Corinne Day – A small tribute

Corinne Day, the iconic fashion photographer who created famous early images of Kate Moss, died last week from a brain tumour. She was just 45 years old.

Corinne created a whole range of famous, some would say infamous images of Kate Moss in the early 1990’s that changed the face of fashion photography and concepts of feminine beauty forever. At the height of the supermodel/superficial age, she stripped back fashion and beauty to its basics – harsh lighting, little of no make up, scrapped back hair and stark backdrops.

Her first Vogue cover featured a stunningly beautiful image of Moss stripped of all artifice. I sought out this cover on Ebay last year (I was a broke student when it first came out!) and was still struck by how fresh it looked. Kate looked almost alien like in comparison with the Cindy’s and Claudia’s who were in Vogue at that time, an otherworldly creation.  However, the images created at this time featuring Kate in tiny pants and vests surrounded by fairy lights in what looked like a squat, caused major controversy and Day did not work for Vogue for over 10 years after this.

I watched a bbc documentary about Day a few years ago, and she seemed a little bit bitter about the way the fortunes of the photographer and her muse had diverged. Kate had gone onto Hollywood and Johnny Depp, to Calvin Klein and fashion immortality, whilst Corinne had to fight hard to recover her respectability and standing in the world of high photography.

Corinne Day deserves to be remembered as a trailblazer for realism in fashion. Look at the photographs of Kate that were used in the Face of Fashion exhibition. They show a real person – perfect in her imperfections.

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