Started on the 11th April 2011 - Blogging from a 20 year old Fashion Student

Sunday, 1 September 2013



"David Bailey, makes love daily,
Brian Duffy, bald and scruffy"
- Joanna Lumley

One third of the trio of photographers who helped define the 60s as an iconically fashionable era. 

Born: 15th June 1933
Famous for: Photographing in a more youthful and urban way - breaking free from the "neat" styling of the 1950s. 
Style Characteristics: His style of photography included iconic portraiture, voyeuristic editorials and album sleeves (most notably for David Bowie's "Alladin Sane").

As a young art student living in London, Brian Duffy became less and less enthusiastic about his chosen pathway, fine art. He became transfixed on clothing, fashion was becoming more and more outrageous and exciting as the 1950s were coming to an end, as was the last of wartime rationing. 
   The most obvious "jump" from painting to fashion was to become a fashion illustrator, Duffy was employed by Harper's Bazaar. At his time there, however, he accidentally stumbled on another art form which would be the medium to drive him into a household name. These unsuspecting contact sheets from an editorial shoot caused Brian Duffy to become a fashion photographer. He later joked in an interview that taking photographs of clothes was the easier option; be that as it may, he became a master of his craft.

Duffy's photography catapulted models into stardom as he began capturing the change in British fashion that was happening in the 1960s. His most notable clients at this were Jane Birkin, Joanna Lumley and Grace Coddington. However, as he began to become more well-known internationally, he began to take portraits of icons such as Brigitte Bardot and Ursula Andress. Brian Duffy was proudly recording all of these fashions and muses, which are now so evocative of the 60s. 

The Photographic Trio
Fashion changed in the 60s, as we all know for obvious reasons - such as the end of rationing fabrics in the war; children from the "post war baby boom" were growing into teenagers and wanted to differentiate themselves from their parents etc - it had evolved into a more innovative business. Fashion (womenswear) transformed from being primarily glamourous, feminine, accentuating and demure to graphic, 

So you would have thought that a business that had become so fast-paced and innovative would evoke competition between all those in the same field. Not the case with the photographic trio! These photographers came to define the Swinging Sixties and managed to become well known as friends rather than opponents. They all came from similar working-class backgrounds and were known as the "terrible three", which definitely suggests mischief! 
   One of Duffy's favourite models, Joanna Lumley recited a poem in a recent interview, "David Bailey makes love daily, Brian Duffy, bald and scruffy" - emulating their notoriety as fashion photographers. The formality of the 50s was abandoned and the spirit of the 60s was captured on their film, Duffy's studio became the centre of swinging London and although the poem suggested David Bailey was the most promiscuous of the three, they all encouraged the well known bohemian motto of "free love".

Bailey became known as the womaniser, Donovan, the wit, however, Duffy was the enigma - hard to please, afraid of no one, with a seemingly underwhelming exterior. 

"If you're going to have a best friend, he may as well be a shit-head."
- Brian Duffy talks about his relationship with David Bailey

Although, by the 70s, David Bowie was already nearing the height of his fame, Brian Duffy's vision catapulted him into a new realm of success. As Duffy was a fashion photographer, he knew that Bowie needed an image that would shock and evoke intrigue. Fashion photography is basically advertising, advertising clothes, a lifestyle... So an album cover was pretty much the same thing, advertising Bowie, projecting his music, image, clothes and lifestyle to the world.

The pair were visionaries, and continued to work together to create three album covers, each of them as iconic as the last. 

In 1965 Duffy was asked to create the second annual Pirelli calendar, it was shot in Monaco and was filled with extremely sexual images of women - to be sent out to very select clients of Pirelli. 
   It featured nudes and glamour photographs of the elite models at the time. A position which, today, is reserved for controversial/celebrity photographers such as Terry Richardson, Karl Lagerfeld and Patrick Dermarchelier.

The calendars celebrate the female form, and the ways in which photography and fashion changes drastically over time, it is an excellent way of seeing how our perception of the perfect female body has adapted - androgyny in the 60s, voluptuousness of the 70s, to "heroin chic" of the 90s.

