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Cecil Beaton and Fashion

Cecil Beaton was a legendary British photographer of the twentieth century, famous for his photography for the fashion industry. He worked for Vogue and Vanity Fair magazines: made reports about social life and travel, during WWII - about the war.

At the age of 11, Beaton got his first camera as a gift. With it, he tried to repeat luxurious fashion images from postcards and magazines.

After school, he entered Cambridge, where he almost did not study but devoted himself to photography and designing costumes for the drama club. He loved to dress up in extravagant costumes and take pictures of people at parties.

He was nostalgic for the era of his childhood, the Edwardian era, so the notes of the theatricality of this time are in all his photographs.

Beaton often photographed his sisters. Two photographs of his sister Nancy were published in Tatler magazine. After that, he began working with Vogue.

Nancy and Baba Beaton, 1924, and Nancy Beaton as a shooting star, 1929:

Cecil Beaton with his sisters, Nancy and Baba, arriving in fancy dress at the Hyde Park Pageant, 1928:

Cecil Beaton’s photographs for fashion magazines (click the right arrow to view more photos):

He photographed portraits of high society people, ballerinas, fashion designers, artists, Hollywood celebrities.

Coco Chanel, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso:

Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Maria Callas :

He was friends with many celebrities. Cecil Beaton and Greta Garbo, 1951:

He was invited to photograph the royals of different countries, and since 1937 he became court photographer to the British Royal Family.

Daughter of the last caliph of the Ottoman dynasty, Abdul-Majid II, Khatije Hayriye Aishe Durryushehvar Sultan, 1940s:

Queen Fawzia with Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi and their daughter, Princess Shahnaz Pahlavi during the Second World War:

Queen Fawzia:

Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Paris, 1939:

Princess Marie Louise, 1939, Buckingham Palace:

Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace Garden,1938, and in Buckingham Palace, 1939:

Marina, Duchess of Kent, 1938:

Princess Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, 1942 and 1945:

Prince Charles and Princess Anne, 1950:

Princess Margaret in a dress designed by Christian Dior for her 21st birthday, 1951:

In 1953, Beaton became the author of the official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

After WWII, he was fond of creating costumes and interiors. For costumes and sets for Broadway productions, he won four Tony and three Oscars: Best Costume Design in Gigi (1958), Best Costume Design, and Art Direction (Color) in the film My Fair Lady (1964).

Leslie Caron in Gigi:

Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady:

The other costumes from that film:

Beaton often photographed Audrey Hepburn:

In 1972, Cecil Beaton received a knighthood and died eight years later. To this day, the photographer remains a respected person in the history of world photography, both among art critics and lovers alike. He is still relevant: photographs and books by Cecil Beaton are published, and new exhibitions with his works continue to open.

Until March 14, the State Hermitage Museum is hosting the exhibition Cecil Beaton. Celebrating Celebrity, which presents more than 100 original works of the photographer: from the archives of his studio, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the archives of Vogue and Vanity Fair.


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