Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

Vogue Dazzles through the Decades

February 10th, 2016
National Portrait Gallery, London

Don’t miss 100 Years of Vogue opening tomorrow at the National Portrait Gallery. Whether it’s fashion, art, celebs or all of the above that grabs you, this show is guaranteed to please, a real eye-catching humdinger. Each British Vogue cover, and there are more than 280 of them,  tells  a story about the time when it was shot, history captured through an artist’s lens.

A princess is mourned.


The legendary Alexander Mc Queen watches us as we remember him.

From a sensible glove-wearing model posing next to wartime rubble to a champagne sipping trio clad in black-tie by an LA pool, these images – chronicled decade by decade – inform as well as delight.

Photographers tapped into the current mood in Britain and then went wild, or not. This demure 1943 Vogue cover offers tips on homemade Christmas presents,  boosting wartime morale on the home front.


A decade later times are easier, Norman Parkinson shoots fantasy and opulence in Jaipur…


 People want style. They need romance, they need beautiful women in beautiful and provocative surroundings,” said Parkinson.

The show includes all of  Corinne Day’s controversial grunge shots of an unknown 19 year-old waif wearing mismatched underwear. Hello Kate Moss. From a young Queen Elisabeth to a young Madonna to a not so young Vivienne Westwood, it’s all here.


The inspiring exhibition reminds us that it’s important to dream, to let our imaginations run wild and see what happens.  This photo is by Nick Knight using Diwali powder paints.


February, 2016