Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Lillian Bassman: The New Female Spirit

I always feel a bit sad when you only acknowledge someone when they have died, but better than never at all I suppose.
 My friend Susie sent me an article from the Sunday Telegraph magazine about the photographer Lillian Bassman, and although I recognised her haunting misty prints of underwear I hadn't realised the extent of her documentation of the new undergarments women were taken to wearing at the end of the Forties and the Fifties to shape the fashionable Dior NEW LOOK silhouette.

This new underwear smoothed any lumps and bumps and cinched in the waist to emphasise the bust and hips. Girdles, basques, uplifting  bras and full petticoats were all captured by Bassman in all their beautiful soft focused glory.

What is all the more amazing is that we nearly lost these images  when in New York 1971 Lillian Bassman decided to throw away all her photographs over her frustration with the fashion industry. Thankfully she wasn't completely successful and two bags remained, a selection of which are on display at the Donna Karan store in London W1 until 11 July. 

The exhibition coincides with a book focusing specifically on Lillian Bassmans Lingerie  photographs which is published this month. It is visual testament to how she captured not merely this new style but also a new female spirit and, as she put it, ‘a feeling of a woman being intimate with her own body’.

Lillian Bassman died on February 13, 2012, at the great age of 94

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...