The ninth issue of the calendar, again shot by Duffy in 1973 was the result of a collaboration between him and British Pop Artist Allen Jones. This resulted in quite a lot of tension between the duo, as their chemistry wasn't as jovial as the dynamic relationship demonstrated by the terrible trio.
   Jones was an artist, not a photographer, so he expected Duffy to create the images from sketches he had done. And as I said previously, Duffy wasn't afraid to stand up for himself. He did eventually shoot versions of Jones' artwork, however, it wasn't as exact as the illustrator would have liked!

Brian Duffy carried on creating extremely successful pieces of work in all areas of his photography career (fashion, music, art and advertising); despite that, he decided to give up photography in a very final and abrupt way. Duffy burnt all his old negatives and film in 1979. 

Although a large portion of his images were lost, the pieces that remain showcase his talent impeccably - they are a definitive collection which capture the changes in British fashion and culture spanning twenty-five years.

Duffy resumed photography in 2009, recreating images of models and celebrities he had shot in the 60s and 70s, possibly as a way of reminiscing and trying to reconnect with his past. He died a year later.

Brian Duffy directed the music video 
for Spandau Ballet's "Gold" (I wanted to leave you all with something a bit more cheerful!)

Facebook Page!

I created a facebook page to make it even easier to stay up to date with my blog posts! 

Please like! I've added photo albums of previous blog posts for you to look through easily, and more will be added as I continue to blog! 

Thank you, E x

Friday, 2 August 2013

17 Must See "Fashion" Films (Part 2/2)

Part two of my list!
-Read Part one here if you haven't already-

Not strictly about fashion, however, we all need to get inspiration from somewhere, and films are the perfect starting point as they contain so much (fashion, music, imagery, symbolism, writing).

Mainly known for it's comedy and the fact that Phoebe from "Friends" is one of the main characters. I have a thing about 90s fashion, and this is the 90s at it's best (or worst, depending on how you tolerate tackiness). Nevertheless, it's daring! and Lisa Kudrow can pull off anything (referencing back to the days of Friends). 

(I wish there were more stills, 
the costumes are gloriously tacky!)

12. Valley of the Dolls
Sharon Tate stars in a film about show business and taking happy pills, all very dramatic and glamourous...

13. Rosemary's Baby
Just an excuse for Mia Farrow to famously debut her new Vidal Sassoon pixie cut. Kidding, to put it simply, a fashionable couple have a demonic baby.

(I just can't get over the fluffy jumper...)

Catherine Deneuve did it way before (and way better than) Billie Piper.

A funny man's Pulp Fiction (an even funnier than funny man). 

All costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and Milla Jovovich speaking her own language, need I go on. Must. Watch. 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

17 Must See "Fashion" Films (Part 1/2)

I strongly believe that, as a fashion student, I am not confined to simply reading magazines and looking at images from the catwalk. Fashion is integrated with everything, music, films, poetry, art and whatever else you can think of!

So here is my list of "fashion" films. I use the term fashion loosely, because although there are some directly linked to designers etc, some are purely "inspirational" (not necessarily about Anna Wintour, although who hasn't seen The Devil Wears Prada, really?).

A satirical representation of the fashion industry and life as a model "is there anything below the surface of Polly's pretty exterior?".

I was lucky enough to find the actual film on youtube, however, if you are reading this in 2024 I would go ahead and download it straight onto your built-in google glass. Ha. 

Surreal, jam packed with motifs and symbolism which could be used to fuel a whole collection if you so wished. 
   "The story of two girls who try to understand the meaning of the world, and their life" deeeeeeeep.

"A fashion show!"

(find the film with English subtitles on Netflix)

A fashion magazine from the 1950s, and Audrey Hepburn in wedding dresses. Think "the love child of Breakfast at Tiffany's, Blow-Up & The Devil Wears Prada" with a bit of a song and dance.

An American avant-garde film, starring Edie Sedgwick. Although persistently described as not being a documentary, the film depicts Edie as a pretty close representation of herself, reminiscing.

I know everyone was obsessed with Edie, but rightly so, an innocent icon with a tragic demise. One girl at my college admired her so much she insisted on doing the classic 60s "crease" look with layers of false eyelashes (as did Edie) everyday. I couldn't cope with that! 

A tale of unrequited love, betrayal and Christina Ricci showing off her tap dancing skills. Pulp Fiction-esque, shot through a blue filter (constantly making you feel cold).

