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Leibovitz and her fashionable leading ladies

The woman that has photographed the world's biggest style icons has herself fashioned a pioneering career. Little wonder then that Annie Leibovitz was tasked with capturing the mood to launch Marks and Spencer’s new campaign.

Leibovitz and her fashionable leading ladies
Marks & Spencer

No stranger to creating striking portraits that adorn the covers of Vanity Fair and Vogue, Annie Leibovitz’s A-list portfolio has courted both praise and controversy in her depiction of today’s modern woman.  

And now she sharpens her focus on what they will be wearing this season, as part of the latest Marks and Spencer’s Autumn/Winter 2013 campaign, which is now available online for customers via its French website.

PHOTO GALLERY: Leibovitz and her fashionable leading ladies

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, Executive Director Marketing and Business Development at M&S said:  “Annie was the perfect choice to shoot a campaign of this magnitude. Her unmistakable, signature style, with its truly dramatic aesthetic was exactly what we needed to communicate the essence of the campaign and of the new M&S.”

The UK’s largest retailer is inviting customers to “Meet Britain’s leading ladies” having styled an eclectic mix of 12 respected names including Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren, Olympic gold-winning boxer Nicola Adams and Grace Coddington, Creative Director of US Vogue. 

“M&S has been completely a part of my life,” says Mirren. “When I was 13 I remember seeing a bathing suit in M&S that I really wanted so I saved up my money, week after week and I bought it and thought I was the bees knees in my M&S bathing suit!.

“I love the art of fashion. I like to mix classic pieces – and that’s where M&S is so brilliant – with pieces from other stores and second hand shops.”

Influential and inspirational, Mirren and her leading lady peers pose for Leibovitz in four quintessentially British backdrops to showcase the new season collection.

The winter coat
The female crew step on board to brave the chilly waters of London’s River Thames, wrapped in a diverse range of winter coats, from luxe fabrics in pretty pale shades to soft faux furs in animal prints.
We love this Wool Blend Large Faux Fur Collar Coat

Timeless femininity
Everyday glamour set in the lush rolling hills of the British countryside defines Marks and Spencer’s ultra feminine Per Una range, with soft tailoring and a contrasting mix of bright and muted colours.
We love these Roma Slim Leg Trousers 

London Calling
Playful for the camera but bold and rebellious in style, the scene shot in a London artist’s studio captures the essence of the London Calling trend with bold checks, relaxed wools and leather trims.
We love this Monochrome Tartan Checked Mini Skirt with Wool

Country house dressing
Sophistication and evening wear is styled in the elegance of a country house setting, presenting the pick of the collection’s dresses including the season’s must have lace-detail trend.
We love this Floral Lace Velour Panel Dress

Article sponsored by Marks and Spencer

FASHION

Paris exhibition celebrates 100 years of French Vogue

A new exhibition in Paris will tell the story of 100 years of French Vogue - from the post-war 'New Look' of Christian Dior through the sexual liberation of the 1960s to the dangling-cigarette waifs of the 2000s.

French Vogue celebrates 100 years
French Vogue celebrates 100 years. Photo: Thomas Olva/AFP

But as well as celebrating the magazine’s storied history, the exhibit comes at a time of turbulence for the publication.

Just last month, it was confirmed that its editor of 10 years, Emmanuelle Alt, was out and wouldn’t be replaced.

She was not alone.

Looking to cut costs, owner Conde Nast International has axed editors across Europe over the past year, and put international Vogue editions under the direct control of global editorial director, Anna Wintour, in New York.

New York-based Anna Wintour now has overall control of French Vogue. Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

Like much of the media industry, Vogue is struggling with tumbling sales and ad revenue in the digital era.

But the latest twist is also part of the endless push and pull between New York and Paris going back to its early days.

“The whole history of French Vogue is one of back-and-forth with Conde Nast in New York – growing more independent for a while, then being reined back in,” said Sylvie Lecallier, curator of the new exhibition, “Vogue Paris 1920-2020″, which opened this weekend after a year’s delay due to the pandemic.

The Paris edition was often the loftier, more bohemian sibling to its more hard-nosed New York version.

But it was also the hotbed in which much of 20th century style and womenhood came to be defined.

“Paris was the place to hunt out talent and content and bring it to New York,” said Lecallier.

The exhibition charts the evolution from art deco drawings of the 1920s through the erotic image-making of photographers like Helmut Newton in the 1960s and 1970s.

Its last peak was under editor Carine Roitfeld in the 2000s, who brought back a provocative Gallic identity by ridding the newsroom of foreign staff and becoming a fashion icon in her own right.

Her successor, Alt, was a quieter presence, though she still oversaw key moments including its first transgender cover star, Brazilian Valentina Sampaio, in 2017.

But internet culture has created “a perfect storm” for Vogue, says media expert Douglas McCabe of Enders Analysis.

“The first 80 years of Vogue’s life, it had the market to itself, it was the bible for fashion,” McCabe told AFP.

“But online today, there are so many other ways to get your information. Influencers, Instagram, YouTube — everyone’s a threat.”

In a world where new fashion trends can blow up around the world in seconds, it has become much harder for a monthly magazine to set the pace.

“It’s not that they can’t survive for another 100 years — but they will be differently sized,” McCabe said.

Vogue has tried to branch out into different areas, including events.

“I used to work for a magazine, and today I work for a brand,” Alt said on the eve of French Vogue’s 1,000th issue in 2019.

But the big money was always in print, and Vogue Paris sales are dropping steadily from 98,345 in 2017 to 81,962 to 2020, according to data site ACPM.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the new top job in Paris, redefined as “head of editorial content”, went to Eugenie Trochu, who was key to building the magazine’s online presence.

She declared herself “thrilled to be part of Vogue’s international transformation”.

For the curator of the exhibition, it is ironic timing.

“We had no idea it would end like this when we started work on the exhibition,” said Lecallier.

“Who knows where it will go from here.”

The exhibition Vogue Paris 1920-2020 is at the Palais Galliera in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. The gallery is open 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday and is closed on Mondays. Tickets for the exhibition are €14 (€12 for concessions and under 18s go free) and must be reserved online in advance. 

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