COLUMN: One of the last forgotten heroes

Monday, 13 January 2014
Photographs published in the French edition of "VOGUE", US "Harper‘s BAZAAR", "Junior Bazaar" and "Mademoiselle". Portraits of Lauren Bacall, Albert Einstein, André Breton and Salvador Dalí (among many others). Last but not least, a unique cycle of portraits of different photographers. From old masters like Walker Evans, Martin Munkácsi, Horst P. Horst, to photographers at the start of their career, such as Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. The credits for these fascinating images go to german photographer Hermann Landshoff. Never heard of him before? Neither did I, before I went to the exhibition "Hermann Landshoff: A Retrospective" in the Münchner Stadtmuseum. Apparently, he is one of the last great photographers of the 20th century who fell into oblivion.

Rediscovering Hermann Landshoff
Landshoff covers a wide spectrum with his work, from fashion, to portraits and even architecture. As a son of a jewish family, he was forced to flee Europe in 1940. He ended up in New York and devoted himself entirely to fashion photography. The exhibit even showed an original letter from legendary Harper‘s BAZAAR editor Carmel Snow, addressed to Landshoff. His work definitely captures the spirit of his time and features a large amount of unique pictures. Even Richard Avedon, known as one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, felt strongly inspired by Landshoff. He admitted "I owe everything to Landshoff".

It is unaccountable to me, how someone like Landshoff can fall into oblivion. It is time for him and his work to be rediscovered.

British Fashion Awards
Now let me raise an issue that caused a little stir in december: 19-year old boyband member Harry Styles winning the British Style Icon Award against supermodel Cara Delevigne, David Beckham and the Duchess of Cambridge. As expected, a lot of people couldn‘t stop nagging that he doesn‘t deserve it. I have to admit the competition is not quite fair when Directionners have a say in the matter (believe me, I have a 13-year old hopeless case back home). Still, I believe it is not so wrong he won the price, considering the criteria: “The British Style Award recognises an individual who most embodies the spirit of British fashion and is an international ambassador for London as a leading creative fashion capital.”

Fashion icons and ambassadors
As a regular at London Fashion Week, Harry Styles brings a lot of attention to british fashion and british designers (he has over 18.000.000 followers on Twitter). Especially a younger public suddenly shows interest for the new Burberry collections and even the British Style Awards. That way, British fashion gets closer to a new generation that will be decisive in the future. Besides, Styles style (no pun intended) stands for the good british clothing tradition, which is not about showing off or attracting attention at all costs. It stands for quality and perpetuity. In that sense, Harry Styles‘ being the new British Style Icon and an important future ambassador for British Fashion, is not as absurd as some may think. Maybe all the grumbling critics should reconsider their point of view.

Apropos British Fashion: guess who designed the ballet costumes for the worldwide broadcasted New Year concert in Vienna this year? Legendary Vivienne Westwood. Now she is an ambassador!

Nadja Herscovici, AMD Munich