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Suzy Parker and Robin Tattersall, dress by Dior,
 Place de la Concorde, Paris

Richard Avedon, 1956

       
 

Fashion & Sartorialism

 
 

   The New Magpie Look...

   

 

  

 

This morning we leafed through the pages of fashion photographs in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar where there are now clothes from The Gap right next to Lanvin (a concession to the times, but also, finally, an admission, that fashion has always been an art of juxtaposition, of assemblage, a magpie's game: an adorning of the self from a motley collection of things).  Lines are blurred, blurring, and as with fashion so with the fashion photograph.

 

And currently at the ICP: Avedon Fashion (1944-2000) which explores the work of Richard Avedon(1923-2004), whose revolutionary photographs danced across the pages of Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, The New Yorker.  His work was imbued with a sense of movement, of American energy, that modernized fashion photography, mixed high and low art, advertising, pop culture.  He blurred the line (and all the dots) between fashion and serious photography.  Beyond fashion and models we remember Avedon for his 1980s series In the American West and his 1964 collaboration with James Baldwin, Nothing Personal, a survey of the Civil Rights Movement, the politics, the gestalt of the time (Baldwin was his old Bronx high school classmate and his co-editor at The Magpie, the school's literary magazine).

 

If Avedon's fashion photographs are some hybrid creature of editorial and his own aesthetics, stylized and energetic, then the 21st century answer, a child of the internet really -- and our favorite fashion blog is Scott Schuman's The Sartorialist with photographs (and occasional comments from the Sartorialist himself) from the streets of New York, or wherever he happens to be.  And we admit to regularly peeking while riffing for eCognoscente....

 

What the The Sartorialist possesses is a certain joie de vivre, fashion as an extension of the self, style and the aesthete celebrated.  It isn't edgy, or hip, or trendy.  Schuman has said, "I'd been shooting on the street and I found that the photographs I kept going back and looking at were stylish older guys who were really cool and tailored and old school, I thought they looked inspirational…."   So if it is classical in the sense that it is about a distinctive sense of style it is also about real people who share a joyousness about dressing up -- old, young, fat, thin, the common thread is that they are all clotheshorses with a certain član.  Its about Schuman and his camera and whatever strikes his fancy: from-the-street, no editorial, celebrating the magpie approach that has nothing whatsoever to do with head-to-toe anything but instead celebrates confidence and the idea of dressing up for oneself!  The pixels have been blurred on what has always been a magpie's game…. 

 

See: Avedon Fashion (1944-2000), ICP 

Visit: The Sartorialist 


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