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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

Backyard Oasis

Daniell Cornell (editor)

Guest Interview Exploring Fashion's "Total Look" 14 MIN, 55 SEC

Moffitt 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."


Moffitt newsprintMoffitt swimsuit

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

Cameron Silver, Decades
Peggy Moffitt, Model

Guest Interview The Pool as a Cultural Icon 8 MIN, 20 SEC

Schiller pool

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.

Shulman house

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)

Ritts gere

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

Guest Interview Revitalizing a Desert Architectural Treasure 5 MIN, 45 SEC


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.

Sunnylands 2

The new visitor's center, designed by Frederick Fisher & Partners

Top image: The historic Sunnylands estate, designed by A. Quincy Jones

Sidney Williams, Curator of Architecture and Design, Palm Springs Art Museum
Frederick Fisher, Architect and Principal of Frederick Fisher and Partners


Frances Anderton

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