Dazed & Confused; Making It Up As We Go Along

There has been a buzz amongst the fashion world pending the opening of the Dazed & Confused exhibition; Making It Up As We Go Along, at Somerset House. The iconic magazine, founded in 1991 by writer Jefferson Hack and renowned photographer Rankin celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year.

Kate Moss 

The exhibition contains highlights from the book of the same name; Making It Up As We Go Along, and charts the visual history of the magazine across three rooms from the nineties up to the present day. The publication has been known for it's experimental (and somewhat controversial) style and it's representation of counterculture. Every picture on display tells a story and what is clear about Dazed & Confused is that unlike a lot of other publications, the subject is very often not the sole focus, but rather a part of a bigger social or political ideology.

Jubilee: photography by Paulo Sutch, styling by Katy England. Oct 2000.

The early years of Dazed & Confused reflect the Britpop era when bands like Pulp and Blur dominated the charts, and indeed, magazines. The chosen settings of the photography at this time were domestic and very typically British. Certain figures are repeatedly used, highlighting their popularity at the time - Chloe Sevigny, Thom Yorke, Mila Jovovich and, of course, a stunning young Kate Moss.

Chloe Sevigny's Front Cover

The noughties room has much more colour, and less of a solely British feel, with the concentration moving from just young people representing culture, to the inclusion of elderly models and children as focuses also.
The Dazed & Confused of today is very minimalist in contrast to the last two decades with a more muted use of colour. Very often attention is only on the subject photographed and generally it is highlighted in an unusual way against a plain backdrop making it very understand yet completely beautiful and interesting.

Within the exhibition, two smaller courtyard rooms are dedicated to the late Alexander McQueen’s involvement with Dazed & Confused. There is a room solely devoted to the 1996 ‘Fashion-Able’ shoot which represented disability in a way that no other magazine had ever attempted, both then and now. The images in this room highlight McQueen’s ability in powerful social commentary and also his passion for seeking innovative ways to get a message across.

Dazed & Confused pushes the boundaries of art, culture and photography and the exhibition is a stunning culmination of their work, both as a platform and jumping off point for such exciting talent, and a place to nurture and hone creativity.

Dazed & Confused: Making It Up As We Go Along runs at Somerset house until the 29th January. Admission is free.

Sarah Goodwin
Fashion ScoutComment