Discover a Century of Fashion Photography.

Design Museum of Barcelona

Design Museum of Barcelona

No title (1902-1903) by Pere Casas AbarcaDesign Museum of Barcelona

Photography was the medium most frequently used to promote fashion throughout the 20 th and 21st centuries.

This is one of the first exhibitions to give a broad overview of the evolution of fashion photography in Spain.

It begins with the origins of the modern period of fashion photography in the early 20th century, when specialist magazines began to publish photographs on a regular basis, and continues through to the present day.

No title (1902-1903) by Pere Casas AbarcaDesign Museum of Barcelona

Photography and
Fashion before the Advent of Fashion Photography

No title (1902-1903) by Pere Casas AbarcaDesign Museum of Barcelona

At the beginning of the 20th century, Pere Casas Abarca experimented with photography in the field of advertising, taking as his starting point the new model woman who dressed in the new style of her times and adopted modern ways.

He did not take photographs with a view to promoting fashion but he did advocate the future approaches adopted by fashion photography, in which the atmosphere and the lifestyle shown went beyond the mere description of the clothing.

No title (1934) by Ramón BatllesDesign Museum of Barcelona

New Vision

No title (1934) by Ramón BatllesDesign Museum of Barcelona

In them, the first fashion photographers, among them Josep Sala, Ramón Batlles, Compal, Samuel Suñé and Antoni Ollé Pinell, used the aesthetic devices of the New Vision to illustrate articles as well as advertising by haute couturiers.

Companies such as Santa Eulalia, El Dique Flotante, Badía and La Innovación chose them to publicise their creations.

No title (2015) by Paul M. PietzschDesign Museum of Barcelona

Interiors and Exteriors

No title (1954) by HortalàDesign Museum of Barcelona

The magazine Alta Costura (Barcelona 1943-1969) showcased fashion photography in Spain.

In the 1940s, the image presented was that of a seductive and mysterious woman with character who called to mind the leading ladies of Hollywood films.

Interiors and lighting created an intense and dramatic atmosphere that enhanced the beauty and sensuality of their subjects and gave them an air of mystery, unlike ordinary models.

During the late 1940s and the 1950s, urban outdoor used settings to launch the image of a more earthly, modern, refined and active woman based on the New Look by Christian Dior.

No title (1968) by Antoni BernadDesign Museum of Barcelona


No title (1970) by UnknownDesign Museum of Barcelona

In the 1960s, a series of artistic, countercultural and urban subgroups emerged, among them Pop art, the Mods and hippies, movements that were organised by young people.

Their opposition to war and racial, social and gender discrimination radically altered the concept of fashion.

The notion of movement featured prominently in fashion photography, as well as the aesthetic of the snapshot, which revealed the movement captured by a number of photographers in the 1930s and 40s.

Six Dance Pieces for Siesta (2006) by Biel CapllonchDesign Museum of Barcelona

Stagings and Fantasies

There Somewhere (2011) by Txema YesteDesign Museum of Barcelona

Photography is traditionally regarded as one of the most realistic artistic genres due to its automatism, ability to suggest and its naturalism.

Alvaro dans le désert (2010) by Ferran CasanovaDesign Museum of Barcelona

These characteristics also make it the best medium for subverting reality.

La Cenicienta (2005) by Eugenio RecuencoDesign Museum of Barcelona

The photographers drew their inspiration from narratives associated with film and literature, in order to convey ideas and sensations and to seduce us.

No title (2003) by Daniel RieraDesign Museum of Barcelona

No title (1989) by Manel EsclusaDesign Museum of Barcelona

No title (1988) by Javier VallhonratDesign Museum of Barcelona

Identity and Difference

No title (2009) by Bèla Adler & Salvador FresnedaDesign Museum of Barcelona

Portraiture is one of the photographic practices most in evidence in fashion magazines and among the most common on social media.

Lujo de verano (1996) by Maria EspeusDesign Museum of Barcelona

Throughout much of the 20 th century, portraits as a sign of status and power predominated in fashion promotion.

No title (2010) by Esperanza MoyaDesign Museum of Barcelona

The sweeping changes that began in the 1960s made a new type of approach to portraiture possible and the image of the others started to appear.

Luxury (2010) by Carles RoigDesign Museum of Barcelona

No title (2011) by César SegarraDesign Museum of Barcelona

These photographs question established notions to do with class, sex, religion, taste and culture.

No title (2012) by Virgili JuberoDesign Museum of Barcelona

No title (2006) by Enric GalceranDesign Museum of Barcelona

Palms (2012) by Sergi JasanadaDesign Museum of Barcelona

La prisonnière (2009) by Xevi MuntanéDesign Museum of Barcelona

No title (1996) by Manuel OutumuroDesign Museum of Barcelona


L'estàtua del Fòrum (2008) by Pep ÀvilaDesign Museum of Barcelona

The urban or natural landscape, nature and artifice are concepts that have shaped fashion photography.

No title (1988) by Alejandro CabreraDesign Museum of Barcelona

Throughout the 20 th Century, New York was part of the collective imaginary as the urban landscape par excellence, as a symbol of progress, success and modernity.

Ola de color (2009) by Sergi PonsDesign Museum of Barcelona

The emergence of new theories and the green movement have prompted fashion and advertising photographers to use natural, untamed o empty spaces, lacking any temporal, cultural or social referents; landscapes that could be part of the future or the past.

Credits: Story

25.11.15 - 30.04.16
Museu del Disseny de Barcelona

Museu del Disseny de Barcelona

Juan Naranjo

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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