Vogue: Fantasy & Fashion

Image of Vogue: Fantasy & Fashion
Release Date: 
October 20, 2020
Reviewed by: 

John Galliano states in the Foreword of Vogue: Fantasy & Fashion “you are working with the most talented people in the industry to produce excellence, to create this moment.” After reading that the names that came to mind were Mellen, Vreeland, Posnick, Brodovitch, and Liberman to name a few and yes, they are the behind-the-scenes brilliant minds who created the fantasy for some of the most renowned and revered photographers of the20th and 21st centuries. Alas, this is not what you see when you read this wonderfully reproduced selection of Vogue images.

You must keep in mind that part of the reason these images appear to be so startlingly glorious and arresting is that they are magnified by the physicality of the volume itself as well as the pluperfect reproduction quality.

Later on, in the introduction you read “fantasy is fashion’s ultimate, most optimistic expression” wrote Laird Borrelli-Persson. There is no disputing the statement except that there appears to be a dearth of images to support it.

Vogue: Fantasy & Fashion is unquestionably an exquisite catalogue of photographs that focuses on photographic output from lenspersons of the last quarter of the 20th century and into the present century, meaning that there are blatant and obvious omissions as a well piddling representation of those who truly created the fantasy of Vogue as well as the aspirational image of the publication. The roster includes Penn, Blumenfeld, Demarchelier, Newton, Avedon, Radkai, Sokolsky, and Horst. Words to the effect that Mrs. Vreeland spoke were give them what they never knew they wanted! Again, while the images in the monograph are first rate they are nowhere near the grandiosity and immense creativity of those printed in the Vogue of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and even the ’80s.

Having assessed all the above it is only in the Acknowledgements that the truth and purpose of Vogue: Fantasy & Fashion becomes apparent: “this book would not have been possible, as a dream or reality, without the leadership of Dame Anna Wintour. The majority of the images collected here were created to reflect her vision of Vogue and love of fashion.” So, this is an individual and purely subjective viewpoint of what Vogue: Fantasy & Fashion represents.

The question is simply do you agree with Dame Wintour’s selection or do you think there is a much broader scope that should have been represented and singled out in this monograph?