See a Photographer’s Dreamy Visions of Couture

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Dior couture from summer 2012 in L’arche de Noé XVIII. Photo: Cathleen Naundorf

The scenes that photographer Cathleen Naundorf concocts to photograph couture are so atmospheric, at first glance, they appear to be images of holiday window displays. Paired with the hazy saturation of Polaroid film, the effect is altogether dreamlike — and given the surreal amount of labor goes into making a couture garment, entirely fitting.

Naundorf was born in the same small German town the legendary Vogue photographer Horst P. Horst, a contemporary of Irving Penn and Cecil Beaton. After she called Horst one day out of the blue to tell him so, he became her mentor, and they spoke everyday on the phone for years. While Naundorf has also done her share of photojournalism, her fashion photos show Horst’s influence most clearly, using light to make her images almost sculptural. You can see a selection for yourself next week at Edwynn Houk Gallery, which is also Naundorf’s first show in New York. Click through the slideshow for a preview of those Polaroids, featuring full-scale gowns by Dior and Elie Saab and custom hats by Philip Treacy.

“Cathleen Naundorf” is on display at the Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York City from January 14 through February 27.