While fashion itself is always consumed by what is current, cool, and trending at one particular moment, fashion photography is fairly eternal. An image from the seventies of a stylish woman is somehow still cool in the twenty first century. Part of the allure must come from the attitude of a truly stylish person–the constant confidence that can be so clearly captured in an image. A person who is well-dressed in the fifties must feel the same as a person well-dressed today, right? Fashion, beyond the basic level of protection, is about putting part of yourself on the outside, for everyone to see. Well, not exactly your entire self, a part of yourself. The part that you want the world to see.
It is very telling to see what people wear, and see what they are most comfortable in. And it is a great experience to feel as though you have found an outfit that truly reflects how you want to be perceived by the world, and what you feel is most enjoyable to wear. (There is a certain happiness that can come from clothing). I don’t think the feeling of wearing a perfectly suited outfit have changed in the last 50 years. The other attraction of iconic fashion photography is that the pictures and styles are constantly being referenced by current fashion, so they are never truly out of style. It’s hard to exactly pinpoint what is completely original current fashion that has not been done before, or is not based on earlier decades. I guess that is to say that if it was at one time stylish, it will forever be stylish, especially if captured and commemorated by a fashion magazine or photographer.
Enjoy these additions to the Library Reader Resources for Fashion Books!
Camilla Nickerson, Fashion in the Nineties (D.A.P, 1998) [TR679.F37 1998]
Arthur Elgort, Personal Fashion Pictures (A. Elgort, 1983) [TR679.E43 1983]
Susan Bright, Face of Fashion (National Portrait Gallery London, 2007) [TR680.B75 2007]
Stefano Tonchi, The First Forty Years: W (Abrams, 2012) [TR679.W25 2012]
Glenda Bailey, Harper’s Bazaar Greatest Hits (Abrams, 2011) [TR679.B35 2011]
Richard Avedon, Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 (Abrams, 2009) [TR679.A94 2009]
Sadie Hope-Gund is the Library Intern at ICP this summer for two months. She just completed her first year at Brown University, and is looking forward to writing for Monsters & Madonnas more in the coming weeks!