Fashion

Inside “A Style of Her Own”: The exhibition dedicated to Louise Dahl-Wolfe

Fashion

Inside “A Style of Her Own”: The exhibition dedicated to Louise Dahl-Wolfe

2 weeks ago
By Sara Noori

In a rare exhibition, 100 works of pioneering fashion and portrait photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe are featured at The Fashion and Textile Museum. The exhibition, titled A Style Of Her Own, displays 100 photographs shot from 1931-59, showcasing her enormous impact on women and fashion photography.

Image: Sara Noori

Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895-1989) was a pioneer in modern fashion photography and a pioneer in the profession of photography. Dahl-Wolfe may be relatively unknown in the mainstream, but her work has had significant impact on fashion photography. She spent 22 years working at Harper’s Bazaar. During her career, she published 86 cover images, 600 colour plates, and more than 2,000 black-and-white photographs. She was credited with inventing the term ‘supermodel’.

During her career, it was unusual for women to become photographers, mainly because of the heavy equipment. Yet, she managed to become a top photographer, and was highly respected by the likes of Edward Steichen, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Horst P. Horst and Brassaï.

Image: Sara Noori

Dahl-Wolfe was a fiercely independent woman who, alongside art director Alexey Brodovitch, wanted to revive the stiff and redundant black-and-white, portrait-like world of fashion photography.

“Instead, they wanted the images to match their vision for the modern, liberated woman—one who worked, travelled, danced, drank champagne, and lived with such vitality that she’d leap off the page”, said Charlotte Colwes at Harper’s Bazaar.

Dahl-Wolfe’s images contradicted the 1930s and 40s social norms by showcasing women clad in swimwear in exotic locations. As transatlantic flights started to fly commercial, she started photographing women in Spain, France, Spain, Mexico and Cuba among many others. In her images, she transformed the everyday woman into a fashion-forward version of themselves, and thereby forward-thinking. She defined the rise of the American look with images of the modern, independent post-war woman.

A Style Of Her Own will run from October – January 2018 at The Fashion and Textile Museum.