Richard Avedon: What’s the surprise?

Richard Avedon - what's the surprise?

I spent last weekend dipping in and out of the Stylist book I bought a couple of weeks ago and can I say it was money well spent. In particular, this quote from Allure creative director Paul Cavaco resonated with me:

“Richard Avedon would ask, ‘What’s the surprise?’ And you’d go, ‘It’s the purple sock,’ so he’d go ‘Okay, move the pant leg up.’ I worked with great visual people who would ask, ‘Why am I looking at this? What is great about this girl? Yes, she’s beautiful, but they’re all beautiful. Show me what is different. Is it lipstick; is it not? What is that hand doing? Is it just shoved in the pocket? Should it be out or should it be showing a nail?’ You have all these options; what are you going to choose? The world is that open; how do you make it yours? That’s the editing process.”

Wise words. The book seems to feature mostly Conde Nast stylists (W, Vogue, Allure) which isn’t all that surprising as is behind it but Sarah Mover’s writing is spot on and it’s just so interesting to get a bit of an insight into these backstage creatives.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl
IMAGE: Richard Avedon
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman

Berlin Bromley, a punk memoir

Berlin Bromley by Bertie Marshall
It’s no secret that I’m a bookaholic and I love reading oral histories and biographies about underground movements, pop culture and subcultures. Off the top of my head I can enthusiastically recommend Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil, Edie an American Biography by Jean Stein, The Last Party by Anthony Haden Guest* and Days in the Life: Voices from the English Underground 1961-71 by Jonathon Green as fascinating, insightful reads. One I hadn’t heard of is Berlin Bromley by Bertie Marshall, a book I read about on this blog.

Marshall was one of the Bromley Contingent, a group of suburbanites which included Siousie Sioux amongst their number who were key players in the early London punk movement. This book documents his growing up in gloomy seventies suburbia and the drug-addled years that followed. (Not a lighthearted read then…)

*Actually this one is rather hard work as the story (about the rise and fall of New York’s nightlife in the 70s) does have so many twists, turns and characters but it’s a worthwhile read to dip into and get a feel for the hedonistic goings-on of the era.


Books and bags

Tiffany's Table Manners For Teenagers by Walter Hoving

What are we thinking about bumbags? Being a virgo I’m all for fashion meets function and bumbags are the epitome of that, with the added bonus of tapping into the eighties rehash. I’m surprised it’s taken American Apparel so long to latch on but I finally saw a nice purple one in the window today.

A delivery from Amazon yesterday brought me Tiffany’s Table Manners For Teenagers by Walter Hoving. Written in the sixties it’s a very witty book about table manners –useful but quirky– I recommend it!