Norman Parkinson's Century of Style: the best bits

As a retrospective of his work gets under way, we pick our favourite images by the father of modern fashion photography

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'Any photographer who surrounds himself with a studio is doomed,' said Norman Parkinson, whose work is the subject of a very stylish retrospective at the National Theatre. Parkinson was the man who shook the dust off staid fashion photography by placing his models in, for the time, unlikely settings.

Parkinson's 'Century of Style' exhibition reveals how, from his early work in the 1930s until his death in 1990, Parkinson pioneered many of the things we're used to seeing in the glossy magazine shoots today – like exotic locations and odd props. 'I like to make people look as good as they'd like to look, and with luck, a shade better,' Parkinson said. We say 'hats off to him'.

Browse through this good-looking bunch of photographs

  • Fashion models

    Corbis/© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

    Fashion models wear a variety of hats on the roof of the Conde Nast Building against a view of the New York skyline, 1949

    Fashion models
  • Katherine Pastrie

    © Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

    Katherine Pastrie modelling a Bernard Devaux Hat

    Katherine Pastrie
  • David Bowie

    Corbis/© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

    David Bowie, 1977

    David Bowie
  • Adele Collins

    Corbis/© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

    Adele Collins wearing a red hat

    Adele Collins
  • Model posing for British Vogue

    Corbis/© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

    Model Posing for British Vogue, 1951

    Model posing for British Vogue
  • Maggie Smith

    Corbis/© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

    Maggie Smith, 1970s

    Maggie Smith
  • Model wearing a hat

    Corbis/© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

    Model wearing a Legroux Soeurs Hat, 1952

    Model wearing a hat
  • Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall

    Corbis/© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

    Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, 1981

    Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall
  • Ava Gardner

    Corbis/© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

    Ava Gardner for Vogue, 1953

    Ava Gardner
  • Norman Parkinson

    Corbis/© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

    Norman Parkinson poses for a self-portrait for Esquire Magazine, 1985

    Norman Parkinson

Fashion models

Corbis/© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

Fashion models wear a variety of hats on the roof of the Conde Nast Building against a view of the New York skyline, 1949


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