Promo: Fashion Publications from the '80s and '90s

March 5 - 26, 2004

PROMO is an exhibition and a book.

Andrew Roth will present a collection of ephemeral publications produced by the key international fashion houses in the ‘80s and ‘90s, including: Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Versace, Sisley, and Calvin Klein. Many of these publications introduced a new generation of fashion photographers such as Nick Knight, Paolo Roversi, Terry Richardson, and Bruce Weber. They were sent out or given away to a predetermined audience who generally perused and tossed them.

The concept of targeting clientele through the promotional publication comes into vogue in the mid-’80s with the catalogues created by art director Marc Ascoli and graphic designer Peter Saville for the Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto. These are extravagant book objects. They are created by a full production team consisting of: photographer, stylist, make-up artist, art director, and graphic designer. A highlight of this production team was the 64-page book issued in 1992 titled E-Z GO. It features stock photos, appropriated imagery from videos of British painter Bruce McClean and his studio, and the occasional model draped in Y’s designs.

To follow suit, Rei Kawakubo’s company Comme des Garçons issues Six (as in the sixth sense). The sumptuously printed, oversize unbound magazine issued irregularly from 1988-1991 (eight numbers in all) features works by contemporary and historical image-makers and designers with a quirky non-literal edit. For example, the table of contents for Six Number 4, from 1989, reads: Robert Frank, Arthur Elgort, Josef Koudelka, Saul Leiter, Peter Lindbergh, Mike and Doug Starn, and Issey Miyake.

PROMO, the book, published by Andrew Roth to accompany the exhibition, features essays by Hilton Als on Rei Kawakubo’s Six; Vince Aletti on Bruce Weber’s ephemeral publications; and an interview by Andrew Richardson with the British graphic designer Peter Saville. The book is issued in a limited edition of 150 copies.