Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion

The National Gallery of Victoria will stage the first Australian survey of renowned fashion photographer Edward Steichen in October.

Art Exhibition previously on at NGV International in Victoria, Australia.
From Friday 18 October 2013 to Sunday 02 March 2014
Launch Friday 18 October 2013,

Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion image

Published by National Gallery of Victoria - International on Thursday 08 August 2013.
Contact the publisher.

The exhibition Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion will feature over 200 of Steichen’s original vintage photographs, drawn from the vast Condé Nast Archive through the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, alongside more than forty stunning Art Deco fashion garments and accessories that showcase the glamour and modernity of the period.

Tony Ellwood, NGV Director, said that Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion is the first major Australian retrospective dedicated to Steichen’s iconic Condé Nast work produced in the 1920s and 1930s.

“Steichen’s evocative images are regarded as among the most striking in early-to-mid-20th century photography and his fashion work in particular revolutionised the genre of fashion photography. This exhibition provides a rare opportunity to view such a large body of his work and to see up close the intricate details of outstanding Art Deco fashion items that highlight the interplay between fashion and photography,” said Mr Ellwood.

The exhibition will present Steichen’s pioneering modernist fashion photography and celebrity portraiture, produced during his fifteen year career as chief photographer for Condé Nast’s most prestigious magazines Vanity Fair and Vogue. During this period he put his exceptional talents and prodigious energy to work, creating a legacy of unequalled brilliance as he photographed the world of high fashion and stars of contemporary popular culture including Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Charlie Chaplin, Katherine Hepburn,
Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Greta Garbo,Gary Cooper, Winston Churchill and George Gershwin.

Steichen’s images transformed fashion photography and influenced generations of photographers, capturing the sophistication of the newly liberated ‘modern woman’and encapsulating the chic beauty and avant-garde style of the Art Deco movement. Renowned as an innovator and master of lighting, his practice bridged the transition from photography’s early soft-focus, pictorialist style to clean, crisp modernism.

Echoing the aesthetics of Steichen’s photographs, this exhibition will also celebrate the fashion borne of the
period with over forty exquisite Art Deco garments and accessories by leading designers of the day including
Chanel, Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Madame Paquin and Callot Soeurs. The elegance of old Hollywood glamour
and high end fashion will be seen through a range of pieces- including swimsuits, coats, evening gowns, beach
pyjamas, dresses, hats, bags and shoes, as well as an early example of Chanel’s little black dress- drawn from
the NGV Collection with selectloans from private collections.

Art Deco style developed in response to changing lifestyles and ideals following the First World War. Typically characterised by sleek, geometric lines, rich colours and luxurious adornments, these new forms represented a shift away from traditional values; in fashion, hemlines rose and hairstyles became shorter, culminating in the infamous mid-twenties flapper style.

Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion will also display rare copies of Vogue and Vanity Fair that demonstrate
the way Steichen’s photographs appeared on the magazine page.

Two catalogues will accompany the exhibition: Art Deco Fashion, a magazine-style volume that charts the development of the modern silhouette and highlights some ofthe leading designers of the period, and Edward Steichen: In High Fashion – The Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937, a lavishly illustrated 288 page publication that focuses on Steichen’s legendary Vogue and Vanity Fair work.

The exhibition is organised by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography (FEP), in collaboration with the National Gallery of Victoria.

Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion will be on display at NGV International (180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne) from 18 October 2013 until 2 March 2014. Open 10am – 5pm, closed Tuesdays. Admission fees apply: Adult $12 | Concession $10 | Family $30.