Corinne Day – Face of Fashion

“Corinne Day (b1965) is a British photographer whose influence on the style and perception of photography in the early 1990s has been immense. As a self taught photographer, Day brought a more hard edged documentary look to fashion image making, in which she often included biographical elements. Day is known for forming long and close relationships with many of her sitters (most famously Kate Moss), which have resulted in candid and intimate portraits. The most notable of these being the photographs of Moss in the 3rd Summer of Love editorial for the FACE magazine in 1990. Days approach as illustrated within the lifestyle and fashion magazines of the 1990s, came to be known as grunge and grew into an international style.

In 1993 Day photographed Kate Moss in her own flat for British Vogue. In the context of a fashion magazine the images appear to have a documentary feel about them and when published caused a certain frisson of discomfort.

Unfortunately Corinne was diagnosed with a slow growing, grade 2 brain tumour called an Oligo Astrocytoma in November 1996 at the Bellevue hospital in New York, after which Corinne returned to London for brain surgery at the Whitechapel hospital in December 1996. The surgeon and oncologist then gave Corinne a prognosis of 8 years left to live. Corinne was not expected to live past 2004. However Corinne outlived this prognosis by over 6 years, passing away in 2010 instead of 2004.”

Kate Moss, Kate’s Flat 1993


As an aspiring fashion photographer, I was excited to finally see a fashion photographer pop up in my contextual studies lecture. We were looking at Corrine Day’s “Face of Fashion” photo series, and how it shows the dark side of the fashion world. On first impression looking at the series, you immediately notice the dull and depressing colour scheme, giving the photos a feeling of sadness. There is a sense of vulnerability and loneliness in the photos, suggesting the exploitive ways of the modelling industry.

I was especially drawn to the photo of Kate Moss above, mainly because of my obsession of colour within photography. Out of all the photos in the series, I think this one looks much more cheerful. One reason for this is, as I have mentioned before, the colour. The fairly lights behind Kate also add to the mood, with fairly light mainly being associated the happy time of Christmas. However, when looking at the emotion presented on Kate Moss’s face you can clearly see that she isn’t in the Christmas spirit. There also is a certain sadness is Kate’s face, maybe because of her lack of money at the time, or because of the modelling lifestyle bringing her down. But little did she know, being only 16 at the time, that Days photographs would land her that “big break” that she desperately needed. A feeling of vulnerability is also presented in this photograph; with Kate only being 16, she’s exposing a lot of herself in such a revealing vest and the “barely there” underwear. I think Days intention with this photograph was to depict the struggle that young models experience when trying to make it in the industry, and just how hard they are willing to push themselves to get there.


3 thoughts on “Corinne Day – Face of Fashion

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