Amazing Vintage Photos of Barbara “Babe” Paley

Barbara “Babe” Cushing Mortimer Paley (1915 – 1978) was an American socialite and style icon, whose second husband was the founder of CBS, William S. Paley. She was known by the popular nickname “Babe” for most of her life. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1958.

Long after her death, Babe Paley remains an icon in the world of fashion and style. “Babe Paley had only one fault,” commented her one-time friend Truman Capote.

“She was perfect. Otherwise, she was perfect.”

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Richard Avedon, Portrait of Barbara “Babe” Paley, 1960’s via

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Babe Paley by Erwin Blumenfeld via

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Clifford Coffin, Portrait of Barbara “Babe” Paley, British Vogue, 1946 via

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John Rawlings, Portrait of Barbara “Babe” Cushing Mortimer Paley, Vogue, February 1946 via

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Babe Paley  in 1940 Wedding Gown by Mabel McIlvain Downs via

 

A Collection of Vintage Fashion Photography From the 1950s

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‘Black and White’, Mary Jane Russell, Le Pavillon, New York, Harper’s Bazaar, 1950 by Lillian Bassman via

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Henry Clarke, Suzy Parker wearing Givenchy, 1952 via

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Lisa Fonssagrives in Charles James Suit, photographed by Horst P. Horst for Vogue, 1950 via

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Carmen Dell’Orefice in Paris, 1950s, photo by Richard Avedon via

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Dorian Leigh wearing Madame Grés by Henry Clarke in 1955 via

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Traina-Norell dress 1957, photo by Karen Radkai (model could be Sunny Harnett) via

A Collection of Vintage Photos Featuring Anne Gunning

Anne Gunning (1929-1990) started modeling in Ireland in 1953. First photographed by photographer Milton Greene, she went on to be photographed by the greatest photographers of the day. She gained global recognition after being featured on the cover of Life magazine in 1953.

Gunning limited herself to photographic modelling, despite requests from designers like Coco Chanel to be a part of their stage shows. She did only one fashion show – for Sybil Connolly – as a favour. She was afraid of falling down on the stage, and remarked:

“that sea of faces glaring at me was too daunting.”

She worked in Paris, New York and London. She and fellow model Barbara Mullen even accompanied Norrman Parkinson to India, on an assignment for Vogue.

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Ann Gunning, Paris Collections, for Vogue, August 1952 via

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Anne Gunning for Cartier Jewellery, 1952 via

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Anne Gunning in dress by Christian Dior for Vogue UK. Photo by Norman Parkinson, 1952 via

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Anne Gunning in crinolines, Ireland. Photo by Milton Greene, 1953 via

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Anne Gunning wearing Dior, 1954 via

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Anne Gunning in front of Nandi, the Sacred Bull, on Chamundi Hill above Mysore City. Skirt and blouse by Christian Dior, India, Vogue. Photo by Norman Parkinson, 1956 via

A Collection of Vintage Fashion by Charles James

Though he had no formal training, he is now regarded as one of the greatest designers in America to have worked in the tradition of Haute Couture. After designing in his native London, and then Paris, James arrived in New York City in 1940. The same year he opens Charles James, Inc. custom design business on East Fifty-seventh Street, New York. In 1943 James begins designing custom creations for Elizabeth Arden. One of his most successful collections opened in Paris in 1947 at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée. In the 1950s he spent most of his time in New York.

James looked upon his dresses as works of art, as did many of his customers. Year after year he reworked original designs, ignoring the sacrosanct schedule of seasons. The components of the precisely constructed designs were interchangeable so that James had a never-ending fund of ideas on which to draw. He is most famous for his sculpted ball gowns made of lavish fabrics and to exacting tailoring standards; in 1955 James created the Balloon dress with high Empire waist and voluminous folds and the Butterfly sheath dress with enormous bustle.  He is also remembered for his capes and coats, often trimmed with fur and embroidery, his spiral zipped dresses, and his white satin quilted jackets.

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Charles James (in black) with models during one of his fashion show, photographed by Eliot Elisofon, ca. 1950 via

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Dominique de Menil at home, dressed in Charles James and on Charles James couch, ca. 1951 via

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Charles James Butterfly Gown 1954, photo by Cecil Beaton via

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Austine Hearst in Charles James Four Leaf Clover Dress, ca. 1953 via

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Charles James, Dresses, 1959 via