Provocative, sometimes shocking, Newton’s work tried to capture the beauty, eroticism, humour – and sometimes violence – that he sensed in the social interaction within the familiar worlds of fashion, luxury, money and power.
We used to say of Yves Saint Laurent that his creations had empowered women. The same could be said of Helmut Newton, who was long intimately involved in YSL’s approach, and that was no accident. Nude or in a dinner jacket, Newton’s women are powerful, seductive and dominant – never icy but always impressive or even intimidating. They are liberated women who take full responsibility for the freedom of their bodies, timeless and unclassifiable, open to all fantasies. They are rich women, who have conquered the world and its money, and luxuriate in refinement, from evening gowns to bed. Luxe, classe et volupté could be the motto of the Newtonian woman. When Newton published A World Without Men, he formulated the visionary expression of a society in which women had gained enough power to do without men if need be.