Two films by Larry Clark, although nothing to do with fashion, I am constantly inspired by Clark's raw attitude to teenagers. Two films that synonymously represent 90s street style at its most organic.

(a photocopy from one of my foundation sketchbooks, 
hence the threads to represent colour ways)

Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like this film has been severely overlooked. A biographical film about the grandmother of fashion, the woman who introduced us to androgyny and popularised Breton stripes

A biographical film about the model "Gia Carangi", Angelina Jolie at her best. Depicts Gia's struggles with breaking into the modelling industry despite her different image (something the industry would relish nowadays) and drug abuse.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013



Ursula Andress, similar to Bardot, was a siren of the sixties who was at the height of her fame when she starred in the Bond film "Dr. No" as the provocatively named Honey Ryder. 

Born: 19th March 1936
Famous for: Being a sex symbol of the 1960s (first coming to the world's attention in the James Bond film Dr. No)
Style Characteristics: Feline eye-makeup, blonde bouffant hair and a sexy selection of swimsuits, minidresses and leopard print.

Early Life
In the 1950s, Ursula Andress was still trying to "make it big" in Hollywood. Although she hadn't blossomed into the sex symbol image she is famed for now, she was, at that time an innocently beautiful girl. This interested the tabloids and pictures emerged of Andress with the young movie star James Dean. It was said that the icon became involved with the 19 year old actress shortly before his death in 1955. This set her up to follow in his footsteps of becoming a similarly iconic film star, however, like all other icons, Ursula needed to make an entrance that would grab the attention of audiences across the world... 

Dr. No
...What better entrance than to be shown in a skimpy bikini emerging from the water, the first of many bond girls.

Andress is truly one of the most iconic Bond girls and although there are many - (it is an iconic franchise in itself), she was referenced in "Die Another Day" as Halle Berry wore a modernised version of the bikini. It was complete with a large buckled belt which suggests that, while a very minuscule detail, the women are ready to take on the world with their leading male.

Fun in Acapulco
The year following Dr. No, Andress starred in a musical alongside Elvis. Her beauty and screen presence had previously been shown off to an international audience with the release of the first Bond film and so now she was introduced to working with other "movie stars". 
   Fun in Acapulco, as is said of many of Elvis' other films, wasn't the epitome of 60s cinematography. However, it was considered to be a fun family musical, slightly tongue in cheek - and it continued to elevate both Elvis and Ursula as household names. 

Ursula, The Icon
I suppose Ursula could be likened to Brigitte Bardot and Sharon Tate in the sense that all three were considered sex symbols, were naturally gorgeous and had an effortless sense of style (or perhaps they're all so gorgeous they got away with wearing anything!). 
   Nevertheless, popular styles of the 60s and early 70s (when Andress was at her most famous) shone through in her wardrobe. Simple/chic mini dresses, leopard print, pleated trousers. All this paired with the blonde bouffant and feline eyes - it's like Sharon, Brigitte and Ursula got together and wrote a recipe for sex kitten success.
 Comparison: Ursula Andress (left) and Brigitte Bardot (right) 
wearing "cigarette" leg trousers.

Comparison: Ursula Andress (left) and Sharon Tate (right) both in animal print coats. Sharon's was designed by famous designer of the 60s/70s, Ossie Clark.

Comparison: (left-right) Ursula Andress, Brigitte Bardot and Sharon Tate all sporting mini dresses - the recipe for 60s sex kitten iconography.

Other "looks" worn by Ursula: (left-right) a dress with a plunging neckline and jewelled bra showing underneath; a royal blue mini dress with quite a "boxy" structure to it; lastly, pictured wearing a wide-brimmed hat, flared trousers and buckled shoes - we begin to see her 70s style emerging.

Ursula Andress certainly didn't shy away from her "sex symbol" label, both on and off screen. She was continually offered roles that would depict her as an innocent screen siren; had famous affairs with actors and directors; and even recently, was pictured at her 70th birthday on a yacht surrounded by adoring fans. 

She grew into the movie star accolade all too well, divulging the public with the lifestyle everyone imagines and aspires to when they think of the 60s.

Get the look: an Ursula Andress make-up tutorial.


Next post coming soon: 
"Must See "Fashion" Films"!