Man Ray, Coco Chanel, 1935

Man Ray and Seb Emina

Man Ray, Coco Chanel, 1935, Fondazione Marconi, © Man Ray 2015 Trust / Adagp, Paris 2020

What's not celebrated enough about the fashion industry is that for all its manifold flaws it's one of the great crucibles of creative work, one of the last places where you can earn a good living simply through the deployment of imagination, the creation of art. It has its excessive and unlovely sides, no question, but how we'd miss it if it wasn't there. I find these Man Ray images thrilling exactly because of their commercial context, this meeting of the artist's eye with the glamour structure of high fashion. And beyond that his work always resonates because of the life behind it. He didn't just invent an entire visual vocabulary but dreamed himself into being as well, this famous surrealist named Man Ray. We're all going to have to do a lot of self-reinvention these coming months and years. Who knows what art, fashion and magazines will have to become? We'll see.

Mr Seb Emina, Writer, Editor-in-Chief of The Happy Reader


Read the other tributes

Man Ray and Fashion
from 23 September to 17 January 2021