Colourizing the past

This image was recently posted on a site that showed various ethnographic costumes colourized. Unfortunately, not all the colours were correct. However a woman, Sari de Groot, who viewed the images and knows quite a bit about this area’s folk dress added some interesting info. I am paraphrasing her comments: “This Dutch woman is from Zuid Beverland, Zeeland. She is protestant, married, and has at least one child. The colouring of the 2 “stukken” (pins) is wrong, they are always gold. She wears squares on the side of the bonnet. When she is an unmarried girl, she has a big one on the right, when she married but has with no children then she has a big one the left, and when she has a child she has big ones on both sides. The closing locket is at the back of the bloodcoral necklace also means she is married. When she is a widow she will wear the locket in the front.

To see other colourized versions: click here.

Real fashion by Hans Eijkelboom

These photos that capture mainstream fashion, seasonal trends, and personal styling are the work of Dutch photographer Hans Eijkelboom. His work is currently on show until January 7, 2018 at The Hague Museum of Photography, and are available in his book Hans Eijkelboom: People of the Twenty-First Century. His collage prints comparing similar outfits captured on the same day in various cities are a great companion to the sartorial shots taken by fashion bloggers and will become important historical documents for understanding real fashion:

Fashion in the house – c. 1865

I thought this photo was interesting because it’s a rare view for the period of a well-dressed couple in their reception room. Most 1860s photos were done in a studio – this type of candid shot doesn’t become common until cheap brownie box cameras appear around the turn of the century.  The gentleman is in an informal pose with his right foot atop his left knee, creating a place to rest the book he is reading. 

Life in a Bubble in 1963…

Beautiful models are often accused of living their lives in a bubble. Here, photographer  Melvin Sokolsky literally shows models in bubbles for a series of photos taken in Paris in 1963 for Harper’s Bazaar magazine:

Shop Windows – Knocking off Schiaparelli in 1939

I ran across this undated window of Arnold Constable & Co. and I suspect these are knock-offs of Schiaparelli’s summer 1939 collection that was inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Eiffel tower”


Undated photo of store window in Arnold Constable & Co., New York, with what looks like versions of Schiaparelli’s summer 1939 bustle collection

Weird Victorian Photos

And there are many more here:

Bill Cunningham – 1929-2016


Fashion photo-journalist Bill Cunningham, pictured here pointing his camera while wearing his signature French workman’s jacket, tried to be an inconspicuous observer of New York fashion, but he was as well known to New Yorkers as the naked cowboy. He passed away yesterday at the age of 87. I never met the man, and yet I feel like I lost a friend.


Although not in the Facades book, this is one of the many photographs Cunningham took of his friends dressed in period clothing around New York

I first became aware of Cunningham when I found a copy of his book Facades for a couple of dollars in a used book store in the early 1980s. The book of fashion photographs documents historic styles, as modelled by his friend Editta Sherman, in front of period buildings around New York. The photographs were taken between 1968 and 1976, when New York was crumbling into disrepair, and was published in 1978. It was a precious addition to my library that I looked at often, and it even became an inspiration for my exhibition Street Style at the Waterloo Region Museum in 2014.

Marilyn Monroe photographed by Bill Cunningham wearing a Cunningham hat

Marilyn Monroe photographed wearing a Cunningham hat

Cunningham began his fashion career as a milliner in the 1950s, turned to journalism, including W magazine, but left after an argument with publisher John Fairchild over who was the more important designer of the time – Yves St. Laurent or Andre Courreges. In 1967 Cunningham began taking pictures of Hippies, which lead to his photography for the book Facades. In 1979 he began working for the New York Times as a freelance fashion photographer and only after being hit by a truck in 1994 did he agree to become a member of the staff for health insurance benefits (Cunningham treasured his freedom over financial success.)

He lived in a rent controlled artist’s studio at Carnegie Hall most of his adult life. The 2010 film Bill Cunningham’s New York documents his daily work as the city tries to find rent controlled premises to relocate the last tenants of Carnegie Hall, including Cunningham and his long time friend and muse Editta Sherman, who died at the age of 101 in 2013. Despite the upheaval, Cunningham was one of those people for whom the glass was always half full, and in his weekly On-The-Street reports for the New York Times, he always brimmed with enthusiasm for whatever style he captured on film.