There are very few periods in history as downright dapper as the 1950s. Voluminous skirts and tiny waists, oversized hats and Hollywood curls – this was truly fashion at its best.
And now the elegance and glamour of the time is captured in a brand new exhibition at the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Model Image: fashion and photos from the 1950s, open from 20 October 2017 – 15 April 2018, explores the life of one of the top British models of the era, Liverpool-born June Duncan (1924-2014).
June’s modelling career was an exhilarating whirl of fashion shoots, front covers and haute couture. The exhibition encapsulates June’s rise from child actor to cover girl through stunning prints of her by some of the most high-profile photographers of the decade, including John French, Eugene Vernier, Hans Wild and Noel Mayne.
The show also features effortlessly stylish 1950s evening dresses and accessories from National Museums Liverpool’s collection.
Pauline Rushton, Senior Curator, said: “June was born in the Liverpool suburb of Mossley Hill in 1924 and went on to appear as a model in the most iconic fashion magazines, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair and Tatler.
“It has been a privilege to find out about June’s stellar rise from her sister Barbara, who has so kindly shared June’s photographs and memoirs with us. We’re excited to show the beautifully evocative photographs that really capture the refined grace of the decade.
“From her time as a child actor on stage at Liverpool’s Empire and Playhouse theatres, to wartime service in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRENS), to her days in Paris appearing in French Vogue and modelling for haute couture houses including Christian Dior, June summed up the experience perfectly herself. Looking back she wrote, ‘Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and wonder if I dreamed those heady days at the peak of my career in the glamour and fashion world of the 1950s.'”
Discover more at liverpoolmuseums.org.uk.
Main image: June modelling a tailored wool suit holding the brim of her picture hat about 1951-52 location and photographer unknown | All images courtesy of Lady Lever Art Gallery