• Elfrid

Photo crush of the week: Horst P. Horst


Horst P. Horst, "Mainbocher Corset", 1939

I love photo books, and this week I have a little crush on Horst's pictures. Horst P. Horst ((1906-1999) is one of the most famous fashion photographers of the 20th century, and a true master of glamour and elegance. Celebrities such as Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel and Bette Davis have all been eternalized through his lens. "Mainbocher Corset" is one of his most iconic works. It was taken in Vogue's studio in Paris in August 1939, not long before the outbreak of World War II. The contrast from the coming war's brutalities could not have been more striking. The image is a brilliant example of the idealized beauty and sensuality that embody the photographs of Horst. It also bears witness to Horst's interest for Greek art and the classical world. Just like the Greeks, Horst strived to attain absolute beauty. Unlike the Greeks though, he did not make any attempts to imitate reality. His world was instead one of dreams - an oasis of delicacy, symmetry and purity, offering the viewer an escape from reality. Back in 1939, the world was confronted with the very harshest of truths. With the war approaching, the escapism offered by the entertainment and fashion industries increased in popularity (read more here) Today the war is long gone, and we are living in a completely different society. Still, Horst's photographs live on. They are extremely popular. Maybe that is because his images still have the ability to make us dream? No matter what our challenges are, we all need an escape from time to time, after all. xx Elfrid

Sources: Museum Ludwig Cologne, "20th Century Photography", Taschen, Köln 2012 The Victoria and Albert Museum's homepages

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