Friday, 20 July 2018

Chris Moore's Catwalking at The Bowes Museum...

Hello lovelies!

Fashion photography at it's finest...

Commes des Garçons, SS17 ready-to-wear

How do you even begin to document the work of a man who has single-handedly shaped the face of fashion photography?  That is the question I asked myself as I started to type up this blog post.  Friday 6th July 2018, saw the launch of 'Catwalking: Fashion through the Lens of Chris Moore' at The Bowes Museum, a retrospective of sixty years of photography taken by the man himself and accompanied by many of the outfits he shot in his images.

Chris Moore is an extraordinary man who has had a lengthy career in fashion photography.  Born in Newcastle in 1934, his first photography job came in 1951, as an assistant at Vogue's in-house studio.  After this he was briefly represented by "Camera Press" an agency for photographers, before going on to work independently for the majority of his career.  In the late sixties, he began to document the couture shows for some of the world's biggest fashion houses such as Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin, at a time when fashion was more closed-off and elitist than it is today.  He then went on to also shoot ready-to-wear and has attended many shows in all of the four fashion capitals.  In the year 2000, he launched, to catalogue his images and make them available to fashion journalists.  Now in 2018, Moore has retired, but after reading many articles and interviews with and about him, I wonder whether he'll be back for one final hurrah; Moore has had a glittering career and his images are exceptional, it seems stepping back from the lens hasn't been easy for him to do even at 84!  I feel a real affinity with Chris Moore; we are both from the North East and both have a real love for The Bowes Museum (it's my favourite too!).  He's a man that I can't help but admire after shooting many exhibitions on my trusty camera phone as a way of documenting my fashion adventures!  I spend my workdays shooting clothes on a mannequin and editing photography, a job that I take so much pride in-I can only imagine how amazing it must've been to shoot some of the greatest fashion shows of all time in the flesh.  I hope this blog post serves to do his work justice and encourages all of you to visit this wonderful exhibition.

Catwalking: The launch evening...

The launch of Catwalking saw celebrities, press and Friends of The Bowes Museum flock to get a first look at the exhibition.  Chris Moore was in attendance, along with other great names such as Giles Deacon, Hilary Alexander and Suzy Menkes to name a few.  It certainly was the hottest ticket in town, and I was kindly invited along by The Bowes Museum to blog about the event.  I've written many posts about The Bowes Museum; it truly is one of my favourite places to visit and I was so excited to be part of this landmark occasion!  I brought my lovely friend Krissi along with me as my plus one and it was so nice to share the experience with her.

It was a beautiful summer's evening, so it was a perfect opportunity to have a little fashion shoot of our own in the stunning museum grounds before viewing the exhibition!  I got a few comments about my dress and bag on the evening, so in case anyone is interested, my dress is by Darling and was £30 in the Flannels sale and my bag is a Vivienne Westwood Africa bag that I've had for years (it only makes an appearance on special occasions!).

Fashion from Graduates at Northumbria University...

Once we had headed inside, we were greeted on the stairs by models wearing collections by Northumbria University's latest batch of fashion graduates.  Chris Moore has shot collections by Northumbria's graduates in the past so marrying his retrospective with work from this season's graduates at the launch seemed a perfect fit.  Krissi and I really enjoyed watching the collections on the runway before we viewed the exhibition.

I was really impressed by the detail of the garments and the wide range of ideas that the graduates presented.

Time for Catwalking...

After enjoying the live show, it was time to view the exhibition and it is quite the sight to behold.  Spread across three galleries and organised by designer, it is awe inspiring to see both Moore's amazing photography and the work of some of the world's most prolific fashion houses on display.  I don't want to show you everything as it would be a major spoiler, but I'll talk a little about each gallery in turn and show some of my favourite pieces.

Alexander McQueen

Savage Beauty at the V and A museum was one of the most powerful exhibitions I've ever visited, so I always get a little emotional when I see work by Alexander McQueen.  It was interesting to read that Chris Moore shot many of McQueen's collections and was the only photographer permitted to shoot the first after his untimely death in 2010.  I can't even begin to imagine how emotional Moore must have been when he was in that room.  I am always blown away by McQueen's work so was excited to see it take centre stage in the Fashion and Textile's Gallery, along with collections from YSL, a designer who will be forever a part of Bowes Museum history after the stunning YSL retrospective the museum housed in 2015.

My favourite piece from Hells Angels & Prolific Demons AW '10 

A little bit of YSL...

 Wonderful images of an amazing career, we love you Yves Saint Laurent (and amazing examples of some stunning photography from the man in question-Chris Moore)

Louis Vuitton

I loved these pieces from Nicolas Ghesquiére from the Spring/Summer 2015 ready to wear collection by Louis Vuitton.  On a personal level, 2015 was a year when I was glued to online fashion shows and I remember seeing these pieces on the runway.  The photographs have capture the show beautifully!


 Maria Grazia Churi for Dior, SS'17

John Galliano for Dior SS'98

Dior features in two separate galleries.  The Churi piece is ready-to-wear and is a recent acquisition for the Bowes Museum supported by the Art Fund.  The intricacy of its detail in the lace is absolutely exquisite.  The Galliano piece is Haute Couture and is breathtaking.  Galliano is known for his outrageous designs, but this one is absolute perfection-a great example of everything that embodies Dior elegance.


This dress encompasses everything that is Versace.  It's a 2018 Ready-to-wear piece from the 'Tribute Collection', which totally encapsulates Gianni's legacy that woman should feel sexy and empowered in his clothes.  


I could write a separate post about how much I love Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel, so the inclusion of this 1984 AW Haute Couture piece really excited me.  The camellias are a fitting tribute to Gabrielle Chanel and have been a symbol much associated with the house since her time at the helm.  Attention to detail is everything at Chanel, captured beautifully in Moore's accompanying photograph.

And finally...Vivienne Westwood and Valentino

 AW '91 Valentino Ready-to-Wear
AW '95 Vivienne Westwood-Viva la Cocotte Collection

I paired these two together as stunning examples of tailoring.  Both houses are known for their tailoring; Westwood for her suit jackets and use of Harris Tweed and Valentino for his gowns.  Both are very different but both require a similar understanding of figure, form and fit.

Finishing with photography....

Just writing about the exhibition has made me so excited to go back and visit again, if only to take in more Chris Moore's brilliant photography.  Seeing work that spans decades is enough to make even the most casual fashion follower excited, so you can imagine how breathtaking it was for a fashion enthusiast and photography lover like me.  I've honestly only scratched the surface of how good this exhibition is, so please make sure you visit!  Thank you to The Bowes Museum for inviting me to the preview, I'm sure this won't be the only post I write about the exhibition; I can't wait to view it again!

Until next time,

Kay xxx

You can buy tickets for the exhibition here

Disclaimer: I was kindly gifted entry to the Bowes Museum launch event for myself and a friend but I was not paid for this review, all opinions are my own, it's an amazing exhibition-I hope you enjoy it!


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