Editors’ Letter

John Singer Sargent’s Lady Agnew of Lochnaw graces the cover of our winter issue. Dressed in a flowing white tea gown embellished with a mauve silk sash, she meets the viewer’s gaze directly. It’s an unusual pose for portraits – both then and now – but for a fashion magazine, it’s a killer image. Lady Agnew, original cover girl, circa 1892.

This famous portrait will sit at the heart of Sargent and Fashion, a new exhibition opening at Tate Britain in February that presents Sargent as a painter whose influence on fashion has been felt from the late 1890s to the present. ‘There is now a class who dress after pictures,’ as one contemporaneous author put it, ‘and when they buy a gown ask, “will it paint?”’ Substitute ‘paint’ for ‘photograph’, and the same could easily be said of the fashion-conscious today.

On page 54, expert fashion journalist Sarah Mowerturns her eye to these portraits of gilded-age high society, as well as to the radical set who ‘might have walked straight out of a very recent Alexander McQueen or Prada show’. Elsewhere, curator Midori Yoshimoto describes a memorable encounter with fashion icon Yoko Ono and appraises her transformative participatory artworks that you will soon be able to experience at Tate Modern (page 32).

We are also delighted to introduce Mx Mavis, the alter ego of our new ‘agony artist’, Ajamu X. Mx Mavis will be on hand to offer creative-minded advice, including how to navigate your biggest art crush (page 110).

You might have noticed that this issue has arrived a little earlier than usual. We have shifted to quarterly – which means one more Tate Etc. every year. See you again in the spring!

Tate Etc.


    The Beautiful Blue

    Miriam Cahn’s painting counters simplistic narratives of the migrant experience and grants the viewer imaginative space to practise empathy, writes …

    Redrafting the Real

    Writer and photographer Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa examines the convergence of the factual and the staged in Deana Lawson’s portraits, now on …

    Taste Etc: Ruth Rogers

    Pressed chocolate cake for Philip Guston

    'Danger concentrates the mind'

    Anne Bean recalls the perilous process behind an iconic series of photographs

    Choose Your Own Adventure

    Yoko Ono often invites audiences to participate in simple acts of the imagination or more active encounters with her artworks …

    Agony Artist: Dear Mx Mavis

    Introducing Mx Mavis, Tate Etc.’s resident ‘agony artist’. In the first of a new series, they help solve some of …


    We talk to the artist about his multidisciplinary work, which explores the history of diaspora and imagines new possibilities for …