For more than a century, Vogue has celebrated Christmas with optimism and originality. Robin Muir looks back through the decades at the images that have captured the joy.
A metamorphosis is not achieved solely by the wholesale importation of glittering and fantastical ingredients. It’s the imaginative way in which they are used that creates the dazzle, the richness and the magic. Alewya Demmisse wears a Vivienne Westwood kilt and Sonia Rykiel sweater, by Juergen Teller.
Don’t try this at home – a garland of Christmas lights, photographer unknown.
The gift of a diamond necklace that separates to make a tiara, by Henry Clarke.
“Time for Illumination” by Tim Walker.
“Spending and cooking and anxiety has to be faced. We are so many fathoms deep in custom and tradition and sentiment,” said cookery writer Elizabeth David in Vogue, 1959. Della Oake in Balenciaga, by Cecil Beaton.
A festive ’20s cover by André Edouard Marty.
Christmas in the ’50s captured by Irving Penn.
An illustrated cover for British Vogue’s first Christmas by Helen Dryden.
“Seasonal Offering” by Georges Lepape.
Candy canes in wartime, photographer unknown.
A ’30s cover for the Parties Number by André Edouard Marty.
A little boy photographed for a ’50s Christmas cover by Norman Parkinson.
A bauble-filled ’30s cover by Anton Bruehl.
E M A Steinmetz for American Vogue.
A glamorous ’20s cover by Georges Lepape.
Anton Bruehl and Fernand Bourges for American Vogue.
Liza Minnelli by Steven Klein.
“Branching Out Into Red” by Tim Walker. At a shade over £2,000, Balenciaga’s scarlet satin gown, trimmed with feathers and velvet flowers, forced Vogue’s chatelaine, understandably, to fail to pull her weight in this seasonal ritual. Luckily there were several diminutive helpers on hand.
Kate Moss by Nick Knight.
“A streamlined Christmas” by June Platt. Vogue considered this modernist display the flipside to the overblown ostentation of the traditional Victorian Christmas tree. However, restraint came at a price: the fabrication of “homemade cornucopias of shiny paper, filled with nuts and decorated with paper cut-outs, little lace bags, filled with shiny red peppermints hung here and there” was, despite the composure of this tree decorator, labour intensive.
A festive illustrated scene by Joseph B Platt.
Su Blackwell’s découpage “The Snow Queen”, cut directly from an old book, made an impressive sylvan setting for the season’s jewellery, by Lacey.
Sid, Sam Taylor-Wood’s dog, in tinsel, by Hugh Stewart.
A baroque mise en scène for Christmas dining.
“Scent & Stockings” by William Klein.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk