Fashion Photographer Brian Duffy Helped London Swing

Fashion photographer Brian Duffy, who died on this day in 2010, abandoned his career—and fame and fortune—in 1979 for a life of obscurity. But for nearly 20 years he, along with friends David Bailey and Terence Donovan, helped London swing. The three men were coined the “Black Trinity” photographers, and together they documented the fresh, kicky, kooky world of fashion, music and sex through the 1960s and 70s, shooting models, musicians and celebrities in what have become some of that era’s most iconic images. At some point along the wild ride, Duffy became a bit of a celebrity himself. But in 1979, the photographer abruptly set fire to his entire collection of negatives and slides, quit his profession forever, and didn’t shoot another picture for nearly 30 years. Given that most of his photography was destroyed, Duffy’s images were largely forgotten. That changed in 2009, when his son, Chris, resurrected his father’s legacy and curated the first exhibition of Duffy’s work, one that included new images with many of his former subjects. Duffy died less than a year later. See a slideshow of Brian Duffy’s fashion photographs and watch Duffy: The Man Who Shot the Sixties, a documentary of his work, after the jump. Read More »

The King of Pop Throws Down the Rhinestone Gauntlet

Before Bieber’s bangs, Kurt’s plaid or Madonna’s bra, music’s greatest style statement was Michael Jackson’s single, sparkling glove. On this day in 1983, Jackson introduced his one-glove look (and a little dance move called the Moonwalk) while performing on “Motown 25,” a television special airing on NBC. Jackson had only agreed to take part in a Jackson 5 reunion for the program if he could also perform a solo of “Billie Jean,” the second single from his Thriller album that was currently enjoying its seventh week at number one on the pop charts. Jackson performed a medley with the Jackson 5 and, after his brothers exited the stage, added a black fedora to his soon-to-be-famous short-pants-with-sparkly-socks ensemble. He tossed the hat early in the song, but the image of him with it tipped into his gloved hand became a MJ trademark as much as the gravity-defying backward glide did.

In Moonwalk, his 1988 autobiography, Jackson recalls he was sure of two things that day: He was going to Read More »

Watch Out, World, Here Comes Diane von Furstenberg

Before the ubiquitous wrap dress, before the CFDA lifetime achievement award and the multi-million dollar luxury brand, Diane von Furstenberg was just a newbie designer making sales calls from her living room. OK, she wasn’t just any newbie designer, she was Princess Diane von Furstenberg through her marriage to German Prince Egon von Furstenberg in 1969. The 23-year-old Belgian and her husband had recently moved to New York City, had a baby and quickly became a fixture in the society pages, thanks to her good looks and great fashion sense. But von Furstenberg wasn’t one to rest on her title. When the New York Times profiled the princess on this day in 1970, she Read More »

The Royal Wedding: A Movie Star Becomes a Princess

Everyone knows the fairy tale about a girl swept away by a handsome prince. On this day in 1956, the bar was raised even higher when beloved, beautiful actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in what was dubbed “The Wedding of the Century.” As with another certain royal wedding, the media hype had been unrelenting since the couple announced their engagement a few months earlier. The fervor was fueled by the announcement that MGM’s Academy Award–winning costume designer Helen Rose would design the wedding dress. It didn’t help matters that Rose remained tight-lipped about Kelly’s look. When the big day arrived on April 19, 1956, more than 30 million people turned on their newfangled television sets just to see the dress the movie star–turned-princess was wearing.

The courtship had begun a year earlier after Kelly posed in a brief photo shoot with Prince Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi at the Canne Film Festival. Apparently, the couple clicked, because Read More »

They Took Manhattan and then Fashion: The Dynamic Duo of Jean Shrimpton and David Bailey

They were barely known in their home country of England and were nobodies in New York. But when photographer David Bailey and model Jean Shrimpton arrived in Manhattan on a cold January day in 1962, Vogue editor Diana Vreeland greeted them like long-awaited celebrities. “But they are adorable,” Vreeland cried. “England. Has. Arrived.” Bailey was still new to the fashion world and 18-year-old Shrimpton, a recent graduate of the Lucie Clayton Modelling School was, she remembers, “as green as a spring salad.” The pair had met less than a year earlier and worked well together on a shoot for Brides. A few months later they muscled their way into British Vogue, with Bailey agreeing to do the shoot only if the unknown Shrimpton was his model. The 14-page spread was a hit with readers, so the magazine took another risk and sent the pair to Manhattan, where a Youthquake culture was growing. “Young Idea Goes West,” the shots they took during their whirlwind week there, were published in the April 1, 1962 issue of British Vogue, and made the duo famous. They travelled with Read More »

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