As a friend of mine formulated it, what is so remarkable about Norman Parkinson is that he is so fashionable even though his career as a fashion and portrait photographer spanned remarkable 56 years. The industry, especially young photographers pay tribute to Parkinson because of his revolutionary transformation of fashion photography: in a time when photo shoots’ scenes consisted of gloomy interiors he took his work to exotic locations. Models started posing in the real world. With that, ‘action realism’ was born and since then it has not left the works of many photographers, among who Monsieur Testino himself. If you don’t believe me, my advice is to head down to Chris Beetle’s Gallery, where some of the work of the remarkable photographer is exhibited and is for sale. Of course, a print by Norman Parkinson does not come cheap. But if you think about it as an investment then it is a small price that you pay for a piece of fashion history, which looks so contemporary next to the covers of all the magazines that we buy every month. As with clothes, the timeless pieces in photography are the ones that count and make an impact. Parkinson made more than that!
The Regent Lofts and Penthouses in Soho is the venue for the Brown’s Exhibition which captures the forty-year history of the store through portraits, magazine shots and designer pieces. Brown’s archive consists of remarkable fashion heritage, but one should not ignore the role of the boutique in London’s retail market. The shop on South Molton Street (off Oxford Street) was the first to introduce Missoni, Alaia, Cachrel and many more international designers to UK customers. At the moment, after having survived the appearance of designer’s own mighty flagships, the family business is concentrating on the development of the e-commerce and the introduction of more future British talents on the market. The remarkable story of John Galliano’s first collection bought entirely by Brown’s is a good example of the belief and possessiveness of Mrs. B., and has proved to be guaranteed recipe for success. Nevertheless, the success, she says, is leaving the business matters in the hands of your children and having confidence in the future generation. Let’s wish them to keep supporting new names and maybe take the business worldwide in the next 40 years.