2013 saw the V&A Shop embark on a very exciting and successful collaboration with Harper’s Bazaar to produce bespoke and limited edition covers of their coveted glossy magazine. The issues – all exclusive to the V&A and most of which have sold out on print runs of up to 400 – have become collectors’ items.
We launched our collaboration with Harper’s Bazaar last February (March issue) with a cover shoot by Cathleen Naundorf, set behind the scenes of the museum as we prepared to move our unrivalled fashion and textiles collections, including precious couture gowns, to brand new storage at the Clothworkers Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion, which opened in October. The fashion shoot featured twelve gowns from the collection – including a 1958 Dior dress worn by the Duchess of Windsor (from Yves Saint Laurent’s first collection for Dior) – with an accompaning article penned by Oriole Cullen, Acting Senior Curator of Fashion.
The April issue saw a neon cover by famed British artist Tracey Emin, who created a piece in honour of our David Bowie is exhibition and the release of his first album for a decade. June featured model Erin O’Connor dressed in haute couture. A beautiful image of Koi Carp shot on location in Hangzhou, China by photographer Harry Cory Wright featured on November’s cover to coincide with the opening of Masterpieces of Chinese Painting: 700-1900; the first time these ornamental fish, a representation of good luck and fortune, have appeared on a Harper’s Bazaar cover.
For December our partnership led us to research vintage Harper’s Bazaar covers and advertising posters with a festive theme, spanning the turn of the twentieth century up to the 1940s to create the most fashionable Christmas Cards around. We continue into 2014 with covers of work by renowned photographer Erik Madigan Heck for the January issue and a collision of art and fashion for the February issue drawing from Prada’s Spring/Summer 14 collection inspired by the political art of Mexican muralists such as Diego Rivera. Watch this space for more on the exclusive Harper’s Bazaar covers which are soon to feature The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 and Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, tying into our exhibition programme for the coming year.