Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Vogue 100: A Century of Style

Hello lovelies!

I am an obsessive  avid collector of British Vogue magazine.  Some may consider me a hoarder; I on the other hand see it as building my own tangible piece of fashion history.  For as long as I can possibly remember, I have read Vogue.  I always remember that famous Carrie Bradshaw quote from 'Sex and the City' where she spoke of buying Vogue instead of dinner because she felt it 'fed her more'-this I can completely relate to (although I do like food-a LOT).  I look forward to my monthly subscription dropping onto my doormat and love to spend the month pouring over every page.  After repurchasing and replacing old issues, I own every issue from May 2006 to the current copy and my collection is every growing; ten years of fashion history housed on the bookcase of my home office.  I have a couple of older issues too, including December 1985 featuring Uma Thurman, the month that I was born.  I was met with uncontrollable excitement when I first learned that there was to be an exhibition of 100 years of Vogue, a fashion pilgrimage for a collector like me.  Last week I finally had the privilege of attending 'Vogue 100: A Century of Style' and it certainly did not disappoint.

Housed on the ground floor of the National Portrait Gallery, the exhibition begins with the present day then offers a reverse chronology of some of the most memorable images and covers of Vogue.

A floor plan of the exhibition

The viewer is met in the first room by an arrangement of covers from across the decades arranged in columns, much like a movie show reel.  I really enjoyed picking out covers that I'd seen before as well as seeing others for the first time.  I took my Mam to the exhibition with me, and what was really refreshing was how she could relate to the stars from her era as I did with those from mine.

Image taken from: http://privilegedviews.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/vogue-100-century-of-style.html

Moving into the main corridor, the standout image was the famous shot of Alexander McQueen complete with smoking skull, taken by Tim Walker in 2009.  After visiting 'Savage Beauty' at the V&A last year, I'm always moved when I see McQueen, saddened by the loss of a genius of the fashion world, his presence is haunting and he surveys the corridor.

Image copyright of Getty Images.

Moving through the exhibition, my favourite section was the nineties to the present day; the time I grew up with Vogue.  Amazing images of Kate Moss, from her fresh faced debut days to the images of her we've come to know and love to sports stars, vocalists and movie stars of my lifetime.  Some of my favourite images were probably the more obscure stars featured, not the models of the world that you'd expect to see, but the stars that may not be instantly recognisable to everyone walking through the doors of the portrait gallery. The black and white image of Alex Turner at the height of Arctic Monkeys' success, boxer Luke Campbell in the build up to his Olympic Gold medal win and Boris Johnson, London Mayor at the Olympic Village were some of those that I loved the most.  Having said that, the images of the models were those that I found the most striking, particularly those of Kate Moss, Lara Stone, and Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista from the Supermodel era.

Alex Turner, Luke Campbell and Kate Moss from Vogue, June 2012

I loved reading about the rise of Karl Lagerfeld in the eighties, seeing Grace Coddington not as the face of former second in command at American Vogue, but in her model heyday when she was strikingly beautifully.  A nod also has to be given to the inclusion of video throughout, the only medium that could really and truly capture the facial expressions of Cara Delevingne and the emotion and fun involved in shooting such memorable images.

Moving towards the 30s and 20s, after passing through the famous faces of the 60s from beautiful Twiggy to the iconic Beatles, I really enjoyed looking at the fashion illustrations featured from the days before fashion photography really existed.

Finally, in a century of magazines, it was great to see how the magazine had progressed and fun to point out the iconic issues I remembered and those I have as part of my own collection at home.  

I visited the shop afterwards, a potted history of Vogue within itself, and I was bowled over by the amount of memorabilia to choose from, including some vintage issues of Vogue priced at £20 and upwards (there's hope for my collection yet!).  I struggled to choose what to purchase (deciding to order the exhibition catalogue online as it was super heavy!) but in the end I went for the coolest keyring I've ever seen and postcards from the exhibition, so I could relive it and share it with those that couldn't be there when I returned home.

I thank Vogue for my love of fashion and see it as an integral part of my life; Vogue gave me my fashion education and continues to excite me, transporting me to a glamorous world.  Sharing it with my Mam was like giving her a glimpse inside of my mind and traveling through the fifties and sixties was like seeing a glimpse of hers.  Thanks Vogue 100 for the memories and for being so stylish for an entire century.  Real style never goes out of fashion.

At the exhibition...
...and with my birthday issue and my collection at home.

Vogue 100: A Century of Style will be at the National Portrait Gallery until May 22nd priced at £17 for adults and £15.50 for concessions.  For those unable to see it, it will also travel to Manchester Art Gallery, opening June 24th-October 30th 2016.  You can watch a tour of the exhibition on British Vogue's YouTube channel here.


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