Style Gavin Bond and his look backstage at fashion shows
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Gavin Bond and his look backstage at fashion shows

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Andrea Tuzio

Sunday marked the end of the super-organized and structured Milan Fashion Week, but fashion shows per se in the 1990s, did not represent a shining example of careful and precise organization; on the contrary, it was enough to dig a little into the murk to see that there was a certain amount of improvisation, at least in the back end.
What we are used to today-every detail scheduled to the second-is a good habit that is a child of contemporaneity. Things were really different in the 1990s, especially backstage at fashion shows.

Gavin Bond: Being There is the title of a wonderful book that, through photographs taken by Gavin Bond himself, tells us about the chaos, unique atmosphere, delirium and fun that characterized the most important parades of the time.

Gavin Bond is the photographer who took them and who, during the most difficult months of the pandemic, being forced like everyone else to stay indoors, rediscovered his old shots, those taken as a young man during his fashion-related studies at the prestigious Central Saint Martins, where he enrolled in 1988 along with the likes of John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, etc.

In ’93 Bond, thanks in part to the help of Jo Jones – now fashion editor for The Observer – at the time his fellow student, managed to “sneak” backstage at Vivienne Westwood’s “Anglomania” show in Paris in March of that year.

The shots taken that day ended up, both in the student magazine for which they were originally taken and in the Times. Bond was simply in the right place at the right time, but what made those photos the beginning of an incredible career was undoubtedly his uncanny ability to capture the most natural and true moments from backstage at fashion shows.

In the years that followed, he became friends with everyone: hairdressers, makeup artists, models, cameramen, DJs, stylists, assistants, journalists, and even security guards, who allowed him to stay next to the supermodels of the day (Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, etc.) when all other photographers were turned away. 

The super-exclusive access and confidence he had managed to build in the environment resulted in unique images in a style developed out of necessity, using what light was available at the time and a choice of only three apertures, depending on whether he was shooting full, figure, or face. This minimalist and immediate approach was his great fortune and his greatest insight.

In addition to the book, an exhibition dedicated to his shots, his first-ever solo show, is also being held at the Hamilton Gallery in London and will be open to the public until Oct. 29

Looking at his work, it almost seems as if we are there, that we are the photographer himself, immersed in a bubble that does not belong to us but does not chase us away but rather, engulfs us in all its small but very important and necessary facets. 

Stylephotographystyle
Written by Andrea Tuzio
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