'Revisiting the Archives of Vivienne Westwood’s Café Society’
– Extract from AnOther Magazine.
One of Westwood’s most memorable collections was Spring/Summer 1994’s Café Society, which drew on late 19th century French fashion and cited the creations of the first haute couture house, Worth, and 17th century paintings of Van Dyck as an influence. Presented in Paris in October 1993, the supermodels of the moment – Christy Turlington, Kate Moss, Helena Christensen, Naomi Campbell et al – seductively swanned around the Grand Hotel in bustles and bustiers, ruffles and tassels, their hair piled high or topped off with fittingly theatrical hats.
Backstage, a 21-year old Steve Harries played witness and documenter to the scene unfolding. The result is a series of photographs capturing intimate moments amongst the hubbub of backstage and which provide a new, more personal perspective of the much-documented collection.
Now Harries is unveiling these hitherto unseen photographs to a public audience for the first time at London’s Webber Gallery Space. Here, he reflects on some of the most truly iconic images from the collection. “Revisiting the images today I feel an obvious sense of nostalgia”, he explains. “Although my work has developed over the last 20 years, the shots have a naivety and spontaneity which I love. There is a certain sensitivity that I still recognise. The experience was invaluable to me”.