Vogue 100: A Century of Style (2016) – Fashion Review

Vogue, Horst P Horst, 1940

Vogue 100: A Century of Styl

So I have a confession to make – fashion isn’t exactly a big thing for me. I have my interests, I have my personal expressions but fashion has always felt synonymous with the phrase ‘in fashion’. You have to be in the trends and know what the in group wear and what’s this years style or this seasons or this months. For me, I criticise this as it feels like you have to be told what to wear rather than discovering yourself. This is a particularly naïve look at fashion. However, this was a large part of me growing up and hints of this still remain. So, why this exhibition? A bit strange that someone like me would go? Well my interests will always be art and life. Film may be my biggest expression but it is art and life that fuels this expression. Vogue offers a particular look at photography and models that has it’s place in art. Some of my favourite artists and models being included in this: Man Ray; Lee Miller; Kate Moss etc. To deny Vogue would be very silly. It has it’s place in history and over the 100 years you can see some big changes, ranging from some very experimental pieces of art to the mass produced feel of a lot more of the recent prints. Interested in people, interested in ideas, it has changed so much over the years. So as a relative newcomer to Vogue, I must advice this is a personal and ill-informed look at the exhibition and it’s moments.

Walking in it is clear from the outset that this a stylish event for many, people all around dressed up and drinking prosecco in champagne flutes. It was lavish and probably exactly what you’d expect from a fashion event. There was quite a lot going on as well and I don’t believe I managed to make it everywhere, an interesting part of the event seemed to encourage make up sessions. But one of the most glorious aspects of the whole exhibits is just seeing the amount of variance over time, the covers of Vogue through the ages are shown for comparison and we also see particular eras shown and discussed very clearly. This builds up a good idea of Vogue’s influence and variance over the years and it also reflects the times very well. The more modern look doesn’t quite feel like it reflects the times very well but this appears to be one of the issues with Vogue, going from game changer to game follower. The more artistic and experimental side of Vogue that it began with doesn’t quite continue throughout the century.

On this particular night we were complimented with talks from some of the central people within British Vogue. Taking a little look into the thought processes behind Vogue was very interesting and it certainly sparked discussion. Picking up themes like photography – film vs digital? Nurturing aspiring talent. We actually discussed the authenticity of their statements on this one. For me I also found an ethical discussion arose in their treatment of models and artists to be featured within Vogue. They have a position and can swing their weight accordingly, is this really a good thing? It’s to be expected but I don’t like the disregard for the individual – “If everyone says you look good but you don’t, then maybe it’s you” (paraphrasing but that was the essence). I have to side with the individual on that one, it is up to the individual to feel comfortable with what they’ve done no matter what others think of what they do. No disregard to advice and others opinions but just a respect for the individual and no respect for peer pressure. These were all interesting themes to pick up on and these talks gave a decent insight into the brutal and lavish, the experimental and conforming Vogue.

For a newcomer, this does give a decent look into everything that Vogue is and does and what it has been and done over the years. It is an exciting time for Vogue and this was a good look into what they are. Picking up interesting themes and good comparisons over the years. The exhibition appears to be successful as it continues at the Manchester Art Gallery this Month: June 24th to October 30th 2016.



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