100 years of Vogue: The photos behind the fashion

Exhibitions | Anniversaries

"Vogue" magazine turns 100 in the UK and the National Portrait Gallery in London looks back at the photography that has defined how we view fashion. Discover 10 famous photographers who've shaped the magazine's style.
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The king of fashion
Karl Lagerfeld, born in Hamburg in 1933, was one of the most influential names in fashion in the late 20th century. Since 1983, he's been chief designer of the French label Chanel. But he's also established himself as a highly accoladed fashion photographer.
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French photo talent
Patrick Demarchelier has worked with supermodels like Linda Evangelista, but his perhaps biggest career moment was taking the official portrait of Lady Diana as the first non-British photographer permitted to do so. Demarchelier is one of the most in-demand fashion and commercial photographers in the world and his work has graced the cover of "Vogue" many times.
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A knight with a camera
British photographer Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton began his career shooting portraits. He created cover shots for "Vogue" as early as the 1930s, and in 1937, he photographed the British royal family. Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 1972. Beaton, who is known for his glamorous portraits of fashion and film personalities, died in England in 1980.
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Photos from the front
American photographer Elizabeth "Lee" Miller took some of the most memorable fashion shots of the 20th century. Also a military correspondent for the US Army, she earned her stripes documenting the Nazi attack on London and the Allied landing in Normandy during World War II. Before the war, she also worked as a model. In 1977, Miller died of cancer at her home in England.
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The art of photography
Irving Penn is also among the most significant photographers of the 20th century. He was born into a Russian-Jewish family in the US and studied art in Philadelphia. Since the 1940s, he's shot for "Vogue" and made a name for himself as a fashion and portrait photographer. Later on, he also went into still life photography. Penn died in Manhattan in 2009 at the age of 92.
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Self-taught success story
After David Bailey served in the Royal Air Force, he went into photography, teaching himself the art. He was later contracted by "Vogue" and photographed countless film, fashion and music stars, including Cat Stevens and Alice Cooper. Like many other top British photographers, he also took portraits of the royal family. He resides in London.
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A black-and-white career
Herb Ritts, who is known for his black-and-white works, was also self-taught. His breakthrough came in 1977 with a photo of Richard Gere. In the 80s and 90s, he worked for many of the major fashion magazines, including "Vogue." He was open about his homosexuality and being HIV-positive. He died from the disease in 2002.
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Insider tip
Outside of the fashion world, Mario Testino is not that well known, but inside, he's a celebrity. Many of his works, including those for "Vogue" or "Vanity Fair," are among the most famous fashion pictures of all time. Testino was born in Lima, but now lives in London.
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In the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh
Peter Lindbergh was born in 1944 in what is now Poland, but grew up in Duisburg in western Germany. He studied painting - van Gogh was his role model - and later turned to photography. In 1978, Lindbergh moved to Paris and worked first for "Vogue," then for other international magazines. He predominantly worked in black-and-white. Today, he lives in Paris, New York and Arles.
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Revealing the process
Nick Knight not only photographed celebrities, but also founded a prize-winning platform for online fashion communication: showstudio.com. On it, Knight shows "the entire creative process - from conception to completion." Knight is one of the many photographers featured in the "Vogue 100" exhibition, which runs through May 22 in the London National Portrait Gallery.
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In the UK, "Vogue" magazine is celebrating its centennial - reason enough for a special exhibition at the London National Portrait Gallery.
The publication stands for glamour like none other and being pictured in it as a model, or having your picture in it as a fashion photographer, is a coveted status symbol. From Irving Penny to Peter Lindbergh or Karl Lagerfeld, the who's who of the fashion world have all left their mark on "Vogue."
The magazine, however, is actually older than 100 years. American businessman Arthur Baldwin Turnure founded "Vogue" in New York City in 1892. It started off as a weekly publication for fashion, society and lifestyle. It would later include sketches of the latest styles and fashion tips for the upper-class and set the latest clothing trends.
After Turnure's death, his sister-in-law Marie Harrison - then the editor-in-chief - took over the magazine to the chagrin of French-German businessman Condé Nast. He'd been eyeing it for quite some time and had tried to negotiate with Turnure up until the latter's death.
It wasn't until 1909 that Nast would finally come into possession of "Vogue." Fashion sketches were soon replaced with photographs. And another major change took place: The magazine was only published every 14 days, rather than weekly. The price was raised and its major target group was more clearly put into focus: women.
One thing remained the same: The editor-in-chief has always been female. Early on, it was Josephine Redding. For the past 20 years, Anna Wintour has taken the job. As the most influential woman in the fashion scene, she also served as the inspiration for the 2006 film "The Devil Wears Prada," starring Oscar-winner Meryl Streep.
According to Wintour, having your own vision is more important than worrying about the competition - a mantra that's proven successful for her.
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The British edition of "Vogue" appeared nearly a quarter-century after the magazine was founded in the US - its first international launch. Twelve years later, the German edition was born. The Great Depression hindered its initial success, and a second German launch was attempted 50 years later.
With the founding of the Condé Nast Verlag publishing house in Munich in 1978, "Vogue" was finally up and running in Germany. By this time, the magazine had long since conquered the fashion world with its iconic high-gloss cover photos.
The German edition of "Vogue," under editor-in-chief Christiane Arp, is known for elaborate, multiple-page fashion spreads featuring pompous shoots.
The mother of all fashion magazines is now available in over 20 countries - all with the same motto: "Before it's in fashion, it's in Vogue."
The exhibition in the London National Portrait Gallery, "Vogue 100," runs through May 22, 2016.
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Elena Klein, Aaron Skiba / kbm
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Date: 17.03.2016
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