Thursday, October 21, 2010

Put Some Chris in Your Dior!

Some Chris Von Wagenheim that is!

Savoir Faire just loves the great fashion photographers of the 70’s and 80’s, such as Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Chris Von Wagenheim.

All photographers had a very similar pseudo erotic style which can seem to be sexually intimidating, but hey these were the days of hedonism and excess. Wangenheim’s world is a dark one, combining sexuality, violence and voyeurism, which somehow come together with visual elegance, which is unique to his work. All these things are subtle as in his work for Dior; however they are there in the background causing us all to look twice.

By the mid 1970’s the fashion side of Dior under the directorship of Marc Bohan was languishing and had reached an almost middle class sensibility. It was a good solid house that symbolised good taste. Not so on the licensing side of things, where accessories such as sunglasses, bags, scarves etc were the must haves, as the Dior logo took precedence over all others. The cosmetic division under the directorship of Serge Lutens was also pushing the boundaries with highly artistic advertising copy and colours.

The series of advertisements for Dior accessories used strong visual references plus clever puns on words to create a campaign that stood out for its innuendo. They were secretive and mysterious with a heightened sense of expectation as if the models were caught in a moment wondering what was going to happen next. I remember as a teenager whenever seeing the Dior ads in magazines etc, thinking how glamorous and grown up they were, and clipped them out for future reference and I still have them.

Aspects of his work are still referenced by photographers, artists and pop stars today. In the Dior Addict campaign of the early 2000’s you can see these references.

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