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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Europe

  • Literature

    American Vogue, 15 September, 1939; French Vogue, December, 1939; N. Hall-Duncan, The History of Fashion Photography, New York: Alpine Book Co., 1979, p.65; P. Devlin, Vogue Book of Fashion Photography, Simon & Schuster, 1979, p. 46; V. Lawford, Horst: His Work and his World, Harmondsworth: Viking, 1984, p.184; M. Kazmaier, Horst: Sixty Years of Photography, London: Thames and Hudson, 1991, pl. 8; K. Fraser, On The Edge: Images from 100 Years of Vogue, Ebury Press, 1992, p. 25; Chorus of Light: Photographs from the Sir Elton John Collection, exh. cat. Atlanta, High Museum of Art, 2001, p. 192; N. Angeletti, A. Oliva, In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine, Rizzoli, 2006, p. 18

  • Catalogue Essay

    Main Rousseau Bocher was born in Chicago in 1890, ‘Mainbocher’ as he later became known, was extremely gifted and creative – he was a trained lithographer, a sketch artist, an illustrator for Harpers Bazaar, Paris and later in New York was responsible for the design of stage costume and uniforms (on a shoestring) of the American WAVES (U.S. Navy). From the beginning, he favoured the simple, elegant and conservative with the luxury of cut, materials and workmanship which came to be recognized by the elite (it was no surprise that the Duchess of Windsor chose him to design her trousseau for her marriage in 1937, as his simple line and fall of his fabrics flattered her slim and severe good looks). He made a calculated point of knowing his clients personally and based his designs almost around their lifestyles, managing to successfully package himself as an exclusive designer to the wealthy and the titled. Before Mainbocher left Paris for New York just before the war, his final collections, groundbreaking in their body-conscious focus, attracted a lot of attention. His creation of the Mainbocher Corset cinched the waist dramatically and radically altered the previous silhouette of the 1930s. This departure, marking a new phase in fashion, was immortalised in 1939 by Horst’s sensual homage shown here. On his arrival in New York, Mainbocher was greeted enthusiastically by society women who wanted to be seen to patronize a fellow American, but who also wanted to be associated with a man whom by now had a
    legendary reputation for making women not only feel good but also look exquisitely well-bred.

79

Mainbocher Corset

1939
Gelatin silver print, printed later.
Signed in pencil on the verso.

Estimate
£8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for £17,500

Photographs

3 November 2011
London