 © Miles Aldridge
Wes Adams and Lisa by Gordon Anthony, 1937 © V&A Images