Fairplay

  • Looking at Matisse, Museum of Modern Art, 1939Louise Dahl-WolfeCollection Staley Wise Galley. ©1989 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.
  • Liz Gibbons as Photographer, 1938Louise Dahl-Wolfe Collection Staley Wise Galley. ©1989 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents
  • Opening Day for Trade Buyers, Dior’s,1946Louise Dahl-WolfeCollection Staley Wise Galley. ©1989 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents
  • Night-Sailing Coats, 1955Louise Dahl-WolfeCollection Staley Wise Galley. ©1989 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents
  • Suzy Parker by the Seine, Costume by Balenciaga, 1953Louise Dahl-WolfeCollection Staley Wise Galley. ©1989 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents
  • Suzy Parker in Dior Hat, Tuileries, Paris, 1950Louise Dahl-WolfeCollection Staley Wise Galley. ©1989 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents
  • Twins at the Beach, Nassau, 1949Louise Dahl-Wolfe Collection Staley Wise Galley. ©1989 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents
  • Harper’s Bazaar Cover, June 1953. Jean Patchett Fashion: Shorts and short square jacket by ClarePotter at the Alhambra, SpainLouise Dahl-Wolfe©1989 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents. Courtesy: Terence Pepper Collection

Louise Dahl-Wolfe: Photography Through The Ages

LONDON, ENGLAND – “Revival of the Basque,” an unforgettable Harpers Bazaar photo shot in 1947 against the wartime destruction in Paris, features a model wearing a fur trimmed, brocade Balmain theater dress. In stark contrast, and with a jovial kick in her step, the model was captured sashaying in front of bombed debris caused by the Nazi attack of World War II as if to convey “life will go on.” Born in 1895, trailblazing female photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe lived through two world wars and shaped the evolution of fashion publishing for the better with her thought-provoking photography well suited for any print publication of her time or the times in which we live.

At the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, about 100 of Dahl-Wolfe’s works will hang on display until January 21st 2018.

Among them are iconic photos of “Twins of the Beach” and raw photos of early Hollywood stars in their younger years like Bette Davis and Vivien Leigh.

Other special features of the exhibit include her photographs featuring the work of Christian Dior. In celebration of the house’s 70th anniversary, the French mansion showcased a small selection of original Dior gowns — mostly garden party dresses from the 1950s and 60s.

The exhibit illustrates how Dahl-Wolfe started her career as a intellectual student at the San Francisco Art Institute, whose first great works include her self portrait lounging naked, backside up on a velvety bed.

After her mother died in a car accident, she traveled to Europe and made her mark as a professional photographer in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where she captured the racial inequality and poverty of the Great Smoky Mountains. She became a staff photographer for Harper’s Bazaar in 1936 where she worked closely with legendary editors like Carmel Snow and Diana Vreeland.

At the time, fashion photography was still in its infancy and innovative photography as defined by how one used natural light and forayed into the world of color photography.

Dahl-Wolfe’s work was defined by her penchant for scouting and depicting independent women who travel, read, go to museums and read and paint.

Early models like Suzy Parker, Jean Patchett, Barbara Mullen, Mary Jane Russell and Evelyn Tripp were among her subjects — she is also credited with discovering film star Lauren Bacall. Her memorable outdoor shots included sets in the deserts of North Africa, Spain, muslim meccas Kairouan and Hammamet, Cuba, as well as Spain, France and Italy — another sign of how lucrative fashion media once was and how fat their travel budgets were. One striking example of how Dahl-Wolfe used architecture to frame a front cover is her 1953 portrait of Jean Patchett, wearing Givenchy, in the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.

Whether she was working in fashion or for a newspaper like the San Francisco chronicle, Dahl-Wolfe’s photos reacted to and reflected the times she lived in and gave the viewer/reader a deeper point of view. Perhaps she summed up her life’s work best in her own words:

“There weren’t really fashion photographers, just artists like Steichen, who just happened to do fashion photography.”

   

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

LONDON, ENGLAND – “Revival of the Basque,” an unforgettable Harpers Bazaar photo shot in 1947 against the wartime destruction in Paris, features a model wearing a fur trimmed, brocade Balmain theater dress. In stark contrast, and with a jovial kick in her step, the model was captured sashaying in front of bombed debris caused by the Nazi attack of World War II as if to convey “life will go on.” Born in 1895, trailblazing female photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe lived through two world wars and shaped the evolution of fashion publishing for the better with her thought-provoking photography well suited for any print publication of her time or the times in which we live.

At the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, about 100 of Dahl-Wolfe’s works will hang on display until January 21st 2018.

Among them are iconic photos of “Twins of the Beach” and raw photos of early Hollywood stars in their younger years like Bette Davis and Vivien Leigh.

Other special features of the exhibit include her photographs featuring the work of Christian Dior. In celebration of the house’s 70th anniversary, the French mansion showcased a small selection of original Dior gowns — mostly garden party dresses from the 1950s and 60s.

The exhibit illustrates how Dahl-Wolfe started her career as a intellectual student at the San Francisco Art Institute, whose first great works include her self portrait lounging naked, backside up on a velvety bed.

After her mother died in a car accident, she traveled to Europe and made her mark as a professional photographer in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where she captured the racial inequality and poverty of the Great Smoky Mountains. She became a staff photographer for Harper’s Bazaar in 1936 where she worked closely with legendary editors like Carmel Snow and Diana Vreeland.

At the time, fashion photography was still in its infancy and innovative photography as defined by how one used natural light and forayed into the world of color photography.

Dahl-Wolfe’s work was defined by her penchant for scouting and depicting independent women who travel, read, go to museums and read and paint.

Early models like Suzy Parker, Jean Patchett, Barbara Mullen, Mary Jane Russell and Evelyn Tripp were among her subjects — she is also credited with discovering film star Lauren Bacall. Her memorable outdoor shots included sets in the deserts of North Africa, Spain, muslim meccas Kairouan and Hammamet, Cuba, as well as Spain, France and Italy — another sign of how lucrative fashion media once was and how fat their travel budgets were. One striking example of how Dahl-Wolfe used architecture to frame a front cover is her 1953 portrait of Jean Patchett, wearing Givenchy, in the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.

Whether she was working in fashion or for a newspaper like the San Francisco chronicle, Dahl-Wolfe’s photos reacted to and reflected the times she lived in and gave the viewer/reader a deeper point of view. Perhaps she summed up her life’s work best in her own words:

“There weren’t really fashion photographers, just artists like Steichen, who just happened to do fashion photography.”

   

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.