Thursday, May 8, 2008

Favorite Photograph

Do you have a favorite image? Perhaps something that sums up your aesthetic tastes in one equisite photo or painting? Well, I do. It's a photograph of models in Charles James couture gowns taken by one of my icons - Cecil Beaton.
Charles James was a couturier's courturier who championed the 'New Look' along with Dior, just less commercially and more exquisitely (exquisite is the word of the day, folks!). Cecil Beaton was a tastemaker, artist, author, photographer, designer from the mid 20th century, best known for his set and costume designs for such movies as Gigi and My fair lady. Pair them together and you have 2 of the geniuses of the 20th century working together! It's so odd that most of my favorite designers (and characters, they were all odd!) were friends. In this huge world they found each other to share ideas with. How lucky!

I love the fact that these models are seen relaxing before a fashion show in a BEAUTIFUL room in beautiful gowns. They're having tea, fixing their hair in the mirrors and chatting: they're LIVING in beauty GLAMOROUSLY.
I especially love the color version of this as it has that TECHNICOLOR glow -so much better than REAL color. The black and white images is also beautiful but doesn't capture quite everything for me. The most memorable part of this famous photograph for me is the model off on her own in the background on the far left side. You get a glimpse of her looking into the mirror; a private moment. She is eyeing the photographer and through him, us, the viewer. She seems to be saying ' oh, just leave me alone'. She had no idea she would live on for history in this really insignificant moment during her life.

I've looked for a quality hard photo of this image for years to frame, but haven't found one in my price range (they range from 4-6k!!! for a copy of a photograph!!). One day, one day...

7 comments:

Marie Louise said...

I used to work in the fashion industry and I loved when photographer would do group photos like this. Quite often Vanity fair has Annie Lebowitz shoot a cover that folds out and has a group of 10 or 12 people posing. Not quite the "salon" setting you have here. I do love this photo as well. Absolutely sublime!

Be the change..... said...

I love those Annie Lebowitz group cover shots on Vanity Fair (one of my favorite magazines!). Those are entirely artificial but nonetheless elegant!

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

I think you mean Charles James, though one can see the Freudian connection to Henry James.

Be the change..... said...

UGH -you're right HoBaC!! Thats what I get for writing a post at midnight! I'll fix it now! how embaressing!

Pigtown-Design said...

http://coterieblog.blogspot.com/

i did the header for her holiday season posts.

Be the change..... said...

What a small world :-)

Kathrin said...

Oh hello - been searching out this image for a new theatre piece I am devising slowly for myself - this pic was one of the prompting devices for a solo show I did in 1996 at Melbourne Fringe - I had some of the women within enlarged to over life-size, mounted and cut out, on stage with me. They have graced various living rooms as I have moved around ever since - they now find themselves in the Victorian Goldfields of Australia. I modelled costumes on them for 1996 show as well - three of us on stilts, wearing our "charles james" dresses, made out of silver foil under and bubble wrap over - gliding hautily down Brunswick Street Fitzroy (with giant silver spoons to keep our balance) - like ghosts from the 30s / 40s. So nice to find this image replicated and - loved. Cecil Beaton and fashions of that era rock. The show I am thinking about now goes from these frocks back to Victorian times - think mourning and ballroom combined. Love it! Cheers, Kathrin (Campbell's Creek, Australia)