The 90’s photography scene is becoming ever-more popular, from simple Instagram filters that give your images a retro feel, to the resurgence of the Polaroid camera (who’d have thought it?!). Photography in the ‘90s was all about fun and experimentation, and with ’90s influences emerging across the creative industries, it is no surprise that a new and exciting exhibition of 90’s photography at Kunstpalast Düsseldorf (Accompanying the exhibition, Prestel-Verlag is publishing a richly illustrated catalogue with the visual appearance of a coffee table book) is now getting a lot of industry buzz, mainly because of its iconic curator, Supermodel Claudia Schiffer.
Just as your Instagram feed was becoming saturated beyond repair with the same old regrammed and reblogged images of fashion editorials torn from dusty 90’s magazines, one of the original supermodels, Claudia Schiffer, takes readers on a personal photographic journey through fashion’s most illustrious decade – the 1990s – in the new coffee-table book, “Captivate!” published by Prestel on November 30th in the US. The exhibition is also not to be missed and will be at Kunstpalast Düsseldorf from Sep 15th until January 9th, 2022.
But it’s not just any 90’s photography that caught this curator’s eye, Claudia was drawn to authenticity, rich colours, raw beauty, and always something extra that you can’t quite put your finger on. You can think of it as a finely-tuned inspiration book or a visual stream of fashion references, that brings together for the first time legendary fashion photographers including Arthur Elgort, Corinne Day, Ellen von Unwerth, Herb Ritts, and Richard Avedon, and supermodels including Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss and Claudia Schiffer herself.
We reached out to Claudia Schiffer for a couple of personalized questions:
Q The 90’s are considered the “golden age of fashion”, what do you think made this period stand out from the rest? Was it the models? the photographers? the style?
The 1990s was an extraordinary period which witnessed the rise of a culture of style, the birth of the supermodel and fearless creativity. Young designers, photographers, stylists and art directors, as well as hair and makeup artists emerged and fundamentally changed the way we view fashion and design. As a first-time curator, I also wanted to encapsulate the vision of fashion that helped captivate and shape the perspective of a generation.
There was an incredible merging of fields across fashion, music, art and entertainment and that made the era dynamic, exciting – the impossible became possible. I really wanted Captivate! to capture the visual experimentation and freedom of expression. Campaigns also became a valued part of visual culture and fashion photography was an ‘idealising vision’ and a new, democratic art form.
And the fashion! Wearing a Chanel jacket with vintage jeans, body con Alaia dresses and sneakers, Marc Jacobs’ grunge or a Helmut Lang suit – it was high/low mix that was individual, fun and cool. Above all, there was innovation and experimentation. That’s hard to beat and it really resonates with now when so many young creatives are collaborating and doing things – building from the ground up.
Q Does this current exhibition you’ve curated include any unseen or unpublished materials that we haven’t seen before? What were you especially looking for when you went through the archives?
Yes, the show is about fashion photography in the 1990s and great images do ‘captivate’ the imagination and become part of the pop consciousness. Since the beginning of my career, I have collected fashion images and worked and learned from true masters – Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Peter Lindbergh included – and my personal collection forms the basis of the exhibition. I rediscovered this material when I embarked on the curator journey and from my personal archive, I have included 90s Polaroids from my first test shoots and a great self-portrait with Helmut Newton who I had the honour of working with on many occasions.
Captivate! Fashion Photography From the ‘90s will be at Kunstpalast Düsseldorf from Sep 15th until January 9th, 2022. For more information and for pre-ordering the accompanied Hardcover book by PRESTEL ART please visit: www.kunstpalast.de