Vintage Girls Vol. I is a 196 page book edited and photographed by Nick Clements.
Like most people featured in Men’s File magazine and the Men’s File Archive book series the individuals featured are all ‘style makers’ and those in Vintage Girls are no different. This publication is the first in a series of two due to be released in 2013 and 2014 on the subject. In the first volume all images are by Nick Clements with a foreword by cultural historian Prof. Colin Fallows. The second volume will be entirely from the work of Matt Hind. Both photographers have a background in fashion image making but Clements comes from a revivalist and subcultural background and Hind from the upper professional levels of women’s beauty photography. This makes Matt Hind’s work viable as fashion that can be understood by the mainstream and Clements’ photography a little less compromising. In specific terms Nick Clements tends to photograph subcultural women who arrive with their own clothing and do their own hair and make-up in their own style, while Matt Hind works with fashion models and a team of wardrobe and make-up stylists. Both are valid and both approaches can be very effective. Such a mixture should make for interesting and entertaining publications. Furthermore, here at Men’s File Archive we believe these will be the first books to address women’s revival style in its own right and not present women as the ‘girlfriends’ of male revivalists or as accessories to objects such as hot rod cars or motorcycles. That does’t mean that all female sexuality has been removed but it is certainly not the only focus of this work and when featured is often instigated by the model themselves.
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
Daniela is not a true revivalist as she is a woman of the mountains and lives for her village, climbing and snow sports. However she is a doer and not a viewer and that qualifies her to be part of the Men’s File Archive project. Here I have used the 1920s New York Backlot at Paramount Studios to create my own retro-fururistic film noir setting and Daniela plays the femme fatal perfectly.
Anna: Pure Burlesque
This is a burlesque performance that goes back to the late 1990s. I have been building sets and working with revivalists and re-enactors since the mid-1980s. Each person brings their own ideas and attitude and it’s up to the photographer to translate and either add or subtract from the subject in front of the camera. Here I just let Anna perform and did almost nothing to enhance her act. Two simple lights were used and that was it. When you are dedicated to what you are doing nothing else matters but the best you can do. That sums-up this woman’s approach.
Ms Caswell has taken her interest in the dress and style of the 1930s and 40s to new heights in that she has incorporated it into her life in a viable and very successful way. She has taken the pure elegance and intense discipline of a bygone era and by matching it with the needs and desires of those who can’t find what they want in the banality of mass production offers her skills as a tailor at the house of Timothy Everest. Annika is a tailor of note with one of London’s most influential makers. What Men’s File Archive asserts is that her adherence to revival style is a manifestation of the type of dedication needed to succeed. Annika Caswell is also an actress of great ability. See her in the MOVIES area of http://www.mensfile.com.
This is not a ‘pin-up’ journal although it features very beautiful women and uses some of the classic devices of that genre of photography. Here Anaïs is photographed on one of the many historic islands of the river Rhone. The car to the right of the picture is a rare Austin Atlantic. The clothes are from her own vintage collection as is the pose. Anaïs is a practising psychologist. More shots of this intriguing woman and the exquisite Austin Atlantic are shown below.
Miss L Fire
Lynsey Hand is a shoe designer and revivalist of the highest order. Her footwear label, Miss L Fire, translates mid-century aesthetics into women’s shoes that work for the contemporary market but her personal approach to revival dress and objects is far less compromising. Lynsey is perhaps the most influential of all the women in the British revival car and bike scene and is seldom, if ever, seen out of period attire.
Breathing on the glass is Ms Viktoria Modesta. A performer and club-scene personality, she has developed her own style that mixes mid-century movie-star glamour with fetish-wear. Here (above and below) she takes part in one of Clements’ grand-scale tableau depicting rural subcultural life in the US during the 1950s.
A Sunday outing for a local motorcycle club, somewhere in the Mid-West and at sometime between 1954 and 1958.
A Modernist Room
It simply not plausible to do a book on Vintage Girls and not bring vinatge lingerie and the subtly erotic imagery that comes with it into the publication. Much mid-century revival style for women is about a certain type of dress that has strong links with contemporary sexuality. It’s both covert (period lingerie being worn under the clothing) and overt in that the wearer often hints strongly at the fact she is ‘fully’ attired in period-correct clothing – both visible and unseen.
In the case of this set-build and photo-shoot I worked with Macela (pictured above and a MBA graduate) to create a modernist room set that suited her personal style.