Fashion responds to, and contributes towards, cultural and political events, and has attracted the talents of the world's best photographers for nearly as long as the history of photography itself. This lecture series begins with an overview of elegant Victorian portraiture and ends with the dazzling and ambitious photoshoots of today. We will outline how fashion images through the decades connect to art historical movements, exploring the impact of advances in camera technology and the illustrated magazine industry, and the explosion of colour photography in the 1930s and 1940s.
We will examine the fashion trends which emerged from the international centres of couture and design in Europe and America, and the work of designers such as Paul Poiret, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Claire McCardell, Mary Quant, Yves Saint Laurent, and Alexander McQueen. In their interpretations of new styles for the magazine page, photographers have consistently pushed boundaries, and combined their artistic vision with commercial demands. We will learn about the work of some little-known photographers, as well as stars including Edward Steichen, Cecil Beaton, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Richard Avedon, Corinne Day, and Tim Walker.