New Book: Nostalgia In Vogue

12 Oct


Anna Wintour
 writes in the forward of the new book “Nostalgia In Vogue” that “I had read too many stories about magazines’ losing image troves, whether because they were poorly maintained, thrown out by accident, or deemed unimportant to posterity. But you need only visit any designer’s studio and see the vintage portraits and fashion photographs pinned to the wall to understand that these pictures carry weight; that they are points of reference and inspiration, not simply commercial images made to sell dresses.”

Edited by Vogue Features Director Eve MacSweeny, the book is made up of a collection essays by authors including Joan Didion, Margaret Atwood, Patti Smith, Karl Lagerfeld, Carly Simon, George Plimpton, Manolo Blahnik, Anjelica Huston and Joyce Carol Oates paired with iconic images that appeared in Vogue. These pages are  mined from the decade old Vogue column “Nostalgia,” in which writers choose archival images that inspired them.

The sixty-three essays are based on the work of  Vogue photographers including Helmut Newton, Henry Clarke, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Horst P. Horst, and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

In one Helmut Newton photograph, two models pump gas at a QueensSafeway station into what appears to be a late ’60s model Cadillac. Irving Penn captures a dashing Leonard Bernstein wearing a tuxedo, posed on a group of carpeted boxes, dated 1948. In a more obscure image by Penn of Tai Chi master Da Liu instructing 80 year old Bertie Donnelly and New York City Ballet dancer Suki Schorer, author Joan Didion recalls coming of age as an assistant editor at Vogue. Schorer wore Didion’s blue shift for the shoot —  she had studied with the dancer’s father at Berkeley. The impression of a ballerina chasing her dreams moved the author, who soon after sent off the first pages of a novel. “Memory fades, and the full cast list has vanished, but there was more going on than meets the eye in that studio facing Bryant Park,” writes Didion.

Each page offers whimsical recollections by interesting people. Behind these images are fascinating stories, meaningful reflections, and a rare candor that are evocative of times gone by. This book is a gentle reminder of why we save our stacks of magazines.

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