Godfather of the catwalk

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“YOU WERE OFTEN SEEN AT THE SIDE OF THE JOURNALIST SITTING AT THE FRONT ROW” NOW, THERE IS A DEDICATED “PIT” FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS, HIGHLIGHTING THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR PRESENCE AT THESE SHOWS”.

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The iconic catwalk photographer has seen some of the fashion industry’s most memorable moments, from the captivating to the outlandish. Having been behind the camera for over 60 years, he’s seen the catwalks change radically, from the emergence of ready-towear in the ‘60s to the ‘Insta-bait’ extravaganzas of today. Moore has been very longstanding in the industry, where he has contributed for a number of publications, such as Drapers Record, Country Life as well as the glossies such as Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and even working alongside the iconic Fashion Editor Suzy Menkes for a quarter of century. Last year, Chris’ site, catwalking. com which documents his archival and contemporary photographs, was translated into Catwalking, a coffee-table book published in collaboration with fashion writer Alexander Fury which explored both the photographer’s mighty career and the changing world of fashion.

This July, Chris has brought his book to life with his exhibition at the Bowes Museum, which is a retrospective showcase of his career. Moore is keen to discuss how he entered the world of photography. What started as a hobby with his sister at the age of twelve using a Lyca Camera, developed into a passion that saw Moore leave school at fifthteen, where his father got him a job in a plate making company, which then led Moore into a photographic studio. It wasn’t until his twenties that Moore’s professional photography career took off, when he joined Vogue Studios as a photography assistant and eventually became the in-house photographer for British Vogue, working with the likes of Henry Clarke and Cecil Beaton, amongst others. By the late 50’s, Moore was the in-house photographer at the London based agency, Camera Press, where he was covering house and style before founding his very own company; Christopher Moore Ltd in 1964. Moore started out in his own right as a photographer with his first commission covering the London couture collections for the magazine, British Millinery.

Body Map S/S 1986
Body Map S/S 1986

Moore believes this was fate, an honorary doctorate from Northumbria and London College of Fashion and was exhibiting at London College of Fashion, which led to conversations about a large-scale exhibition that would showcase his extensive catalogue of work.  Moore worked in collaboration with Joanna Hashagen who is the Curator of Fashion and Textiles at The Bowes Museum, to create an exclusive exhibition of 200 original photographs chosen by Moore from his extensive archive, capturing key moments from legendary fashion shows including those at Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, John Galliano, YSL and Vivienne Westwood to name but a few.

Moore’s stated that there are many personal favourite fashion shows that he has covered over the years but one that really stood out for him was Alexander McQueen’s “Atlantis” show which he described as was an experience that changed the world of fashion. Another moment he loved was the Hussein Chalayan Spring 2007 Show, “This was the first presentation Chalayan put on at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre. I didn’t know what to expect photographically from it and also from such an expanse of sterile white, such was the stage set. But, of course, with any Chalayan show the impact is from the pieces themselves and they are shown to the camera starkly against a simple backdrop. This shot is one of my favourites, when the models turned profile and that Aeroplane dress changed shape by remote control, operated by a young boy on the stage.”

John Galliano S/S 1993
John Galliano S/S 1993

This shot is one of my favourites, when the models turned profile and that Aeroplane dress changed shape by remote control, operated by a young boy on the stage.” Moore ended the interview by saying if I was able to do this all again,

“I may not have photographed catwalk shows but all jokes aside, you must learn to enjoy your job and your life and just be kind”.