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Kate Moss, Adwoa Aboah, Devon Aoki or Andreja Pejic are some of the models starring in 100 Women, an exhibition held at SHOWstudio in London until the 31st of January 2019 celebrating the centenary of women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom. Curated by Bex Cassie, the show aims to showcase inspiring women and give them a voice, something they’ve lacked for years due to an oppressive, sexist system. 

The country has been celebrating the centenary of the milestone in many ways. And people working in fashion, an industry packed with female workers, couldn’t be less. Nick Knight, SHOWstudio’s founder and who’s surrounded himself with many talented and powerful women, wanted to celebrate it as well: “The team and I were absolutely determined to celebrate 100 years of votes for women. Although much has changed since women won the right to vote in 1918, there is still so far to go in allowing women to be heard”.

But how does 100 Women exactly do that? “With this exhibition, we wanted to give the greatest models – those who are so often not part of the decision of how they are portrayed in fashion imagery or indeed what they wear – the power to decide what empowers them”, Knight continues. And they’ve reacted accordingly. Models as diverse as Emma Breschi, Grace Bol, Alice Dellal, Claudia Schiffer, Slick Woods, or Soo Joo Park chose their favourite looks, from their naked bodies to Haute Couture bridal dresses and MET gala outfits, and were later reinterpreted through an illustrator’s gaze – in total, there are fifty artists, including Fréderic Forest, Alina Zamanova, and Amelie Hegardt.

But other inspirational women star alongside them: Beth Ditto, Daphne Guinness, Kali Uchis or Hannah Rose (from Matières Fecales) are other strong, powerful voices that need to be heard. “I feel so empowered when I am in lingerie. As humans, nudity is our truest form”, says Uchis; “I feel most empowered when I have no fear”, says Hannah. And the models? “The empowerment in the image I chose [by Thurstan Redding] really comes from within. Although I do love to dress up, the way I feel inside is truly what counts”, says Adwoa; “I get terrible stage fright, but when David Bowie asked me to accept his Brit Award, I knew that wearing his original playsuit from the ‘70s would give me the confidence I needed”, states Kate Moss.

But is there a more iconic image by Nick than Devon Aoki’s portrait? – which later inspired Björk’s Homogenic cover and even Alexandra von Fuerst’s reinterpretation for METAL 37. “There’s no other picture that could take the place of this one for me. Our team… you, Nick, and how you’ve always treated me. You’ve also been so kind and looking back I’m grateful to you for that. Shooting this, I felt comfortable and beautiful – weird but still me. I remember liking the fact that the makeup was so subtle and didn’t cover my freckles. I don’t think I could have predicted how far this image has travelled that night in the studio”, the model affirms.
The exhibition 100 Women will be on view until January 31, 2019, at SHOWstudio, 22D Ebury Street, Belgravia, London.

Arnau Salvadó

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