KRIS Likes… The Photography of Mark Shaw

“When you are building a room, 

you are building character, and character

is the strength and wisdom of a home.” 

– Rose Tarlow

A noted American fashion Photographer of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Mark Shaw, is best known for documenting scenes from the family life of John F. Kennedy.  However, it was Shaw’s earlier work, shooting European fashion collections for LIFE and various other publications as a fashion photographer, that inspired Jacqueline Kennedy to hire him as the family photographer.  Over the years Shaw photographed an impressive list of celebrities which included: Pablo Picasso, Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Danny Kaye, Cary Grant, Yves St. Laurent, Nico of the Velvet Underground, Audrey Hepburn & Coco Chanel.

 “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.  Fashion is in the sky, in the street,  fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”   Coco Chanel

I am obsessed with all of Mark Shaw’s photographs, but have a special affinity for the pictures he took of models, socialites & celebrities in some of the most elegant, luxurious and famous interiors of the time.  The fashion and interiors in each one is stunning and seamlessly flawless.  The combination is captivating.  Especially for those of us with a passion for both.  Yet, it is the simple elegance conveyed in each photograph that I find most alluring.  There is an ease to the women in these pictures.  They just exist.  Fabulous creatures among all of this extravagance and decadence as if being the epitome of glamour was not a choice but just who they are.

Shaw was an innovator.  He became the first photographer to use color while shooting the Runway and “backstage” at the couture shows.  Perhaps more importantly, he was able to capture a rare “behind the scenes” look into a highly glamorous and stylized world.   As a result there was a feeling of authenticity and rawness to his work that was rarely seen during this time.  Enjoy!

Model in Apartments of Dior/Luling. France. 1960’s

Model in Mirror-Paris 1960

Model in Chateau Manon Lescault #3

Model in Chateau of Jacques Fath #2, France, 1950’s

Model in Teal Dress #1, France, 1960’s

Model in Home of Christian Dior, France 1953
Vicki Reynaud #1, Paris, 1953

Model in Home of Elsa Schiaparelli, Paris, 1953

Model in Apartment of Henri Samuel #4, France, 1960’s

Model in Dior in Paris Apartment, 1960

Model in Chateau Manon Lescaut #4, France 1960’s

Portrait of Henrietta Tiarks #3, 1959, France

Portrait of Coco Chanel #17, Paris, 1954 (In the living room of her Paris apartment.)

** Photograph at top of page: Model in Home of Christian Dior #2, France, 1953

KRIS Likes… The Words of Coco Chanel

I have always been inspired by the modernist philosophy and musings of the pioneering french fashion designer, Coco Chanel.  And I could think of no better way to start this new year than by revisiting some of my favorites.  I hope they inspire you as much as they inspire me!  Enjoy!

“How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.”

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”

“I stay true to myself and my style, and I am always pushing myself to be aware of that and be original.”

“Elegance does not consist of putting on a new dress.”

“Fashion is Architecture; it is a matter of proportions.”

“If the end does not justify the means – what can?”

“Life’s but short; you might as well be amusing.”

“You must pass your days in song.  Let your whole life be a song.”

“There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted.”

“I Invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like.”

“Since everything is in our heads, we better not lose them.”

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”

“Luxury must be comfortable.  Otherwise, it is not luxury.”

“There is no time for cut and dry monotony.  There is time for work, and a time for love.  That leaves no other time.”

“Success is often achieved by those who don’t know failure is inevitable.”

“The Most courageous act is still to think for yourself.  Aloud.”

“A drink a day keeps the shrink away.”

“Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but those who have already taken possession of their future.”

“You have to love what you do to do it everyday.”

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”

“A house must be built on solid foundations if it is to last.  The same principle applies to man, otherwise he too will sink back into the soft ground and becomes swallowed up by the world of illusion.”

“There are times I can’t even figure myself out.”

“Look for the woman in the dress.  If there is no woman, there is no dress.”

“What matters is to live in the present, live now, for every moment is now.  It is your thoughts and acts of the moment that create your future.  The outline of your future path already exists, for you created its pattern by your past.”

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.  May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”

Happy New Year & Best Wishes for 2011!  xoxo Kris