Books

Fashionable look at Avedon

For more than half a century, photographer Richard Avedon built visual masterpieces around couture.

Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 spans seven decades of the artist's work, highlighting his ongoing collaborations with models and designers. The clean geometry of Avedon's images — his ability to find grace in everything from opulence to elephants — gives this collection surprising breadth.

Divided by decade, the book traces his evolution as an artist, from the 1950s photos that use Paris as a backdrop to the later studio images that shun sets in favor of a clean white background. Photographers will love the reproductions of Avedon's contact sheets, complete with grease-pencil crop marks. And while some of the photos feel ultra-choreographed, others — including an image of model Dorian Leigh, a vision in pearls, bunny ears and extended tongue — seem to capture unrehearsed moments.

Venturing from Twiggy to Kate Moss, Dior to Givenchy, Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 is a well-heeled walk through some of the most arresting faces and to-die-for fashion of the 20th century. The book is a joint project of Abrams and the International Center of Photography in New York, where a retrospective of Avedon's fashion photos runs through Sept. 6.

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