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Uncover How This Vogue Photographer Made Fashion Timeless

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Untitled circa 1952. Courtesy of Erwin Blumenfeld Foundation.

Untitled circa 1952. Courtesy of Erwin Blumenfeld Foundation.

As London’s Hamiltons Gallery celebrates the work of Herb Ritts and his portraits of the original “Supers,” Paris unveils its ode to timeless imagery, too. Step inside the world of Erwin Blumenfeld, one of fashion’s most prolific photographers from the post-war era, in a new exhibit that launches on March 3 at the Cité de la Mode et du Design. Known for his genius interplay with color, repetitious motifs, and striking framing, Blumenfeld defined a generation of high fashion advertising and imagery, making this cultural adventure one to add to your check-list during PFW.

Erwin Blumenfeld Paris exhibition 2017

Self portrait by Erwin Blumenfeld, New York, 1950. Courtesy of Erwin Blumenfeld Foundation.

The Cité de la Mode et du Design kick-starts its spring 2017 offering––focusing on culture and design––with a spotlight on Studio Blumenfeld New York 1941-1960. The Paris-based exhibit, titled “Art As Contraband,” meanders indoors and outdoors on an impressive circuit by installation designer Vasken Yéghiayan.

Erwin Blumenfeld Paris exhibition 2017

Untitled. Courtesy of Erwin Blumenfeld Foundation.

The curation showcases over 200 works, including previously unseen photographs by Vogue photographer Blumenfeld, the influential artist who created iconic fashion imagery throughout the ‘40s and ‘50s. Personal archives from the photographer’s research of sartorial culture, his “100 Best” images, and props from famous shoots all support the limited edition app, which features exclusive narratives from curators Nadia Blumenfeld Charbit and François Cheval, the co-director of the Lianzhou Museum for Photography.

Erwin Blumenfeld Paris exhibition 2017

“Beauty ready to sleep.” Victoria Von Hagen photographed by Erwin Blumenfeld for US Vogue, April issue 1954.

Vogue Arabia speaks to installation designer Vasken Yéghiayan—long-term collaborator of Christian Lacroix on runway set designs for the maison––ahead of the ribbon being cut on the new exhibit, to uncover how he made Blumenfeld’s work fresh for a multi-generational audience.


What was the biggest challenge you faced when designing this exhibit?
The challenge was to create conditions for an exhibition, in a space which is not specifically supposed to host one. The Cité de la Mode et du Design is a particular place with architecture that appears like a big sign, from [both the] outside and inside. I tried to imagine an open course in which pictures of Erwin Blumenfeld should live and catch the visitor’s eye.

Erwin Blumenfeld Paris exhibition 2017

Kaleidoscope circa 1960. Photographed by Erwin Blumenfeld for US Vogue, April issue 1954.


In you experience, what is the most effective design technique a modern gallery space can adopt to draw in the viewer?
The most effective design technique in an exhibition is when you forget the technique and you feel the experience of space and the narrative potential of simple shape and simple means.


Which photograph from the collection really stood out to you?
Some of pictures that you can discover in this exhibition withstand the passage of time, even as they are clearly assuming past influences.

The Edit: see a preview of Erwin Blumenfeld’s photographs for Vogue magazine and beyond from the exhibit here:

The Studio Blumenfeld app will be available from the Appstore and Google Play from March 2 to June 4, 2017 for 19.75 AED/SAR. Studio Blumenfeld New York, 1941-1960 exhibition shows  at the Les Docks, Cité de la Mode et du Design 34, quai d’Austerlitz 75013, Paris from March 3 until June 4, 2017 for an entry fee of 19.38 AED/SAR.

Key Highlights from 21,39 Jeddah Arts 2017.

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