The National Portrait Gallery and Christy Turlington Burns Celebrate Vogue’s Tonne Goodman
In the days before leaving Manhattan for Washington, D.C., Goodman confessed her nervousness. “I’m not used to 250 people,” she said. “The Met [where she had her last book signing] was much more intimate.” At last night’s soiree—an elegant cocktail party and conversation hosted by Portrait Circle cochairs Bobbi Smith and Henry L. Thaggert III—the buzz of excitement and adoration swelled as hundreds of guests poured into the Foster + Partners–designed Kogod Courtyard.
With her honeyed hair swept behind her shoulders, Goodman, whom Diana Vreeland famously described as pulling “together perfect bones and proportion in an aristocrative [sic] manner,” recalled her exceptional career with gratitude and joy. The body of work on showcase in Point of View captured a golden age not only for fashion publications but also for the art of photography, which Goodman calls “magic.” When pressed to describe the transition into the digital age, Goodman succinctly described it as “much faster.”
Goodman’s frequent collaborators include Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier, Bruce Weber, Peter Lindbergh, Mert & Marcus, and, more recently, Tyler Mitchell. “All of them,” she writes in her introduction, “extraordinary talents.”
The pictures, when viewed together, form a record of America and its changing face. Goodman’s myriad of subjects include first ladies (Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump), movie stars (Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson), singers (Courtney Love, Madonna, Britney Spears, Adele, Beyoncé), and, of course, models.
Although Gigi, Kendall, and fellow social media swans feature in the book, the earlier supermodels—Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Gisele Bündchen, and Kate Moss—dominate picture after picture. Their faces and figures, as molded by Goodman and her retinue of artists, influenced the taste of a generation.
Describing her attraction to Goodman’s photographs, Randi Levine, a National Portrait Gallery commissioner and member of its Collection Committee, said, “These women and images had a sense of style and mystery that laid the foundation for my love of fashion.”
After guests enjoyed Champagne and hors d’oeuvres, Christy Turlington Burns, in a jumpsuit that glittered like wet ink, shared the stage with Goodman, one of the model’s early supporters. CNN’s Dana Bash, sporting electric blue platforms, served as moderator to their riveting repartee, filled with humor and insight.
To Goodman, the process of making an image remains fiercely personal. “Christy was my mother in several pictures,” Goodman smiled. “Sometimes she didn’t even know it.”
Near the end of the evening, the National Portrait Gallery announced the six honorees for its November gala: scientist and Nobel Laureate Frances Arnold; entrepreneur and philanthropist Jeffrey Bezos; rock band Earth, Wind & Fire; business executive Indra Nooyi; Pulitzer Prize–winning performer Lin-Manuel Miranda; and Goodman’s longtime friend and editor at Vogue, Anna Wintour.