Book Report: Zeitgeist and Glamour – Photography of the ’60s and ’70s

The thick, heavy pages of Zietgeist and Glamour consist almost entirely of photos: some with one larger image and others littered with smaller, less artistic shots. The front portion offers a few words from the collector, Nicola Erni, and a short essay on the era written by the curator, Petra Giloy-Hirtz (which, if you’re interested, are also printed in German). As Erni and Hirtz explain, the images published in the book show a very specific slice of the sixties, focusing on glamour, wealth, and art, and purposely leaving out important historical events like the hippie movement and Vietnam War. The faces scattered throughout this massive book are those of socialites and filmmakers, models, and royalty—from Bardot to Warhol and everyone in between. The photography documents the mingling of classes and cliques that took place during the ’60s, when the rich fueled the creative and vice versa. The word “zeitgeist” can be defined as “the spirit of a time,” and the spirit conveyed in Zeitgeist and Glamour is the attitude that suddenly anything was possible (if you had the money).

The photos chosen for this particular collection are a mirror of Erni’s interest in the “Jet Set” society, a group of wealthy nomads who used air travel innovation to get the best the world had to offer at the time. A single day could include shopping in Paris, hair appointments in London, and partying on the Côte d’Azur. This was an unmatched show of excess and eccentricity, and it’s no wonder this over-the-top lifestyle led to the birth of paparrazi photography, as everyone wanted a piece of the grandeur. The high-society life of the ’60s was so craved by the public that many of the most famed photographers of the time came from within the circles they are known for capturing on film, such as Robert Mapplethorpe and his work with Patti Smith and the inhabitants of the Chelsea Hotel in New York City.

The concept of paparazzi photography has always confused me: why would I want to admire poorly shot, quickly snapped photos of someone else doing everyday things in ridiculously expensive clothing? Where is the beauty and glamour in that? I finally discovered the art in paparazzi photos when flipping through Zeitgeist and Glamour, where one can find a collection of celebrity snapshots from the era of hope and change. Although the book contains formal fashion photography from the likes of Avedon and Mapplethorpe, most pages consist of tiny snapshots of a different world, where the rich and famous are always photo-ready and flawless. There are no grotesque shots of celebrities eating cheeseburgers or accidentally flashing a camera while exiting a vehicle—the photos here provide a gaze into a time when paparazzi photos were art, catching the glamour and beauty of an unattainable world as their subjects jet-set by at new speeds, although I’m still unsure about their deeper meaning.

Zietgeist and Glamour has useful information, like mini-biographies of each featured photographer, and a short description of what the metropolitan hotspots were like at the time (New York, Côte d’Azur, London, Paris, and Rome). But I found myself confused and frustrated by the “rich and glamorous” theme of the series. Excluding crucial pieces of the era—such as the civil rights movement, feminism, and the Vietnam War—in order to focus on jet-setting and wealth didn’t sit very well with me in the end.

Zeitgeist and Glamour, Photography of the 60’s and 70’s, by Petra Giloy-Hirtz, Ira Stehmann, Nicola Erni, Prestel 2011.
book report by Alyssa Garrison
photography by Brittany Lucas

Crushing on Inez Genereux

When Inez Genereux entered WORN’s Black Cat Ball last year, all the Wornettes could do was stare. Inez (or Nezzie as her friends call her) has a cloud of swoon-worthy qualities that float around her like the scent of a just-strong-enough perfume. From her bleached Bettie Page bangs to her fearless footwear choices, Inez has the aura of a magical creature, and the energy of a five-year-old at a birthday party. An artist, Magic Pony super-employee, and generally awesome creative person, Inez talks to WORN about kitties, children’s hair accessories, and lemon meringue pie.

Side note: we’re also crushing on Inez’s boyfriend Landon, one of the models from Unbinding Binaries in Issue 13.

How would you describe your style in one word?
Ummm, can I say unicorn? Even though it’s not an adjective?

What’s the last thing you bought for yourself?
Probably my shoes? They’re little party shoes that have silk-screened bursts of colour. Imagine the party hats you had when you were eight years old, and they have weird squares and circles and squiggles with different primary colours that look like shouting marks on them.

