Tim Walker, Lily Cole and Giant Camera (2004)

Tim Walker, Lily Cole and Giant Camera (2004)

In 1984, Irving Penn commented that he saw his role at Vogue as ‘selling dreams, not clothes’. Selling Dreams is the first touring exhibition from the V&A’s Collection to explore the work of international fashion photographers and to draw together such a broad range of important historic and contemporary fashion images. The exhibition includes approximately sixty works by more than twenty major fashion photographers, as well as original magazine spreads from publications such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. The photographs reflect key themes in fashion photography throughout the past hundred years.

Although varied in their practices, the photographers featured in Selling Dreams share a vision that goes far beyond a simple recording of fabrics and surface detail. The exhibition charts how the medium flourished with the rise of illustrated magazines and how influential editors and art directors such as Alexey Brodovitch, Alexander Liberman and Diana Vreeland collaborated with photographers to shape generations of style throughout the past century. Exposing the medium’s evolution and the fascinating dialogue between fashion photography and fine art photography, this exhibition is beautiful and scholarly, glamorous and insightful.

Kids can pick up an activity sheet to colour and complete on their way around the exhibition - just ask at Reception for a free copy and coloured pencils.

Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography is organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

V&A logo

The V&A is home to the UK’s National Collection of the Art of Photography. The Collection comprises over half a million works including many hundreds of fashion photographs by international names such as Edward Steichen (1879-1973), Irving Penn (1917-2009), Richard Avedon (1923-2004), Helmut Newton (1920-2004), David Bailey (b.1938) and Tim Walker (b.1970). Through displaying the greatest highlights from the Collection and many rarely exhibited works, this touring exhibition explores the range of approaches to fashion image-making, from the earliest years of the twentieth century to today.

The exhibition is kindly supported by Bristol Fashion Week - The Mall at Cribbs Causeway.

BFW logo


Mother's Day Vintage Afternoon Tea
Sunday 18 March 2012, 2-5pm, £15

Paper Doll workshop
Saturday 14 April 2012, 10am-12noon, normal admission

Find out more about the exhibition by downloading an Exhibition Briefing

Exhibition: 9 March - 29 April 2012

Admission prices