The great American photographer Edward Steichen took what were probably the first fashion photographs in 1911. Since then it has become a unique platform for experimentation, balanced between commerce and creativity, recording the Zeitgeist and capturing individual dreams and desires. Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival currently running across the city, the selection of outstanding photographs appear at the City Art Centre until 8 September.
The legendary publisher Condé Nast recognised this very early on and created a distinctive style for his magazines, elevating haute couture and turning fashion photography into an art form. With his keen sense for discovering new talents, he found the best photographers and promoted their careers, a tradition continued by subsequent editors and art directors at Condé Nast.
This exhibition shows early work by such luminaries as Cecil Beaton, Erwin Blumenfeld, Helmut Newton, David Bailey, Guy Bourdin, Corinne Day, Mario Testino and Sølve Sundsbø as it appeared in the pages of Vogue, Glamour and other Condé Nast publications.
With unprecedented access to the Condé Nast archives in New York, Paris, London and Milan, the curator Nathalie Herschdorfer has gathered original prints, as well as pages from the actual magazines. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see the work of over eighty photographers right at the outset of their careers.
Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast, until 8 September, City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DE. www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk
The Edinburgh Art Festival runs until 1 September in numerous venues across the city www.edinburghartfestival.com
1. Clifford Coffin, American Vogue, June 1949, copyright 1949 Condé Nast
2. Miles Aldridge, Vogue Italia, September 2002