Over the weekend I went and saw ‘Polyester & Pantyhose Silhouettes of the Sixties’. A boutique exhibition celebrating fashion of the sixties from the mini to the maxi. Fashion that was so iconic it broke societal mores and even today, still has the ability to influence modern fashion trends.
The exhibition also featured the work of Bruno Benini, an Italian born, Melbourne based fashion photographer who worked during the sixties for Vogue Australia. His work was often defined by his surprising locations and use of props styled beautifully by his wife Hazel.
I am a big fan of sixties fashion and have fond memories of my dress-up box as a child that was full of my Mums discarded ball gowns she had kept for me to play with. Most interestingly though, was the fact that my Grandmother worked with Hazel Benini in swinging sixties Melbourne in the display department of a large Melbourne retailer. My mum remembers Bruno and Hazel Benini well, their white Persian cats and their love of fashion.
What I saw in Benini’s photographs was an era of fashion photography that doesn’t exist anymore. Photoshop wasn’t around and the models while stunning, looked real. There were no airbrushed arms, elongated legs, cut-out waists or perfectly plumped lips and that’s what I admired most. The process of photography and design has changed so dramatically since the sixties and while it brings a new level of digital opportunity to the industry it is wonderful to see work produced in an era where the ‘craft of photography’ was as important as the talent.