A Collection of Photos Feat. Old Hollywood Costumes by Travis Banton

Travis Banton (1894 – 1958) was the chief designer at Paramount Pictures. He is considered one of the most important Hollywood costume designers of the 1930s.

An early apprenticeship with a high-society costume dressmaker earned him fame. When Mary Pickford selected one of his dresses for her wedding to Douglas Fairbanks, his reputation was established.

He opened his own dressmaking salon in New York City, and soon was asked to create costumes for the Ziegfeld Follies. In 1924, Travis Banton moved to Hollywood when Paramount contracted with him to create costumes for his first film, The Dressmaker from Paris.

Glamour, understated elegance, and exquisite fabrics endeared Travis Banton to the most celebrated of Hollywood’s beauties and made him one of the most sought-after costume designers of his era.

Because of his alcoholism and reputedly also at the instigation of his subordinate Edith Head, Banton was forced to leave Paramount. He started his own business and also designed for Twentieth Century-Fox from 1939-1941 and Universal from 1945-1948.

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Marlene Dietrich in “The Devil is a Woman,” 1935. Costume by Travis Banton via

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Marlene Dietrich in “Morocco,” 1930. Costume by Travis Banton via

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Marlene Dietrich in “Blonde Venus,” 1932. Photo courtesy of Photofest. Costume by Travis Banton via

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Travis Banton, Fay Wray in One sunday Afternoon, 1933 via

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Claudette Colbert in “Tonight is Ours” 1933, costume by Travis Banton via

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Eleanor Whitney in The Big Broadcast of 1937. Costumes by Travis Banton, 1937 via

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Anna May Wong in “Limehouse Blues” 1934, costume by Travis Banton via

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Lucille Ball in “Lover Come Back” 1946, costume by Travis Banton via

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Carole Lombard in “Rumba”, 1935. Costume by Travis Banton via

Female Portrait Photographs by Carl Van Vechten

Carl Van Vechten (1880 – 1964) was an American writer and artistic photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the literary executor of Gertrude Stein.

In the 1930s, Van Vechten began taking portrait photographs.

Among the many individuals he photographed were Josephine Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, Theda Bara, Harry Belafonte, Leonard Bernstein,  Karen Blixen, Jane Bowles, Marlon Brando, Truman Capote, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Ella Fitzgerald, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Martha Graham, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Horst P. Horst, Mahalia Jackson, Frida Kahlo, Eartha Kitt, Henri Matisse, W. Somerset Maugham, Elsa Maxwell, Henry Miller, Joan Miró, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Diego Rivera, Gertrude Stein, James Stewart, Alfred Stieglitz, Gloria Vanderbilt, Gore Vidal, Evelyn Waugh, Orson Welles and Anna May Wong.

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Frida wearing a Tchuantepee gourd by Carl Van Vechten, 1932 via

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Tallulah Bankhead by Carl Van Vechten, 1934 via

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 Anna May Wong by Carl Van Vechten, 1935 via

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Josephine Baker by Carl Van Vechten via

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Gertrude Stein by Carl Van Vechten, 1935 via

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Lillian Gish by Carl Van Vechten, 1937 via

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Theda Bara by Carl Van Vechten, 1939 via

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Karen Blixen by Carl Van Vechten, 1959 via

A Collection of Photos Feat. Martha Graham – The ‘Picasso of Dance’

Martha Graham (1894 – 1991) was an American modern dancer and choreographer whose influence on dance has been compared with the influence Picasso had on the modern visual arts, Stravinsky had on music, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture.

Rejecting classical European ballet, the dancer searched in primitive societies the inspiration for her spiritual-like naturalistic moves. With her shows, she illustrates strong emotions and her social battles, such as Chronicle, in 1936 that depicted depression and isolation. 

Graham was the first dancer ever to perform at the White House, travel abroad as a cultural ambassador, and receive the highest civilian award of the US: the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In her lifetime she received honors ranging from the Key to the City of Paris to Japan’s Imperial Order of the Precious Crown. She said, in the 1994 documentary The Dancer Revealed:

“I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It’s permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable.”

Her style, the Graham technique, fundamentally reshaped American dance and is still taught worldwide.

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Edward Steichen, Portrait of Marthe Graham, 1931 via

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Edward Steichen, Portrait of Martha Graham, New York, 1931 via

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Barbara Morgan, Portrait of Martha Graham in “Lamentation”, 1935 via

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Barbara Morgan, Portrait of Martha Graham in “Lamentation”, 1935 via

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Barbara Morgan, Portrait of Martha Graham “Frontier”, 1935 via

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Portrait of Martha Graham, 1930’s via

A Collection of Photos by Man Ray Feat. Lee Miller

Lee Miller (1907 – 977) was an American photographer. She is one of the most remarkable female icons of the 20th century – an individual admired as much for her free-spirit, creativity and intelligence as for her classical beauty (source).

In 1929, Miller traveled to Paris with the intention of apprenticing herself to the surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray. Although, at first, he insisted that he did not take students, Miller soon became his model and co-collaborator, as well as his lover and muse. While she was in Paris, she began her own photographic studio, often taking over Man Ray’s fashion assignments to enable him to concentrate on his painting. In fact, many of the photographs taken during this period and credited to Man Ray were actually taken by Miller. Together with Man Ray, she rediscovered the photographic technique of solarisation. She was an active participant in the surrealist movement, with her witty and humorous images. Amongst her circle of friends were Pablo Picasso, Paul Éluard, and Jean Cocteau (she appeared as a statue that comes to life in Cocteau’s The Blood of a Poet (1930)).

After leaving Man Ray and Paris in 1932, she returned to New York and established a portrait and commercial photography studio with her brother Erik as her darkroom assistant

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Lee Miller by Man Ray, Solarisation, 1931 via

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Lee Miller [hand] by Man Ray, 1929 via

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Lee Miller’s neck; Man Ray’s Neck. 2010 MAN RAY TRUST/ARS. COURTESY OF THE PENROSE COLLECTION via

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Lee Miller by Man Ray via

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Lee Miller via