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Beyond Fashion: The Saatchi Gallery’s must-see new photography exhibition

The blockbuster show brings together over 100 images from the world’s most renowned fashion photographers

As far as unmissable exhibitions go this spring, Beyond Fashion at the Saatchi Gallery is right up there. This seminal new fashion exhibition is set to bring together over 100 images from almost 50 of the world’s most famous fashion photographers, including Peter Lindbergh, Miles Aldridge, Nick Knight and Ellen von Unworth. The show aims to highlight how fashion photography has evolved from being a commercial device into an art form in its own right, pushing the boundaries of creativity to their limits.

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Peter Lindbergh, Kristen McMenamy, Le Touguet, France, 2009 © Peter Lindbergh Foundation (Courtesy Peter Lindbergh Foundation, Paris)

Slated to be the Saatchi Gallery’s major exhibition for its summer 2024 season, Beyond Fashion will open from 31 May with a bumper roster of acclaimed photographers – all of which have been carefully chosen by curator Nathalie Herschdorfer, Director of Photo Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland. Featuring the biggest names in the business, along with an exciting new generation of fashion photographers, the show celebrates the ground-breaking vision and creativity of these artists in all their glory.

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Miles Aldridge, Lookable Legs #1, 2002 © Miles Aldridge / Vogue Italia

Presented during the milestone 40th anniversary of London Fashion Week, the exhibition will be split into four main sections: Allure, Fantasy, Realism and Surrealism. The first, Allure, offers up a celebration of timeless beauty, while Fantasy explores the endless creativity and inventiveness of fashion photographers.

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Yelena Yemchuk, Tokyo, 2017 © Yelena Yemchuk

The Realism section focuses mainly on street style photographers, taking a closer look at fashion’s intersection with the real world. Finally, Surrealism showcases the work of a new generation, for whom fashion photography is all about transformation, imagination, and magic.

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Sølve Sundsbø, Elena in Gaultier, Numéro #91, 2007 © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce

Throughout the exhibition, viewers will be able to see some of the fashion industry’s most iconic images. Highlights include a playful Peter Lindbergh photograph of a group of white shirt-clad models on LA’s Santa Monica beach, which includes original supers Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, as well as another of his shots featuring the enigmatic Kristen McMenamy.

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Peter Lindbergh, Estelle Lefébure, Karen Alexander, Rachel Williams, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz & Christy Turlington, Santa Monica, 1988 © Peter Lindbergh Foundation (Courtesy Peter Lindbergh Foundation, Paris)

Elsewhere you’ll find Brit photographer Miles Aldridge’s colour-saturated images, Ellen von Unwerth’s instantly recognisable shots and Juergen Teller’s famous Marc Jacobs campaign, which featured Victoria Beckham’s legs sticking out of one of the brand’s enormous shopping bags. The collection of works on show features supermodels and stars like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, as well as designers such as Christian Dior, Commes des Garçons, Alexander McQueen and Valentino and street style legend The Sartorialist.

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Miles Aldridge, Home Works #3, 2008 © Miles Aldridge
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Juergen Teller, Victoria Beckham Legs, bag and shoes, LA 2007 / Marc Jacobs Campaign Spring Summer, 2008 © Juergen Teller *

As well as featuring a wide array of fashion photography, Beyond Fashion will also have a section dedicated to moving images. Presenting the works of SHOWstudio, the website founded and directed by acclaimed British photographer Nick Knight, this section highlights the importance of film in today’s fashion imagery. Established in 2000 as ‘the home of fashion film’, SHOWstudio’s innovative and pioneering projects have defined how fashion is presented via the internet.

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Anaïs Leu, Walk with Pierre Hardy, 2016 © ECAL / Anaïs Leu
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Ayoto Ataraxia, PJW508 Nº3946, 2015 © Paul Jung

The show ends with an installation called Under Your Smell, which offers visitors a new way to engage with fashion photography. Created by students at the ECAL/University of Art and Design, the installation features a visual interpretation of Jean Paul Gaultier’s perfumes in a series of staged images.

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Daniel Sannwald, Garage Magazine, Fall-Winter, 2014
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Koto Bolofo, Skin Deep, 2008 © Koto Bolofo

“At one time, fashion photography was perceived as limited to its commercial use,” says exhibition curator Nathalie Herschdorfer. “With the explosion of the internet and social media, the way photography is documented, consumed and shared has undergone a transformation. The emergence of a broader visual language has enabled a blurring of boundaries between editorial work, advertising and artistic expression within fashion photography. Nowadays, it is no longer regarded as a frivolous medium; it is elevated to the status of an art form, capturing the sustained attention of museums and galleries, auction houses and publishers alike. It is the art world’s rising star.”

‘Beyond Fashion’ will run from 31 May – 8 September 2024
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