Exhibition: Vogue 100

The National Portrait Gallery celebrates 100 years of British Vogue

A major photography exhibition has opened to celebrate a century of British Vogue.

Held at the National Portrait Gallery, Vogue 100: A Century of Style features more than 280 archive prints, which together explore each decade since the magazine started in 1916.

The exhibition includes works by photographers such as Helmut Newton, Cecil Beaton and Norman Parkinson, with subjects as diverse as Francis Bacon, David Beckham and Marlene Dietrich.

British Vogue was founded in the midst of the First World War. When the conflict rendered shipments of American Vogue impossible, the magazine’s publisher Condé Nast authorised a British edition to be printed.

The magazine quickly became a success, acting as a mirror held up to contemporary style and culture. In these early days, British Vogue incorporated a highbrow literary element within its pages, commissioning writers such as Virginia Woolf and Aldous Huxley. It even reported on the Second World War, sending the American photographer Lee Miller to follow the 1944-1945 Allied advance through France and Germany.

In the 1960s, British Vogue became a go-to for the latest trends from Swinging London. In the decades since, the magazine has remained at the cutting edge of photography and design, carving out its own identity distinct from that of its American cousin. Often regarded as more commercial than other Vogue titles, it is now the most profitable British magazine in the world.