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Jeanloup Sieff

Ella used to frequent a seedy and unsavory online community where many debased degenerates used to gather to revel in their shameless depravity. (Can you tell that I miss them?)

When the other libertines noticed that Ella appreciated black and white photography, they began sharing samples of the work of their favorite photographers. One of the least savory characters, claiming to be a social worker in Moscow with a mysterious connection to the city of Wuppertal, introduced me to the sensational work of Jeanloup Sieff by posting the following three photos, without comment or caption.

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These three images were so electrifying to me that I began keeping a list of my favorite photographers as a result. I did not want to forget the name Jeanloup Sieff.

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Born in Paris in 1933, Sieff was a famous fashion photographer in the 60s.

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He also took some memorable portraits in the era:

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^Catherine Deneuve.

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^Alfred Hitchcock.

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^Yves Saint Laurent

Sieff is arguably best known for his black and white nudes, of which I will only post one of my favorites.

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His landscapes were similarly superb.

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And, as may be noted in the Hitchcock portraits as well as much of his other work, he had a sense of humor.

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Thank you, erstwhile Moscow ne’er-do-well for introducing me to the work of this great photographer.

More of Jeanloup Sieff’s work may be seen here.

Who the hell is Sonia Rykiel?

The 1995 duet “Who the Hell is Sonia Rykiel” with the legendary, late, Malcolm McLaren, is a nice soundtrack for this post.

Born in 1930 in Paris, Sonia was a window dresser as a teen and later married the owner of a dress boutique. When she could not find soft, comfortable sweaters to wear during her second pregnancy, she collaborated with one of her husband’s suppliers to create soft, form-fitting sweaters for herself. They were popular enough that she began selling them in her husband’s boutique. By 1967 her ‘Poor Boy’ sweater was world famous and she was named by the American press, ‘The Queen of Knits’.

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High, tight armholes and narrow shoulders are classic Poor Boy sweater features. Horizontal stripes have been, and continue to be, a hallmark of Rykiel’s work.

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Her 2010 collection for H&M was a fun revival of the looks which had made her famous, decades before.

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But, besides the Poor Boy and the horizontal stripe, Rykiel is best known for her graphic work with knits. It was she who first put seams on the outside of garments, and she who first used words and pictures as part of the knits she designed, an early example of which was a sweater bearing the word ‘SENSUOUS’, released in 1971 to much hullabaloo.

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An informative timeline of her life and career may be found here.

A wonderful interview with Rykiel may be found here.

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^Rykiel, by Warhol.

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^A more recent photo.

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^Looks from the 40th Anniversary of her label celebration and show in 2008.

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^A look from the Spring, 2011 collection, so that I can tag this post with the word ‘nipples’.

Paco Rabanne

Maybe you’ve seen the famous Rabanne tunic from the Sixties.

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Plates of aluminum linked together.

The designer made a name for himself with these oddly appealing creations.

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^A wedding dress of white leather and chain links.^

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^Audrey Hepburn in a Paco Rabanne mini for the film ‘Two for the Road’.

Rabanne collaborated with Jacques Fonteray to create the costumes for ‘Barabarella’ in 1968.

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For more on Fonda’s ‘Barabarella’ costumes, go here.

Rabanne continued designing and running his brand into the 90s but sold to Puig in 2000.

As of June, 2012, the Creative Director for the brand was Lydia Maurer, though the brand changes designers so frequently that this may not be current information.

Clearly the young designers running the brand are determined to maintain some connection to Mr. Rabanne’s aesthetic, as these selections from the Paco Rabanne Spring 2013 RTW collection demonstrate.

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