Swimsuits, Swimming Pools and the Birth of Modern Body Culture
Listen to/Watch entire show:
Rudi Gernreich created Modern fashion to liberate the body; model Peggy Moffitt and photographer William Claxton completed the "Total Look." Hear about it from Peggy Moffitt and Cameron Silver. Also, Daniell Cornell on the beauty and peril of the suburban swimming pool in "Backyard Oasis;" and Sidney Williams and Frederick Fisher on Sunnylands, renewed.
Banner image: Michael Childer, The Hockney Swimmer, 1978, C-print; © Michael Childers
Exploring Fashion's "Total Look" ()
Starting in the 1950's a trio of creatives working in Los Angeles dramatically changed modern fashion and photography: fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, his model and muse Peggy Moffitt, and the photographer (and Moffitt's husband) William Claxton. Their famously stylized, ultra mod imagery wherein all elements of the outfit from dress to makeup coordinated was dubbed "The Total Look," and a new exhibition, The Total Look: The Creative Collaboration Between Rudi Gernreich, Peggy Moffitt and William Claxton opens on February 26 at MOCA PDC to celebrate this unique collaboration. Frances speaks with the exhibition's curator, Cameron Silver, owner of the vintage clothing boutique Decades, about the groundbreaking, controversial and sometimes shocking fashions, like Gernreich's Topless Swimsuit. Then Frances visits Peggy Moffitt at her home to find out what it was like to work with Gernreich and Claxton as the face of "The Total Look."
The "typeface" dress and matching tights designed by Rudi Gernreich, 1968; Moffitt wearing a Rudi Gernreich Resort 1971 one-piece wool knit "Rouault" swimsuit. Photos by William Claxton
Top image: Peggy Moffitt wearing Rudi Gernreich design. Photo by William Claxton, 1968
The Pool as a Cultural Icon ()
There is perhaps no more purely Southern California image than that of an idyllic suburban swimming pool. That image—and the cultural implications that came with it—is the focus of the exhibition Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982 which recently opened at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Curator Daniell Cornell speaks about how these aquatic playgrounds became a defining element of the post-war era.
Julius Shulman, Frank Sinatra House, Palm Springs, California, 1948, gelatin silver print, Collection Palm Springs Art Museum, purchase © J. Paul Getty Trust. Used with permission. Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute (2004.R.10)
Herb Ritts, Richard Gere – Poolside, 1982, C-print, Courtesy of the Herb Ritts Foundation, Los Angeles © Herb Ritts Foundation
Top image: Lawrence Schiller, Palm Springs Fashion, No. 8, 1964/printed 2011, modern color silver halide chromogenic print from original negative, Courtesy of Judith and Lawrence Schiller; Lawrence Schiller © Polaris Communications, Inc.
- Daniell Cornell: Senior Curator, Palm Springs Art Museum
Revitalizing a Desert Architectural Treasure ()
Sunnylands, the Palm Springs estate of the late Leonore and Walter Annenberg, has hosted a great many dignitaries over the years as a retreat and summit site for world leaders, philanthropists and ambassadors. On March 1 it will re-open to the public after a dramatic restoration and expansion. The Palm Springs Art Museum's architecture and design curator Sidney Williams speaks about the significance of the original home, which was designed by modernist master A. Quincy Jones. Then architect Frederick Fisher details how his firm was tapped to restore the structure and build a new visitor's center—all while making the entire complex more sustainable and energy-efficient. Starting March 1, the estate is open to the public Thursdays through Sundays, and tours are available for $35 per person.
The new visitor's center, designed by Frederick Fisher & Partners
Top image: The historic Sunnylands estate, designed by A. Quincy Jones
Engage & Discuss
BROUGHT TO YOU BY