Friday, 4 November 2011

20 Years of Dazed & Confused Magazine

Dazed & Confused magazine embodies London's underground culture, a creative platform where fashion meets art and music. The rebellious attitude of pushing boundaries and the freedom to interpret the world without following any rules made it an iconic magazine over the last two decades.

Kate Moss photographed by Rankin, June 1998

Founded by the renowned photographer Rankin and Jefferson Hack in 1991, Dazed & Confused became a curatorial space and platform for experimentation, pushing unheard voices and new talents to the fore.

Ground-breaking photographers such as Rankin, Nick Knight, David Sims and Terry Richardson have been illustrating cutting edge fashion pages by stylists who became big names in the industry including Katie Grand, who works with Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton and Nicola Formichetti, who is Lady Gaga's fashion director.

Dazed & Confused exhibition at Somerset House

I did some work experience at Dazed & Confused magazine, many years ago, after completing my MA on Fashion Studies at The London College of Fashion. The work itself was about carrying clothes around London and trying to organise a chaotic fashion cupboard.

But what I clearly remember is the relaxed atmosphere, everyone was really laid-back and it was not possible to distinguish any kind of hierarchy by the way they treated each other. They were like a group of "mates" working together.

Tie Dy Hair photographed by Mark Pillai, December 2009

Their attitude towards fashion was also along these lines, they dressed whatever they wanted with a defiant attitude, not bothering if it matched or about what others could think, showing up to work in the most unusual outfits. 

These irreverent people represent a new wave in the British Press, bringing together figures from different fields to create original artwork.

David Bowie photographed by Rankin, 1995

From Damien Hirst to David Bowie, Björk, David Lynch, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, you could always expect bold features and images, some of them have ended up as album covers or being exhibited in a gallery.

For its 20th anniversary, Dazed & Confused is publishing a book which coincides with an exhibition at Somerset House, curated by Jefferson Hack and Emma Reeves.

Both are a record of the evolution of contemporary popular culture, immortalising the magazine's most enduring features, from legendary photo shoots and iconic covers to controversial interviews.  

Dazed & Confused exhibition at Somerset House

The free exhibition at Somerset House includes a portrait of Yves Saint Laurent after his final haute-couture show in 2002 by Juergen Teller, the September 1997 Dazed & Confused cover by Damien Hirst and striking Rankin portraits.

"Alexander McQueen brought such an incredible level of creativity to the magazine! He had lots of theatrical ideas and was a complex character." Jefferson Hack

There is also a tribute to Alexander McQueen with two contrasting rooms, one dark, ambiguous and sinister and the other light and challenging, with a collaboration between him, Nick Knight and Katie England, exploring disability and fashion, a controversial shoot that caused media outrage.

Book cover

Dazed & Confused
Making It Up As We Go Along
By Jefferson Hack and Jo-Ann Furniss
(£35, Rizzoli New York)

20 Years of Dazed & Confused
Making it Up As We Go Along
The Exhibition at Somerset House
4 November 2011 - 29 January 2012

Other fashion books:
'Erotic Chic' Fashion Images by Carine Roitfeld
A Decade of Fashion and Style
Homage to Diana Vreeland, a Fashion Icon

Other exhibitions:
Postmodernism: Style and Subversion at V&A!
New Degas exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts