The Mainbocher Corset

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Horst P. Horst, most often known as just Horst, (1906 –1999) was a German American photographer best known for his photographs of women and fashion taken while working for Vogue magazine. His work frequently reflects his interest in surrealism and his regard of the ancient Greek ideal of physical beauty. For Vogue, he created one of the great iconic photos of the Twentieth-Century, “The Mainbocher Corset”. This photograph with its erotically charged mystery appeared in the September 15, 1939 Vogue. Seen from behind, a model sits on a wooden bench, looking down through her arms. She wears a back-lacing corset by Detolle for Mainbocher. Horst treats her body like a living sculpture, and this piece is as much a figure study as an image of a quotidian bit of lingerie. To this day, designers like Donna Karan continue to use the timeless beauty of “The Mainbocher Corset” as an inspiration for their outerwear collections today.