By Lillian Bassman
Abrams, 128 pages $29.95
Ghosts of Lingerie Past
This gorgeous coffee table book filled with Lillian Bassman’s photos of women in lingerie is both breathtakingly beautiful and nostalgic. The photos themselves showcase Bassman’s signature style, and in many of the images the composition and the interplay of the shadow and light or of the different shapes on the page are as much the subject matter as the young woman captured in the photograph. The lingerie itself will make readers look back with nostalgia, and in some cases horror, as these women are much more modest than many teenage girls one sees at the mall or the park today. The introductory essay by Eric Himmel is interesting and well written. He adds insight into how Bassman captured the relaxed quality of her subjects. In addition to giving the reader a sense of how much the fashion world was changing in the mid-20th century, this book offers a glimpse into the roots of our contemporary stick-thin supermodel culture.
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