On Site review
back issues

34: on writing

33: on land

32: weak systems

31: mapping | photography

30: ethics and publics

29: geology

28: sound online

28:sound links site


27: rural urbanism

27:rural urbanism online


on site 26: DIRT onlineonsite 25: identity online

onsite 24: migration onlineonsite 23: small things online

read onsite 22: WAR online

On Site 22: WAR has sold out in the print version, but you can read it online

read onsite 21: weather online

read onsite 20: museums and archives onlineonsite 20 individually archived articles

onsite 20:museums and archives has sold out in the print version, but you can read it online

read onsite 19: streets onlineOn Site 19 has sold out in the print version, but you can read it online.

onsite 19 individually archived articles

read onsite 18: culture onlineonsite 18 individually archived articles

onsite17 individually archived articles

« equinoctal weather | Main | the scale of a skirt »

the uses of luxury

Cecil Beaton. Vogue models in Charles James gowns in the ornate interior of French & Co, New York, 1948. Conde Nast Archive/Corbis

1948, a pointed demonstration of postwar elegance: Charles James evening gowns in one of the salons of French & Co, New York art dealers.  This tableau is meant to correct any sense that the rough levelling of society during the war was permanent.   It is like any sort of suppression, when the lid is lifted all that had previously been denied explodes in a kind of hyper-reality.  It is not the women who are desirable,  we hardly see their faces, it is the heavy satins and the room itself that are almost erotic in their complex, elegant ripeness.  

2012, Dior couture, photographed in a small grey corner, wrinkled grey flannel on the floor.  No mise-en-scène here, other than a possible insistence on luxury in the 1%  and who might, possibly, wear such dresses. The women are like flowers, their dark heads like stamens, the black eye of the pale poppy.  They are close, they break the frame of the photograph, they are defiant. 

Patrick Demarchelier. Dior Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 2011

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>