Horst: Inventing Elegance

Inventing Elegance is a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations for the V&A exhibition Horst: Photographer of Style, 6 September 2014 – 4 January 2015. These blog posts will reveal the process of planning and creating a major photographic exhibition. Blog contributors include some of the many individuals working to bring the project to fruition, such as conservators, technicians, designers and curators.

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The role of beauty in Horst’s photographs

Fascinated with the power of lipstick, Poppy King (Founder of Lipstick Queen) visits the exhibition and discusses the subject of beauty captured in many of Horst’s photographs. The unfolding narrative of female beauty is one written by forces within and forces without. A good photographer can capture one or other, only great photographers capture both. […]

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Carmen Dell’Orefice’s speech at the opening of Horst: Photographer of Style

Reputable image and style makers from across London displayed their admiration for master photographer Horst P.Horst last night by attending the definitive retrospective exhibition of his work – Horst: Photographer of Style. Carmen Dell’Orefice, the iconic model who worked with Horst from 1946, opened the exhibition with Condé Nast’s International President and V&A Trustee, Nicholas […]

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Conservation of a Vionnet Dress: Treatment begins…

The dress in textile conservation before any investigation.

The dress appears much dirtier in the bright conservation studio than in the dark store!  The first stage of any garment treatment is to assess the object thoroughly: by looking carefully, taking photographs and taking patterns and measurements.  A detailed treatment plan can then be formed.  Any testing and material identification can be carried out at this stage, […]

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Conservation of a Vionnet Dress

This beautiful dress was designed by Madeline Vionnet in 1937 and was given to the V&A in 1968 by Cecil Beaton. It will be on display in the Horst: Photographer of Style exhibition, due to open in September 2014. The dress will be one of 9 other examples of French couture from the 1930s, reflecting […]

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A tight installation schedule!

Dresses by Molyneux and Maggy Rouff in the Textiles Conservation Studio

Given we have nine days to hang a two gallery show, object installation is planned down to the hour. A team of six skilled V&A technicians will hang over 300 framed works by Horst and his contemporaries, including a series of 25 large scale colour prints, reproduced from original transparencies. As a photography novice I […]

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Guest Contributor: Shawn Waldron, Archive Director at Condé Nast

'After' Dress by Hattie Carnegie, modelled by Carmen Dell'Orefice

In the decade following WWII, Horst shot hundreds of color fashion photographs for Vogue. Exhibition Curator Susanna Brown rightfully felt the V&A retrospective would not be complete without examples of the work on display. The magazine engravers worked directly from the original 10×8 chromes with no print required. With no vintage print to show, the […]

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Style Never Goes Out of Fashion

T.399&a-1974 Elsa Schiaparelli, Dress and Jacket with gilt embroidery mounted for ‘Horst Photographer of Style’ on a full figure Proportion Ltd mannequin.

The photographs in the exhibition will be supplemented by a selection of 9 ensembles showcasing the work of designers that collaborated with Horst. These include some of the most prominent and influential fashion designers of the 1930s, such as Elsa Schiaparelli, Coco Chanel and Madeleine Vionnet. For the 9 exquisite ensembles, some of which have […]

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Putting together an Exhibition like Horst: Photographer of Style

Sample for exhibition headings

It is an exciting time within the Exhibitions Department with the installation of our new temporary exhibition Horst: Photographer of Style commencing in early August. The exhibition will open on September 6th and fill two of the temporary exhibition spaces. The fantastic V&A Design Team have been working around the clock to confirm wall colours, […]

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