My Review of the Irving Penn exhibit at Fraenkel Gallery in the San Francisco Examiner

If today’s fashion world pushes a narrow concept of beauty — tall, thin, young, more thin — 70 years ago that concept was even narrower, as the tall, thin young girls in the magazines also had to be white.

For several decades and 150 Vogue magazine covers, Irving Penn worked within these confines to produce images iconic for their beauty and graphical power. Compositions uncluttered by props, and frugal with color (usually black and white) left the simplest and most arresting elements for the eye to focus on: the sweep of a ruched sleeve, the black grid of netting against white plains of skin, the neck as long as the waist, the waist as slender as the neck.
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

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