In Vogue: The V&A’s Horst Exhibition

The V&A is currently celebrating the dazzling 60 year career of one of the leading fashion and portrait photographers of the 20th century – Horst P Horst.

Displaying over 250 photographs taken by the master photographer, we couldn’t wait to visit The Horst: Photographer of Style exhibition and can definitely say it is a must-see. The exhibition starts with the black and white photos from his early days working in Paris learning from star photographer at French Vogue, Huene. He went on to have an incredibly successful career himself, shooting a whole host of Hollywood’s most glamorous stars from Marlene Dietrich to Bette Davis, and counted Coco Chanel as a close friend. Described as “a master of light and shadows” by V&A Curator Susanna Brown, his photographs showed off clothes brilliantly and he enjoyed a long career with Condé Nast, mostly in New York.

horst exhibitionHorst directing a fashion shoot with one of his first muses, Lisa Fonssagrives, in 1949

Known for being wonderfully charming, Horst was hugely popular with his muses, models and fashion friends, as demonstrated by the adoring handwritten notes displayed at the exhibition. He even used Edna Chase, the editor of US Vogue, as the contact on his army tags during the second world war.

One of the first photographers to master the new colour techniques of the 1930s, Horst created more than 90 Vogue covers and brought to life countless magazine pages in vivid colour. The brightly lit gallery of Horst’s images for Vogue is certainly a highlight of the exhibition.

horst exhibitionLeft to right: 1. Dress by Hattie Carnegie, 1939  2. Muriel Maxwell, American Vogue cover, 1 July 1939 3. Summer Fashions, American Vogue cover, 15 May 1941

One of his most famous photographs, however, was a black and white photograph named the Mainbocher Corset which featured in Vogue and went on to become one of the most iconic fashion images of all time, even inspiring Madonna’s 1990s hit ‘Vogue’.

horst exhibitionCorset by Detolle for Mainbocher, 1939

Horst: Photographer of Style runs until 4 January 2015 at the V&A. For more information, visit

Why not be inspired by Horst’s Vogue images and get that glamorous cover girl look with our fabulous new season looks here.

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