Thursday 2 November | 6–8pm
Louise Dahl-Wolfe worked with some of the greatest fashion models of the 20th century. The images that resulted have endured across time. But the stories of the models themselves have largely gone untold. Taking three of Dahl-Wolfe’s most important muses and lifelong friends — Liz Gibbons in the 1930s, Betty Threatt in the 1940s, and Mary Jane Russell in the 1950s — this talk will explore how notions of beauty changed across the photographer’s long career, and examine the critical contribution models make to the creation of the fashion image. Drawing from unpublished memoirs and personal correspondence, the talk will also offer a new perspective on the photographer’s own fascinating life story.
John-Michael O’Sullivan is a fashion writer with a special interest in the worlds of mid-century modelling, photography and publishing. He is a regular contributor to The Observer and Esquire, and edits the biannual menswear magazine Article. He is currently writing a biography of Barbara Mullen, one of the most successful fashion models of the Fifties, which is being crowd funded through the publishing platform Unbound.
The event starts at 6pm with a glass of wine in the Museum foyer and opportunity to view the Louise Dahl-Wolfe exhibition. The talk follows at 6.15pm for 6.20pm in the Fashion Studio and lasts for approximately one hour including an opportunity to ask questions. Ticket includes admission to the exhibition and guests are welcome to view this before or after the talk.
Price £15 / £12 students includes a complimentary drink and exhibition entry.
Images: Louise Dahl-Wolfe: A Style of Her Own published by La Fábrica.
All photographs © 1989 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.
Pages 102-103 featuring Mary Jane Russell wearing Balenciaga hat by Louise Dahl-Wolfe. ‘The Big Hit, the Little Hat’, Harper’s Bazaar, October 1951.
Pages 242-243: Jean Patchett photographed by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper’s Bazaar, January 1953; Mary Jane Russell by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper’s Bazaar, April 1953.