Peter Lindbergh “From Fashion to Reality” Kunsthalle München – until August 27th, 2017
As a teenager living in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, I dreamed of living in a world like Christy, Cindy, Linda and Naomi. They lived the life of glamour I’d read about in Cosmopolitan like “How to Apply Mascara in a Taxi Without Poking Your Eye Out” (only apply at stoplights).
I knew theirs was a world of designer clothes, the perfect high heeled shoe, photographers, celebrities, writers, actors and models.
I sought a world where people attended gallery openings, museum exhibitions, an artistic community that made art and fashion and influenced the world of beauty and expression.
Fashion magazines transported me into this world. I saved my babysitting money to buy coveted clothes from The Limited. I also regularly purchased my other favorite indulgence, Vogue Magazine. I anxiously waited until mid August for the September Issue, the manual for the Fall season. I carried the two inch thick volume to the pool with me, careful not to splash water on its glossy pages, and studied each page, mentally noting which colors, shoulder cuts, skirt and sleeve lengths were highlighted for the upcoming season.
Peter Lindbergh’s photographs graced many of these pages. Walking into his exhibition at the Kunsthalle München was like greeting dear, old friends at a party. Here were the ladies who captured my attention on the pages of Vogue. I especially remember the ‘Wild Ones’, with the models wearing Versace biker outfits, lined up on a Brooklyn street with the Manhattan Bridge in the background.
Mr. Lindbergh’s images are not just photos of women modeling clothing. They are portraits, searching into the soul of the individuals before his camera. He references Dorothea Lange and August Sander, photojournalistic portrait artists of the 1920s and 1930s.
Mr. Lindbergh’s work also serve as documents of his subjects, in capturing their emotions, inner lives, what they are thinking at that precise moment their guard is down and their true being revealed and captured on film.
The models were no longer nameless figures wearing designer clothes, but rather became recognized by their names, and first names at that. Mr. Lindbergh helped make the supermodels.
The exhibition at the Kunsthalle München transported me back to the Ohio girl inside me, memorizing the designers, labels, clothing and accessories displayed in Vogue, like walking through a portal of beauty, style and elegance.
I reflected that years after studying Vogue by the pool in the suburbs of Columbus, I would be that woman in a taxi rushing to a client to check the condition of a valuable photograph that had been damaged in transport. I was the woman retouching my Rouge Noir lipstick before pulling up to the client’s Midtown skyscraper.
I love the knowledge that fashion continues to produce and inspire, with geniuses like Mr. Lindbergh documenting, preserving and leading the way.