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DRESSED LIKE MEN, ANTI CONVENTIONAL WOMEN

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Margherita Nannuzzi

In the film universe, the masculinization of female fashion invokes a kind of imaginary connected to bisexuality, and to the emancipation of women. Both fashion and films show how style and femininity change in the early 20th century. In the thirties Marlene Dietrich and Katherine Hepburn were the first women to wear trousers in Hollywood.

Travis Banton, Paramount’s Chief costume designer, designed for Marlene Dietrich some masculine suits that have become a source of inspiration for Giorgio Armani. During the filming of Morocco (Von Stenberg, 1930) Dietrich wears for a performance a black smoking and a top hat. At that time, the actress’s outfit impressed so much Gary Cooper, that he defined her “the only woman in pants and jacket looks also sexier.” Even off the set, Dietrich wore with superb elegance, suit jacket, men coat, baggy pants; articles of clothing that have helped to define Armani’s style and  that influence most women’s choices about fashion. Marlene Dietrich became symbol of the show girl, a daring woman who can lead, thanks to her charm and her body, a glamorous lifestyle; while Katherine Hepburn was the star of screwball and brilliant comedy. Her style was as much anti conventional: she didn’t wear skirts, but “Katherine’s pants” with long waist and white socks, she preferred men’s shirts and she loved the blazer. Her velvet smoking worn in Women of the year (Stevens, 1942) will inspire, twenty years on, Yves Saint Laurent’s female tuxedo.

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NINA LEEN, MASTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Posted on September 3, 2012 by Isabella Cecconi

There are many images that come to my mind when I think of masters of Photography. I don’t know why, but I always look back in times. I adore contemporary photography but to me, master is equal to past. What can I say about Nina Leen then? To start I can say that she was one of the first women photographers at Life Magazine. She was Russian-born who lived in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and lately US. Through her career as photographer she has been reporting  a surprising amount of insight into the post world war period. Housewives, working girls, fashion, Upper East Side socialites, glamorous women, mannequins.  Her work has been an interesting study on femininity,and photojournalism. A research of public versus private. When in 1945, Leen  joined LIFE, she started producing magnificent pieces of art, producing over 40 covers for the magazine. Along with her portraits of American life Leen’s photographed animals too with a unique ability to see details of the natural world in unexpected ways. Leen was modern, perfect in shooting, true and most of all ageless. Nina Leen’s  pictures portray the elegant days, the stunning glamour of a unique eye. The real beauty being captured on women in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.

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