The Nineties never looked so good: Gavin Bond goes behind the scenes at couture

Words by
Sphere Editors
Photography by
© Gavin Bond, Courtesy of Hamiltons Gallery.

28th September 2022

Hamiltons Gallery presents British photographer, Gavin Bond’s first solo exhibition Gavin Bond: Being There until 29 October 2022, offering a glimpse backstage at some of the 90’s most iconic fashion shows.

Claudia Schiffer at Versace Haute Couture by Gavin Bond

Gavin Bond: Being There delves into the photographer’s archive, showcasing countless notorious  fashion ‘moments’. Bond rediscovered this extensive collection of images during lockdown 2020; they  took him back to when he was a young fashion student at the prestigious Central Saint Martins. In 1988,  Bond enrolled at CSM, alongside notable alumni John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney,  Hussein Chalayan, Giles Deacon and legendary stylist Katie Grand. As a fashion student, Bond was  invited to attend London Fashion Week, it was here that he got unfettered access to dive head first, with  his camera, into the wild world of backstage fashion shows.

Linda Evangelista at Versace Haute Couture by Gavin Bond

Bond was soon attracting the attention of key fashion editors. Marion Hume of The Independent, became  an early and on-going champion, commissioning his engaging backstage shots for shows in Paris and  Milan as well as London. John Wolford, arranged for him to shoot backstage at Vivienne Westwood’s  ‘Anglomania’ show in March 1993. He was backstage again to shoot at the presentation of Westwood’s  celebrated Spring 1994 ‘Café Society’ collection. The punk queen turned grande dame of British fashion  liked Bond’s pictures so much she used a montage of them to produce a promotional fold-out poster  that became, as Bond says, ‘a great calling card’.

Yasmeen Ghauri Christian Lacroix by Gavin Bond

To capture the action backstage Bond kept his technique simple, he shot quickly and unobtrusively  using only available light. The shallow depth of field served effectively to capture what was going on in  front of him may that be a fleeting glimpse of the designer or a flurry of dresses as the models marched  down the runway dressed in Gucci and Galliano, Lagerfeld and Lacroix, Valentino and Versace. In order  to work fast, he limited his exposure options adjusting only the aperture according to the distance. He  recalls how each roll of film only had 12 frames so every shot had to be considered. 

Christy Turlington Vivienne Westwood couture by Gavin Bond

Bond was able to document, with his own distinct reportage style, this remarkable period of pop culture,  fashion history and what was the era of the Supermodels – Carla, Cindy, Christy, Claudia, Kate, Linda,  Naomi, and their memorable sisterhood. His unique insight into the exclusive world of high fashion saw  him to contribute to publications such as Vanity Fair, Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire & Rolling Stone. A regular  contributor to British GQ for whom he has shot over 35 covers. Bond now finds himself in the world of  entertainment photography, capturing marketing & publicity campaigns for all the  major film studios worldwide.  Hamiltons’ exhibition features a unique ‘grid’ comprising of approximately 50 gelatin silver prints arranged  to emulate the feeling of ‘being there’ backstage. This incredible installation will be paired alongside a  election of large format gelatin silver prints which are on view for the first time. 

The exhibition Gavin Bond: Being There will run from 15th September to 29th October 2022 at Hamiltons  Gallery, London. 

Linda Evangelista Vivienne Westwood couture by Gavin Bond