What can you not stop wearing right now?
My new tote bag that I got at the Hunx & His Punx concert. It’s like two pages from a comic that he did silkscreened onto each side of the bag, where it’s these really crudely drawn images of “Call 1-800-HOT-SEX, meet local babes,” or “Teen struck by fatal acne cream accident.” with all these spreads and cutouts from teen magazines, but it’s all really vulgar? It’s really, really good, and it was five bucks.

What’s that in your hair?
Oh, it’s something from the children’s section at H&M. There’s a little pink bow back there, you can’t see it, and then this one’s a little plush heart.
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Worn to WORN: Alyssa is Catwoman

What inspired this outfit?
Honestly? I would have to say it’s a tie… between my two very fashionable cats (seriously: one sports a bowtie and the other is named Coco Chanel). My shifts at WORN present rare opportunities to play with my favorite dressing concept: themes. This very cat themed outfit seemed like just the thing to keep the giddy smile my cats give me in the morning on my face all day. I mean, how can I not smile when wearing this level of cat-ness?

Tell me about one of the items you’re wearing.
This sweater has quickly turned into one of those items I will create any excuse to wear. I’m cold? Cat sweater. Bored? Cat sweater. Need a hug? Cat sweater. Since the moment I saw it on Little Doodles, the blog of one of my favorite whimsical doodlers, I knew it had to be mine. I ordered it from Indonesia in the middle of the night while vacationing in NYC. It was sold out by morning. Since ripping it from its pristine yellow envelope, I have barely had the heart to peel it from my torso for a wash. My favorite detail is the fuzzy grandma-like embroidered words.

What’s the best book to read in this outfit?
I’ll bypass my childhood favourite A House Full of Cats at the risk of sounding juvenile and take the more adult route. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer is by far the most extensive, well-written animal related book I have ever set eyes on. Foer delves into the intelligence levels of animals, from cats to turkeys, and deconstructs the reasoning behind choosing to eat some but not others. This intelligent piece of literary journalism is a must-read for animal lovers and meat lovers alike. I figure if I’m going to wear my cat obsession on my sleeve (or chest, rather), I may as well do so while curled up with a great book about animal rights amongst good company.

Of course, by “good company” I mean cats.

What style icon would wear this outfit?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, if she were to exist in modern times. The black ballet flats combined with her obvious love for Cat, her cat, would make her a perfect candidate to showcase this cat-tastic style.

Shopping Credits: Earrings from H&M, sweater by The Balletcats, shorts by Cheap Monday (re-appropriated from when my trans boyfriend was living as a girl), shoes from Marc by Marc Jacobs, mask from the Worn offices (as seen on the cover of issue 13).

The Beauty in Binding

Binders are the antithesis of a bra. Bras, with their tendency to be colourful and embellished, are available in wild and wondrous patterns and shapes of every sort; they’re built to cup and lift, and designed to be seen and admired. Binders, on the other hand, are plain and inconspicuous, built to be worn like a second skin and designed not for the eye, but simply to perform a purpose; they flatten and shape a chest, creating a more masculine, square form for those who don’t wish to show their breasts. Bras have been considered beautiful and often liberating—but who says binders can’t be too? Kyle Lasky shows binders as a work of art in “Presence In Absense,” a photo series that captures the pain, liberation, and beauty in binders.

Kyle is a queer photographer based in Toronto who has just launched their first solo show with “Presence in Absence” this month at the female-friendly sex shop Come As You Are. Kyle chose binders because, “for a lot of people who bind, a binder is the final layer in undressing, so these photos actually function as nudes, they’re portraits of bare chests.” By presenting the binder as a chest itself, the wish of the wearer is being granted; the photos show almost no sign of a traditionally feminine form.

Binders are essentially an extremely tight fitting sort of modern version of a corset, and are used exclusively to flatten breasts and create a male contour chest. They’re worn almost equally by masculine identified people and feminine identified people, and most importantly they provide a surgery-free option of comfort for those who can’t afford the expenses and down-time a mastectomy can demand.
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