Saturday, October 17

"A revival of silver fox is fantastic."

Thursday was spent with Emily (Duff) at the Richard Avedon exhibit that is now open at the DIA in Detroit and I have to say that I knew that I would love it but I didn't know that I would learn so much. In the talk that was given before the viewing of the photographs a very illuminated quote bubbled up regarding the importance of Avedon's work and also placed it time in such a way that I have never thought about. Harper's Bazaar wanted Avedon to visualize pre-war Paris in a post-war France. Now, while it's easy to think of these photos as just amazing and beautiful photosgraphs of lovely clothing on lovely women, its easy to forget that the ones that were taken just after WWII bear an significance unmatched in the fashion world. During WWII Paris was unseated as the fashion capital and while that had some positive impact (for instance it sparked the fashion design movement in the U.S.) it was disconcerting as Paris had really been the center of fashion for ages (and I mean, since Louis the XIV). With the help of Avedon's work (and of course Dior's New Look) Paris was placed back in front.

To write a post about this show that would do it justice would make a post far too long for anyone's attention span.  But the highlights for me were realizing how Avedon used women he knew and knew were great personalities in his work and these women weren't 20 year young little things, these were grown women - something that has totally gotten lost in the modern world where the obsession seems to be on youth and models are younger all the time. Also, the exhibit featured opened issues of Bazaar and Vogue so that you could read the copy and it's so so different than the copy of today, it's techinical, fantastical and uses phrases like, "a revival of silver fox is fantastic", which for some reason made me laugh a lot.

In short, go! The exhibit is up until January and well, if you are anywhere near Michigan and love fashion, you should go, I know I'll be going back at least twice before it closes!


beckydrolen said...

i am a photography instructor and i always make sure to give my students a run down on Avedon's is really important and really beautiful! i am jealous...i wish i could go to that show!

sarah said...

What a fantastic exhibition! How lovely that you are able to go. You both look stunning in your sleek black dresses!

Sarah said...

oooo! I am going to Detroit/Ann Arbour for work in a few weeks. I am sooo going to try to make it. The show looks fantastic!

caramelizedvintage said...

That sounds like such an amazing exhibit. I'm glad you discovered things and decided to share some of it with us. I love how the woman are so vivacious!

Anonymous said...

so beautiful!! they have a similar exhibit here in toronto on Vanity fair portraits from the 20's to the 60's. Am definitely feeling inspired to go now (and am totally going in a LBD too-- perfect for this classic occassion!)

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