Growing up, in my early adolescent years, I was fascinated by old Hollywood movies. The beauty of the gowns, the lavish decors, the beautiful flawless faces, the 'lighter than air' dancing of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, the handsome debonair heroes; all thoroughly charmed me.
|Ziegfeld Girl 1941|
|Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - dancing "cheek to cheek" in Top Hat 1935|
I imagined singing and dancing my way through life as the ideal plan and could only imagine myself doing so clad from head to toe in the most perfect creations by Edith Head in person! I would live in mansions, surrounded by glorious gardens, or in a simple cottage with immaculate sheep and chicken; without a care in the world other than being wooed by dashing young men!
|The extraordinary Edith Head - fashion magician|
|Gorgeous Grace Kelly in an Edith Head creation|
|Culver Studios - Colonial Mansion|
And, saving the best for last... those wooing (forever) 'young' men...
|Just a little more Gregory - couldn't resist...|
|And ooohh... Tyrone...|
Man... do they even MAKE them like that anymore...?...
My head filled with these 'perfect' (and, of course, totally realistic - couldn't be otherwise...) fantasies in black and white, my interest quickly moved towards fashion and I would spend most of my allowance buying fashion magazines...(still do - that's one habit I haven't kicked...!) All those gorgeous clothes worn by beautiful women with perfect, perfect, perfect skin (that was a concern of mine back then - remember I was a teenager...) and again photographed in all sorts of exotic and wonderful places definitely had me dreaming...
I had discovered GLAMOUR without even knowing the existence of the word...
Fashion was one thing but what fascinated me even more was the world of cosmetics. The advertising photography was very sophisticated and the ones I preferred were the Campaigns for Estée Lauder.
The 'Estée Lauder Woman' was portrayed as a classical beauty and so were the models they used for their image, some for many years. The likes of Karen Harris (1967 - 1970), Karen Graham (1970 - 1983), Shawn Casey ( 1981 - 1983) and Willow Bay (1985 - 1987); amongst others have graced the Estée Lauder beauty campaigns with their perfect features.
The campaigns were beautifully photographed by Victor Skrebneski who was born in Chicago in 1929 and still lives and works there. The luxurious atmosphere was created through richly decorated settings, sometimes using artworks of major artists like Picasso for example.
|Karen Graham - photographed by Victor Skrebneski|
|Karen Graham - photographed by Victor Skrebneski again|
Some of this Estée Lauder glamour reminds me of iconic Hollywood stars...
|'La Divine' - Greta Garbo|
|Willow Bay - fresh and lovely with...|
|a little bit of Loretta Young...|
|and a touch of Marilyn perhaps ...|
|more femme fatale...|
|like Veronica Lake...|
|or Carole Lombard...|
|or even Lauren Bacall...|
|Willow Bay again...|
|another version of ' L'Ange Bleu' - Marlene Dietrich...|
Ok, I admit this last one may seem a little far fetched...
|but then how about... Shawn Casey, inspired perhaps by...|
|Greek Godess Grace Kelly...|
From one beauty to another...
A profile in Beauty...
A beautiful profile...
|Iconic - no caption needed...|
At about the same time I discovered a book called Scavullo on Beauty. It became my Beauty Bible ! I tried to imitate the hair styles and the makeup of the models I liked best... (In the quest for my own identity I had placed the bar unreasonably high)! I often looked like I was covered in ciment with panda eyes and 'teased to the death' hair but I was having so much fun in the process that I was totally unaffected by the look of
Francesco Scavullo was born in Staten Island in 1921 and died in New York in 2004. As a young boy, Scavullo, (he was referred to only by his last name - enough said...) was very impressed by the perfection of screen goddesses such as Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich so it was clear to him very early that he was going to make people beautiful and become a photographer. Interviewed by society reporter William Norwich, he said that he "became fascinated with the thought that you could make people attractive".
Make them attractive he did, photographing absolutely EVERYONE ! He became a major name in fashion working for all the magazines and doing countless Cosmopolitan covers in particular (remember those...?) Every model, singer and movie star wanted to be 'shot' by Scavullo (you know what I mean...) Not only did he master the cutting edge of photography using muslin filters and umbrella reflectors giving that unique skin appearance and texture in his black and white photographs, but he also happened to be a "master" at handling personalities (a definite plus when you're dealing with star egos...). Incidentally, that color fashion photograph on my banner, is an early Scavullo editorial shoot..
Here is some of that Scavullo Glamour just for for you...
|All American Beauty - Lauren Hutton|
|A gorgeous Margaux Hemingway|
|Rene Russo... see that 'ombré' along the side of the nose ...|
|Strong, smart and exotic - beautiful Bianca Jagger|
|Sublime Iman, discovered by Peter Beard, another great photographer and artist|
|And my absolute favourite at the time...|
|Incredible Jerry Hall|
So enthralled was I by all of this, I would play dress up ( and make up...) and with the help of an aspiring photographer friend, had my own 'make believe' Scavullish shoot....
ready for this... Keep in mind though I do have an excuse here...I was only 17 (or so)... actually found this picture when clearing out boxes and decided to write this post as it brought back so many memories...
This makes me laugh. I was such a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal (still am) and never ever wore makeup in 'real life' (still hardly ever do...) that I understand why this transformation game was so much fun and seeing the end result (absolutely didn't recognize myself) so exciting. What tons of makeup (check out the falsies...), good lighting, sleeping on foam curlers all night, (in a desperate attempt to 'BE' Jerry - she was also going out with Bryan Ferry at the time which was a definite plus...) can do...!
A few fashion years later, with the success of Jane Fonda's aerobics regimen and models channeling a young, sporty and healthy image (think Christie Brinkley) ; glamour was a little forgotten and it was back to jeans and t-shirts, leggings (Ugh...), leg warmers (Ugh Ugh), and other fitness gear worn with oversized jackets and american football padded shoulders. The look of the 'power woman' !
Fashion has softened up and after an attempt at Punk couture (which actually DID give us some of the looks we do wear today, believe it or not...look at KARL LAGERFELD...), glamour is back ! I WILL still be wearing t-shirts, jeans and no makeup, but will definitely attempt the occasional chic and find it fun...almost as much as when I was 17 (although I WON'T put in all that effort, or falsies... ;)))
Craig Mc Dean is an English photographer, born in 1964, who now lives and works in New York. His style and black and white photographs channel the glamour found in Skrebneski and Scavullo.
|Doutzen Kroes - Vogue April 2013|
|WOW - Kim Basinger|
Craig Mc Dean caught the eye of Aerin Lauder, Estée Lauder's granddaughter, and 'Style and Image Director' for Estée Lauder. She also has her own cosmetic, perfume, fashion and furniture collection. Aerin has asked the photographer to take a portrait of her in black and white reminding her of an image Skrebneski had taken of her illustrious grandmother.
|Aerin Lauder beautifully photographed by Craig Mc Dean|
Safe to say Estée Lauder still spells Glamour...and that a little bit of glamour can only make a woman look and feel good...
What are your thoughts ?? Are you into Glamour ? Do you find it futile ? Does it make you dream ?
I'd love to know...
A très vite...
credits:- pinterest, wikipedia, prettycleverfilms.com, theredlist.com.