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The Guardian: Backstage pass: Harry Benson's New York fashion thrills

André Courrèges with models, Paris, 1977

Ralph Lauren looking through a peephole, Donna Karen doing some last-minute fiddling, Vivienne Westwood fixing a hat … the Scottish-born photographer caught the golden age of American fashion

Ralph Lauren backstage, 1983

Benson, who celebrated his 90th birthday last month, is best known for photographing the Beatles and for having been a witness to many of the major political and social events in modern history. This exhibition shows a lesser known side to his career: the fashion world. Harry Benson: Behind the Scenes is at Staley-Wise Gallery, New York until 25 January. All photographs: Harry Benson/courtesy Staley-Wise Gallery, New York

Donna Karan and Louis Dell’Olio for Anne Klein, New York, 1982

Benson worked for many of the industry’s biggest names, including Halston, Ralph Lauren, Bill Blass, Geoffrey Beene, Oscar de la Renta, Galanos, Mary McFadden and Donna Karan, as well as European greats such as Yves St Laurent, Madame Grès, Pierre Cardin, Courrèges, Valentino, Armani and Vivienne Westwood

James Galanos, Los Angeles, 1985

Halston with models Alva Chinn, Chris Royer, Karen Bjornsen, Nancy North, Carla Araque, Pat Cleveland and Shirley Ferro, New York, 1977

Vivienne Westwood, Paris, 1993

The exhibition includes intimate behind-the-scenes shots of fashion houses preparing for the runway, the work rooms, as well as the designers at work and at home

Anna Wintour, André Leon Talley and Patrick McCarthy, Paris, 1993

Benson captured some of the industry’s most influential journalists

Jean Shrimpton, Bryant Park, New York, 1968

Born in Glasgow, Benson first travelled to the US with the Beatles in 1964 and began working for Life magazine in 1967. This shot of the British supermodel was taken during British fashion week at the first fashion event ever held in Bryant Park

Calvin Klein with Shaun Casey, Patti Hansen, Lisa Taylor and Janice Dickinson, New York, 1978

Iman in Oscar de la Renta, New York, 1977

Valentino, Rome, 1988

Diana Vreeland was editor-in-chief at Vogue from 1963 until 1971 and then consultant to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Giorgio Armani and Ashley Judd, New York, 1996

Yves St Laurent and his muse Loulou de la Falaise (foreground), Paris, 1973

‘A good photograph can never happen again,’ says Benson. ‘To me, that’s what photography is – a glimpse, and gone forever’

André Courrèges with models, Paris, 1977

Donna Karan, Louis Dell’Olio and Karen Bjornson for Anne Klein, New York, 1982

‘If you gaze at these photos for a while, you can almost hear the dialogue – they’re that evocative!’ said Benson

Ralph Lauren backstage, 1983

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