Monday, September 10, 2012

Inspired By: Lillian Bassman

Happy Monday, friends. Need a little inspiration to get you fired up for the week ahead? How about late photographer Lillian Bassman? She passed away earlier this year at 94, but her artistic vision continues to influence the fashion world.


Jason Wu's strong, sexy Spring 2013 collection, which showed last week in New York, was a study in contrast to the more ladylike turns that built his reputation. And yet, there was still a flowing, ethereal quality tying back to the romantic femininity that runs through his work. Jason described his inspiration as "Helmut Newton meets Lillian Bassman."

 Jason Wu Spring 2013 RTW,

The sexy, romantic, ethereal grace--flirting with both light and dark--that he so masterly displayed on his runway is pure Lillian Bassman.

Lillian Bassman

Her luminescent photos capture the swan-ish elegance of Mid-century women and fashion, but what inspires me most about Lillian Bassman isn't her photography - it's Lillian herself. Her long life wasn't just built around one or even two acts. She went where her creativity and passion took her - dancing with Martha Graham, studying fabric design before joining the team at Harper's Bazaar where she showcased the work of photographers such as Richard Avedon and Louis Faurer.  She taught herself photography and the darkroom techniques that gave her work it's signature shimmering light and shadow effects. When she lost interest in the evolving fashion world, she moved on, destroying most of her commercial negatives. Twenty years later, when a forgotten bag of her work was discovered, she began again, reinterpreting her earlier work and establishing new followers and more recognition for her artistry.

LA Times

She kept working up to the end of her life and remained as elegant and inspiring as her art. And right there in black and white is a woman to be fired up and influenced by. Someone whose footsteps we can aspire to follow as we start a new week.

Hope it's a beautiful one! XO


  1. Love these images..glamorous yet powerful!

  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful work, Jeanne. You just don't often see talent like this. Expression in every click.
    Happy Monday.

  3. That shot of the model through the wine model is amazing art, not to mention all of her lovely designs. And...I admire how she kept reinventing herself - why not? If we're lucky life is long and that leaves lots of windows of opportunities to do just that!

  4. such beautiful swan-like necks in those photos. Thank you for the introduction to her work

  5. wowwww. what a talent. loved studying these images and learning some of the story behind the woman. inspired!



  6. What a delightful post, Jeanne, and a wonderful introduction to a true talent. So many of Lilian's pictures are famous yet we never knew about her background. Thanks for starting our week off in such a fashionable way!
    C + C



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