Beyond Fashion ★★★★ Saatchi Gallery | May 31 - Sep 8, 2024

If there were any doubts that fashion photography had moved beyond the realm of marketing to become an art form in its own right, this show should remove them. This is a thoughtfully curated exhibition bringing together over 100 images from 48 photographers and authoritatively establishing this specialiSed genre of creative output within the pantheon of the traditional arts. Divided into four sections, "Allure," "Fantasy," "Realism," and "Surrealism," the exhibition's fascinating pieces convincingly demonstrate how fashion photography has become much more than simply the promotion and sale of consumer goods. The work of practitioners like Viviane Sassen, Peter Lindbergh, Feng Li, and Miles Aldridge offers a commentary not only on our society, but also on ourselves. These are images that seduce, beguile, question and shock. They engage the viewer on many levels and provoke a re-examination not only of what we think and believe about beauty, its presentation and manipulation, but also about how society and the artist mould these perceptions. We loved the mocking humour of Ellen von Unwerth's "Rich Bitch, Paris" (2004) and were intrigued by Sølve Sundsbø's technique in "Elena in Gaultier, Numéro #91" (2007). Suffice it to say that Nick Knight's "Alexander McQueen, Snakes" (2009) will continue to haunt us long after the show. Whether your personal passion is fashion or cutting-edge art, this is a show you don't want to miss.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: Miles Aldridge, Lookable Legs #1, 2002 © Miles Aldridge / Vogue Italia

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