The idea of an adventurous, independent woman was a pipe dream during the Second World War and the post-war era. A-line dresses were women's uniforms. Being the 'wife' is all a woman could be; advertisements, commercial photographs and other medium involving women would have them portrayed as the domestic keeper of the household.
Enter Louise-Dahl Wolfe. the photographer who introduced the 'female gaze' in fashion.
Dahl-Wolfe had a more relaxed aesthetic for women. She paved way for use of color and natural daylight in fashion photography, a visual that was still new for European fashion photographers. It amplified the look of the 'modern American woman', and soon natural light photography became a trend for high fashion.
In addition to her contributions to fashion, Dahl-Wolfe was a portraitist for prominent writers like WH Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Jean Cocteau, Edith Sitwell, Colette, and Carson McCullers, as well as celebrities Bette Davis, Orson Welles, Vivien Leigh, James Cagney, and Veronica Lake.
Visit Louise Dahl-Wolfe: A Style of Her Own at the NRW Forum in Dusseldorf, running through May 20.
Images are from the press kit.