Like everything else, fashion is cyclical. What trends today references styles gone by, yet invariably with some twist to make it modern and current. Much of my source imagery comes from couture fashion, and the conversation often leads to how to ensure that the poses and the dress looks contemporary instead of vintage within my paintings. When we look at fashion magazines, we can see the direct connection to the 20s or 30s (think all the Gatsby trends coming out this Summer), yet we look at these images and know that they were taken today. It comes down to the difference of styling, pose, and body type. Thin is still in, but it has taken a different shape. We now value muscle and tone so models are not as soft as they once were.

One of the women in my MFA program used to be a textile conservator and she told me how they have to be so careful in selecting the mannequins they use for each type of dress. A garment from the 70s will look inherently strange on a contemporary mannequin and vice versa because the pose and the body type do not match the dress.

I’ve begun to look closer at fashion photography taken today in comparison to those taken in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Besides the resolution of the photograph, how can the viewer determine what era the image was created? Can you tell?

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1920s 1920s2 1920s-style 1920a

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