The SCAD Museum of Art is honored to share the artwork of iconic fashion photographer Bill Cunningham with the exhibition "Grand Divertissement à Versailles, Vintage Photographs by Bill Cunningham." Featuring exclusive images from the 1973 fashion show "The Battle of Versailles," the exhibition showcases Cunningham’s unique perspective on this epochal event in fashion history. Having made indelible contributions to fashion journalism for more than a half-century, Cunningham is remembered reverentially as staff writer and photographer for The New York Times.
"The Battle of Versailles" saw five preeminent French designers (Marc Bohan of Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro) present collections alongside five important American designers of the time (Bill Blass, Stephen Burrows, Halston, Anne Klein and Oscar de la Renta) to raise funds for the restoration of King Louis XIV’s palace in Versailles, France. Before a 700-person audience of the world’s social and artistic elite —including attendees Princess Grace, Liza Minnelli, Josephine Baker and Andy Warhol — "The Battle of Versailles" established American fashion houses as an innovative, important counterpoint to the traditionalism of French design.
This showing of Cunningham’s 65 historic images and an original program — on loan from the private collection of Nancy North, a model in the famed fashion show — illustrates the moment that American design houses became the international arbiters of style and celebrates the glamour and excitement of the day.
Exhibition overview from museum website