Icons of Style


This Saturday I got to see the Icons of Style exhibit at The Getty. It was a great compilation of fashion photography through the century, and it was interesting to see how fashion and photography has changed throughout the years.

Although a lot of people say the 1920s were a pivotal moment for fashion, I'm not sure I agree. In this exhibit, my favourite photographs were from the 50s and 60s. Fashion was more structured, taking elements from design and architecture and incorporating them into the clothes. Photography at the time also took this into account. Photos looked more artistic then the ads we see peppering Vogue today. The earlier decades transformed simple clothing into works of art. Helmut Newton, Man Ray, and Herb Ritts all changed the course of fashion. It went from being a necessity, to art.

Overall this exhibit was a bit underwhelming, although that might have been because the museum was a zoo that day. It was great to be in the same room with photographs by Dora Maar and Horst P. Horst's Mainbocher Corset. Sometimes, when looking at art, I feel like the people around me really don't understand the importance of the images they're looking at.

Present day fashion is oversaturated. With the addition of street style, there's a lot less room for art. Fast fashion and trends make clothing disposable, once again diminishing its' artistic value. I always believed fashion is art first, and this exhibit reminded me of that. Seeing the people around me that day, I wondered about what we consider 'fashionable' today. It seems to me it is less about art and beauty, and more about who can look the weirdest or stand out the most.

It reminds me of a project I did at university, when we had to dress up in a way that was uncharacteristic for ourselves, and go out in public to see the reactions. I wasn't sure then what the purpose of that exercise was, but I get it now. It was to show us that getting noticed for shock value is not true or authentic style.

Wearing a costume is always a fashion mistake
— Alberta Ferretty