With designers Diane von Furstenberg, Prabal Gurung, Zac Posen, Vera Wang, and Milly’s Michelle Smith as the curators, most people who turned out for last night’s launch of The New York Times’ Fifty Photographs collection assumed they were at Bloomingdale’s to see fashion snaps. Instead, guests at the exhibition, for which the designers culled ten photos each from the Times archive for a sale benefiting the CFDA, faced a much richer assortment: a few fashion shots, yes (like those picked by Wang, who included two runway shots and a photo depicting an army of mannequins), but also images of natural landscapes, vintage and recent images of New York City, and historic moments.
“I wasn’t going to limit myself to selecting only fashion pictures. I chose the pictures that simply jumped out at me,” says Gurung. Of course, look a little deeper and you could still see the fashion designer within come out. Among his choices, Gurung picked the 1969 View of Astronaut’s Footprint in Lunar Soil (below) and a photo entitled Ballet Slippers (above left)—both, in a sense, footwear shots. (Though Gurung, revealing his romantic nature, said that it was the dancer’s “I Love You” ankle bracelet that sold him.) Smith went for the physical material of fashion, choosing an image of silk strands gathered into what appears to be an enormous ponytail. “I was so surprised that it was taken here, in New York, not that long ago,” she admitted of the 2004 shot. Surprised and pleased, that is. “They still weave silk here!” she added.
The Fifty Photographs collection ($169 to $699) is on sale at The New York Times store, with a percentage of the proceeds benefiting the CFDA, and can be viewed online at Fiftyphotos.com.