David Hockney, Peter Schlesinger and Maudie James by Cecil Beaton, 1968 ©The Condé Nast Publications Ltd

VOGUE 100: A CENTURY OF STYLE

That Vogue 100: A Century of Style is a real treat for fashion obsessives is a given; the chronologically ordered show (there’s a room dedicated to each decade over the past one hundred years) delves in the Condé Nast archives, plundering some of the most influential shoots and a dazzling line up of photographers who have captured, and sometimes shaped, the look of each eras. Some, including Corinne Day’s infamous 1993 grunge shoot with Kate Moss haloed with fairy lights or Steven Meisel’s fabulous Anglo-Saxon Attitude story with a cast of Brit models including Stella Tennant and Honor Fraser, are given more space and impact. But fashion aside, it’s the breadth of scope that’s fascinating – the glamorous, iconic images of artists, actors and aristocracy, rock stars and royalty. Many are on the cusp of stardom – an impossibly baby-faced Jude Law in 1996; Hugh Grant in all his floppy haired glory on the set of Four Weddings and a Funeral; a dewy Kate Winslet just before Titanic turned her into a movie star. There are some real treats and treasures too – a series of Lee Miller’s images from the Second World War when she served as war correspondent to the magazine or Horst’s much-copied Corset image from 1939. Vogue’s Robin Muir, who created the show, went to great lengths to track down the original prints – and it makes such a difference here, especially with the very early pieces. Incidentally, the show is also beautifully hung by theatre designer Patrick Kinmonth, creating different moods for each decade. There are only a few snapshots of what goes into making the images – at the start of the exhibition a vast screen rolls a montage of video footage from Vogue shoots – it’s one of the most compelling bits of the show. British Vogue has always been an arbiter of taste and style, ever since it was founded in 1916 (when the first world war made transatlantic shipments of American Vogue impossible), but to see it all gathered in one spot is at times quite dazzling.

What:
VOGUE 100: A CENTURY OF STYLE
When:
11 February – 22 May 2016
Where:
National Portrait Gallery, St Martins Place, WC2H0HE
Price:
Adult £17, Concessions £15.50
Tel:
0303 123 7344
— Clare
10th February 2016