Just Because.


French brocade gown 1946

I am showing you this image (from Google's LIFE photo archive) simply because I can. Isn't it wonderful, that I can show you a photograph from a magazine printed more than sixty years ago, basically on a whim? This photo was taken by someone named Nina Leen, and I'm relieved I've never met her, because I felt compelled to say her name under my breath several times just for the sheer joy of it, and that would be awkward upon a first introduction. (Try it yourself: Nina Leen! Nina Leen! neenuhleeeeeeen! Isn't that fun?)

And this is one kickass dress, isn't it? I mean, not that anyone who was involved in either the making or the photographing of it would have probably described it that way, but it is. It is constructed of the most finely woven French kickass available, actually. I love the elegant square neckline and the fern detailing, and that the model is NOT an empty-eyed, twelve-year-old bobblehead. (You know I'm a sucker for models who look as if they had a pretty decent idea of how a dress should be worn in real life, instead of just on the runway. This woman is meeting her lover one last time before he heads to the front, obviously. At the end of their interlude she will cry just one perfect tear, so as not to distress him overmuch.)

This is just more proof that there are beautiful things everywhere, and more and more of them are available to our eyes every day. Go look for them, and when you find them, share them.

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0 thoughts on “Just Because.

  1. This is so beautiful, both the dress and her photography… thanks for sharing this as I had not heard of Nina Leen before, now I will explore her collection some more.

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  2. I so agree on “You know I’m a sucker for models who look as if they had a pretty decent idea of how a dress should be worn in real life, instead of just on the runway.” Well, I didn’t know, but I could have guessed it.The dress is lovely and the Google Life feature is even lovelier.

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  3. The best thing about the Life archive is that you can look at both photos that were and were not published. As great as the picks are that made it onto the pages, I think it is a real treat to also see the ones that didn’t.

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  4. You’re so right about this dress. It’s the kind of dress that does wonders for the self esteem. Thanks for reminding us about the Google Life collection, too. I haven’t had a chance to browse it yet. Nina Leen will be my first stop. 🙂

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  5. Oh, Erin, that is truly beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I realized that you can’t NOT make up stories about dresses. All you have to do is look and you have a story. And then you can develop it. That is an amazing talent.

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  6. there are beautiful things everywhere, and more and more of them are available to our eyes every day. Go look for them, and when you find them, share them.I need to remember this and repeat it like a mantra.

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  7. Erin, That is gorgeous! I am a huge fan of black and white imagery in fashion, this is a wonderful example. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I have a couple of Nina Leen books – her stunning photos, coupled with great quotes: Women Heroes and a Frog and Love, Sunrise and Elevated Apes, published in 1970 and 1974, respectively. Very cool books… I need to go dig those out of my stacks. Thanks for the reminder!

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  9. The web site says “model” but isn’t that Deborah Kerr? (A woman who knew how to wear a dress!, all 400 pounds of them, in King and I)

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  10. This past week I’ve been exploring the ugly in a new little feature on my blog. Thank you so much for reminding me to find me some beauty!Erin, this photo is simply DIVINE! She looks like she landed here straight from heaven. *Sigh*

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  11. When I saw this post’s heading “Just Because,” I thought you were going to write about Modess ads from the 50s and 60s. Are you old enough to have seen them? A picture of a woman in an extravagant dress with the caption: Modess, because . . .. Actually, I’ve been intending to write about those ads, and I better get to it . . .Meanwhile, that dress is fabulous.

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  12. My cube mate says the perhaps the woman, rather than meeting her lover one last time, is on a cruise around the world, without her lover, and she is very happy about that. He was getting on her nerves, and she needs this opportunity to be alone, reflect, and reconnect with her inner goddess!

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  13. I know the Modess ads! They were wonderful, and all for an unmentionable product! I remember wanting to be the woman in the photos before I even knew what the heck they were about!Yay!Lolita

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  14. Erin, thanks for the tip on this Life Magazine collection. Having public access to these photos is a great idea, but what idiot put them up without referencing the date of the issue and the designer’s name? I did a couple of searches, trying to find specific photos, with no luck. A search under “college, fashions, 1940s” will get the iconic front page photo showing Claire McCardell’s knit leggings outfits (but not her name or the issue date, sigh).

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  15. I love the overlay on the bodice (at the neckline/bust area) very smart. I bet this dress made a wonderful noise as you strolled along. I can see the joy of leaving your fur wrap with the man at the door, the striding in, elegantly, into the restaurant and later, dancing in it’s joyous movement.

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  16. Ha…I’m not the only one who enjoys those schmaltzy Modess ads (I’ve even purchased them from ebay with the intent of framing them for my teenage daughters bathroom…..they refuseed, how strange). When I look at this picture I hear schmaltzy music though, am I the only one who does that?

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  17. This IS a wonderful photograph. The model reminds me of Joan Fontaine. Women really knew how to groom themselves and keep themselves fit to wear beautiful clothes back then, didn’t they?She’s so gorgeous and slim. The perfect dress for the perfect model.

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  18. Thanks Erin, for bringing beauty into my world on an almost daily basis… I really needed soemthing lovely today, after watching hours of news footage about the horrible fires in my home state Victoria, Australia which have killed so many and left more with nothing. You have almost cheered me up.

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  19. Incredibly fit? Well, she’s thin. Doesn’t look very muscular, so either thin came easily to her, or she worked at it, or both. But definitely thin. AND she’s wearing a corset. In those days, all women did that, even the thin ones, even the ones who had the ideal wasp waists naturally. And they wore them all the time; to refuse was a sign of being a lazy slattern who had given up on proper attire.I’m glad to live in the here and now, where the corsets are optional. They are a lot more fun when you’re not stuck with them for every day!

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