by Loader Wilkinson


As the couture world readies itself for two months of catwalking, we take a look at the first exhibition of renowned fashion photographer Cathleen Naundorf, presented in New York this month at the Edwynn Houk Gallery.

Global fashion doyens are gearing up for the bi-annual whirlwind of fashion weeks in Paris, New York, Milan and London during January and February.

Coinciding with the upcoming couture fest, the first exhibition of renowned artist Cathleen Naundorf is opening at the Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York. From 14 January to 27 February 2016, the gallery will display works from several of the artist’s series including “Un rêve de mode” and “L’Arche de Noé”.

Naundorf draws from a range of influences, including a mentorship with photographer Horst P Horst, as well as her background in painting, travel photojournalism, and fashion photography.

Her photographs are rich, romantic and ethereal. She works primarily in large-format Polaroid film and embraces the saturated colour and textures of the medium, using her own development process.

Naundorf developed a keen interest for the beauty and hand-made craft of the exotic during her time photographing the native cultures of Mongolia, Siberia and the Amazon in her early career. As seen in the intricate haute-couture designs of fashion houses such as Dior, Elie Saab, Philip Treacy and Valentino, and even the artist’s own analogue large-format camera, Naundorf’s photographs continually reference the antique and handmade.

Naundorf was born in Weissenfels, Germany, in 1968. Inspired by her friendship with Horst P Horst, Naundorf became Interested in fashion photography at an early stage. In 1997 she began photographing backstage at Paris fashion shows for Condé Nast, and in 2000 she began working with her trademark Polaroid and large-format cameras. From 2005 to 2011, Naundorf undertook the epic series “Un rêve de mode” for which the artist gained unprecedented access to the couturiers’ archives of fashion houses such as Chanel, Dior, Gaultier, Valentino, Saab, Lacroix and Philip Treacy. In 2012 Prestel published the series in the limited-edition monograph “Haute Couture: The Polaroids of Cathleen Naundorf”.

Since 2011, Naundorf has worked privately with Valentino Garavani on projects, including “An Italian Story” and the photo-documentation of Garavani’s collaboration with the New York City Ballet. She lives and works in London and Paris.

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