Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923–1937 at the AGO

September is going to be amazing for photography and fashion. The AGO is presenting Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923–1937. It’s complementary show to the ROM’s Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008.

On George Baher's yacht
On George Baher’s yacht: June Cox wearing unidentified fashion; E. Vogt wearing fashion by Chanel and a hat by Reboux; Lee Miller wearing a dress by Mae and Hattie Green and a scarf by Chanel; Hanna-Lee Sherman wearing unidentified fashion, 1928 Gelatin silver print Courtesy Condé Nast Archive, New York © 1928 Condé Nast Publications

From September 26, 2009 to January 3, 2010, the Art Gallery of Ontario will host an exhibition that proves glamour never goes out of style. Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923 –1937 presents 200 beautifully preserved gelatin silver prints from the Vogue and Vanity Fair Condé Nast Archive and brings them to Canada for the first time.

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“Black”: Model Margaret Horan in a black dress by Jay-Thorpe, 1935 Gelatin silver print Courtesy Condé Nast Archive, New York © 1935 Condé Nast Publications

Edward Steichen’s black-and-white fashion and celebrity images defined glamour in the 1920s and ‘30s, and they still do today. As the chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair, Steichen filled the pages of Condé Nast’s flagship magazines with brilliant and unforgettable images — transforming fashion into high art as he photographed the collections of leading houses such as Poiret, Chanel, Lanvin, Grès and Schiaparelli. He immortalized hundreds of luminaries, from writers and artists to politicians and actors — including George Bernard Shaw, Noel Coward, Martha Graham, Amelia Earhart, Charlie Chaplin, Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford.

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Actress Mary Heberden, 1935 Gelatin silver print Courtesy Condé Nast Archive, New York © 1935 Condé Nast Publications

Accompanying the exhibition is a 288-page publication, Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923 –1937, by William A. Ewing and Todd Brandow (Minneapolis: FEP Editions, 2008) – with essays by Musée de l´Elysée director William A. Ewing and curator Nathalie Herschdorfer, ICP curator Carol Squiers, and Kunsthaus Zurich curator Tobia Bezzola. Softcover retails for $70 at shopAGO.

By Anita Clarke

Anita Clarke is an Engineering Storyteller and the founder of the fashion blog “I want – I got.” She was one of the first and most prominent online fashion writers in Toronto and Canada.