Philip Treacy and Norman Parkinson brings together two of the world's leading figures in their fields. United in their passion for hats, the works of Treacy and Parkinson are also comparable in their combination of beauty, glamour and wit. Both figures helped redefine and revolutionise their respective genres.
Norman Parkinson (1913-1990) was one of the most influential photographers of 20th century British fashion. In a career that spanned seven decades, he captured some of the greatest icons of the 20th century including Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor.
His innovative style transformed the static posed approach to fashion photography and invested a sense of movement, glamour and humour to the genre. Revolutionary in their playfulness and wit, his colour photographs mark a turning point in the genre of fashion photography.
"Photographers like Parkinson were what inspired and educated the world about beauty," says Treacy. "They captured an era and transformed the world of fashion photography."
Treacy's role in the fashion world has been no less pivotal. Since his graduation from Royal College of Art in 1990, he has led the way in forward-thinking millinery and become arguably the UK's leading designer of haute couture and ready-to-wear hats. He has been awarded the title of British Accessories Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards no less than five times.
The exhibition at Eleven features eighteen hat photographs by Parkinson, all of which have been chosen by Treacy. Works on show date from 1937 to 1980 and explore the development and variety of Parkinson's long and exciting career, while illustrating his lasting influence on the genre of fashion photography.
Works range from early black and white fashion shoots that encapsulate the sophistication of the 1940's to strikingly modern colour photographs that capture the opulence and seductiveness of the 1980's.
Marlene Dietrich performing at the Café de Paris in 1955 and supermodel Iman's first fashion shoot for Vogue in 1975 are just some of the historical events celebrated in the exhibition.
The largely black and white images are complemented by a selection of striking hat sketches by Treacy, which have been inspired by Parkinson and created especially for the show. The linear drawings give an insight into the craftsmanship that lies behind Treacy's material designs and capture the glamour and elegance of his completed masterpieces.