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Perhaps best known for her seminal WWII photojournalism, or her earlier life as a surrealist model and muse, or her sublimely striking solarised portraits, Lee Miller was also an exceptional fashion photographer, whose work illuminated the pages of British Vogue (Brogue) from 1939 to 1944.
Featuring over 130 images, plus an excellent contextualisation essay by Ami Bouhassane, Miller’s granddaughter and Co-Director of the Lee Miller Archives, Lee Miller: Fashion in Wartime Britain is a breathtakingly beautiful, informative book - clearly a must-have for Lee devotees, and also essential for those interested in forties fashion and style. Since many of the images featured here haven’t been seen since they were shot in the 1940s (they came to light while being archived in 2020), this truly is a treasure chest to delight in.
Miller’s editor at Brogue wrote of her in 1941 that “she has borne the whole weight of our studio production through the most difficult period in Brogue’s history” and this book is a glorious record and celebration of Lee’s contribution to the publication, with an essay by Robin Muir, contributing editor to British Vogue, furnishing readers with detail on this. The range of subjects, settings and fashion is a joy to behold, and fashion historian Amber Butchart’s essay offers fascinating insights into the era. There are classic Lee portraits of women wearing tailored suits, striking angled poses in stark light. There are women positioned by rubble, or going about their day-to-day business. There are staged studio shots of women in elegant eveningwear. And there are women (and the occasional man) in utilitarian outfits - “fashion factories”. All of them, of course, bear Miller’s inimitable panache, her way of seeing the world and its people. Simply stunning.
The Vogue Editor Audrey Withers wrote: ‘she [Lee Miller] has borne the whole weight of our studio production through the most difficult period in Brogue’s [British Vogue’s] history’. This was written in 1941 to challenge the oversight of the American Vogue 15 June 1941 edition feature on its photographers failing to recognise Lee Miller’s contributions. Over 250 Fashion images by Lee appeared in Vogue from 1941 to 1944 and as a shoot can range from 12 to 100 shots the complete collection provides a wealth of material. 2021 is time to publish this beautiful book as the negatives and vintage contacts had remained unarchived until 2020 when the process was completed. Meaning these images have literally not be seen since they were first shot and published in the 1940’s. The interest, quality and splendour of the images determined they deserved a high quality publication.
Publication date: 06/04/2021
Publisher: Lee Miller Archives Publishing
|Publication date:||6th April 2021|
|Author:||Ami Bouhassane, Robin Muir, Amber Butchart|
|Publisher:||Lee Miller Archives Publishing|
|Genres:||Books of the Month, Creativity, Gift Books, History, Star Books,|
|Categories:||Photographs: collections, Fashion & textiles: design,|