To celebrate Vogue 100: A Century of Style we take a look back at the story behind one of the exhibition’s most iconic images shot by Norman Parkinson (which stars a very special Jaeger coat)...

Norman Parkinson Archive

Let us set the scene. It's 1956 and Norman Parkinson ‒ the fashion photographer of the moment ‒ is shooting model Anne Gunning in front of the magnificent City Palace in Jaipur. She is a statuesque brunette with more than just a likeness of Audrey Hepburn, and wears a sumptuous pink Jaeger mohair coat ‒ accessorised only with sparkling jewels and a sheer headscarf.

Parkinson jumped at the chance to spend a month touring India

Elizabeth Smith,
Co-Director of the Norman Parkinson Archive

Their journey to India began in November following a commission by British Vogue. “Parkinson jumped at the chance to spend a month touring India,” explains Elizabeth Smith, Co-Director of the Norman Parkinson Archive. “It was his first time there and he was enthralled by the colours and activity apparent in the streets and in the countryside,” she adds. The group (which also included Vogue Writer Penelope Gilliatt, model Barbara Goalen and his wife Wenda) spent a month travelling around the country, stopping along the way to take some of Parkinson's most memorable images, including (of course), this iconic shot. “They travelled extensively and visited much of the country’s most sacred sites. The weather was ideal and allowed Parkinson to create images which showcased the

fashion as well as giving the reader a true taste of what was then considered a truly exotic destination,” Smith continues.

At the invitation of the Indian government, Parkinson created his scene: Gunning, mysterious and beautiful, in our soft blush coat walking past a majestic Indian elephant and a parade of pink-clad palace guards. The originality, the eccentricity, the understated glamour ‒ all Parkinson signatures, and the reason he was so in-demand.

Parkinson created images which showcased the fashion as well as giving the reader a true taste of what was then considered a truly exotic destination

Elizabeth Smith,
Co-Director of the Norman Parkinson Archive

Even with such an incredible backdrop and well-dressed co-stars, it is that pink coat that steals the show. Diana Vreeland, the then editor of Harper's Bazaar, said of the image: 'How clever of you, Mr Parkinson, to know that pink is the navy blue of India'. How clever indeed.

Sliced Collar Coat

Sliced Collar Coat

£399 £299

Silk V-Neck Blouse

Silk V-Neck Blouse

£125

Crepe Pleat Shoulder Dress

Crepe Pleat Shoulder Dress

£150 £99

Draped Neckline Top

Draped Neckline Top

£89

Piping Detail Overcoat

Piping Detail Overcoat

£399

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