On Friday 11 February, as part of the National Portrait Gallery
s programme of late openings, Late Shift, in partnership with FTI Consulting
, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk
will unveil the new Rankin portraits as part of their latest campaign to broaden the range of body and beauty ideals in our media.
The images will be displayed as part of a tour running throughout the Gallery with each sitter wearing designs by British greats: Dame Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson, Giles Deacon, Hussein Chalayan, Alice Temperley, Betty Jackson, Antonio Berardi and Osman Yousefzada.
Starting alongside the earliest Tudor portraits and ending in the 20th Century galleries, the tour will take in soundscapes exploring themes of beauty, identity and celebrity such as Queen Elizabeth I accompanied by a Vivienne Westwood soundtrack on the magic of power dressing. Other portraits in the Gallerys Collection which will accompany the Rankin portraits include Lady Colin Campbell, Dame Anna Neagle, Queen Victoria, Mary Wollstonecraft and The Queen.
All Walks Beyond the Catwalk was formed by fashion commentator and former BBC Clothes Show presenter Caryn Franklin, fashion consultant Debra Bourne and model Erin OConnor to expand upon the rigid beauty ideals the fashion industry presents, and is actively changing the curriculum in colleges and universities to help the next generation of fashion designers and image makers engage with the need for emotionally considerate design and practice. The All Walks models are aged between 18 and 80, and range in size, in complete contrast to current catwalk ideals.
To highlight the work of the campaign, Erin OConnor will take part in a panel discussion at the Gallery during the evening, chaired by Caryn Franklin, on the subject: Has Fashion Imagery become the lens by which we evaluate identity? The panel will also include Lorraine Candy, Editor of ELLE Magazine, and Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister of Equalities and co-founder of Body Campaign, as well as psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos.
The Late Shift Rankin Tour will be accompanied by a printed commentary enabling visitors to look at Rankins portraits in relation to the portraits in the Gallerys Collection. Written by the three founders of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, the tour will draw from insights provided by Professor Aileen Ribeiro of Somerset Houses Courtauld Institute, a leading expert in the history of dress.
Rankin says: I wholly admire and support the endeavours of the All Walks Beyond the Catwalk campaign. As a photographer, I am constantly confronted by perceived ideals of beauty. The models, actors, musicians, and real people who I see down my lens are all influenced by an oppressive world of unattainable physical goals. I always work hard to break through the artifice and capture something unique, original and beautiful in each of my subjects. Interest and creativity is not about perfection but quite the opposite; beauty comes from our idiosyncrasies.
Masterclasses in fashion illustration will be given by London College of Fashion tutors, while live models from the All Walks Catwalk will pose for a room of artists ranging from professionals to those who want to try their hand for the very first time.
An all female DJ line up will include Loren Platt (of Work It girl fame), while artist in residence Josephine Chime will exhibit a series of specially commissioned interactive artworks.
Caryn Franklin, Debra Bourne and Erin OConnor, founders of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, say: This is a chance for visitors to hear and experience a different voice from the heart of the fashion industry and, like the multitude of silhouettes and garments our industry both designs and promotes, beauty is also individual. Its not restricted by race, shape, age or size.
Erin OConnor takes part in her first Late Shift Extra having launched the Late Shift programme of late night openings at the Gallery last year. She has given her personal endorsement to the Late Shift, which the Gallery runs every week from 6pm-9pm on Thursday and Friday nights. Thanks to the support of FTI Consulting, this is the first time the Gallery has been able to present such an ambitious late-opening events programme.
Erin says: Late Shift is a brilliant way to encourage people to explore the arts in the evening. Every Thursday and Friday visitors can enjoy free talks and music and a great atmosphere over a glass of wine - as well as brilliant exhibitions and regularly changing displays. The Gallerys central location makes it perfect for evening and after-work audiences who might not normally be able to enjoy everything the Gallery has to offer.