Fashion model, surrealist artist, muse, photographer, war correspondent—Lee Miller defies categorization. She was a woman who refused to be penned in, a free spirit constantly on the move from New York to London to Paris, from husbands to lovers and back, from photojournalistic objectivism to surrealism.
Midcareer, she made the unprecedented transition from one side of the lens to the other, from a Condé Nast model in Jazz Age New York to fashion photographer, creating stunning images that imbued fashion with her signature wit and whimsy. Miller became a celebrated Surrealist under the tutelage of her lover, Man Ray, and then joined the war effort during World War II, documenting everything from the liberation of concentration camps to the daily life of Nazi-occupied Paris. Miller was recognized as “one of the most distinguished living photographers” during her hey-day as a fashion photographer, but an astonishing number of these images have remained unpublished. Lee Miller in Fashion is the first book to examine how her career as a model and fashion photographer illuminates her life story and connects to international fashion history from the late 1920s until the early 1950s.
The world of fashion emerges as the backbone of Miller’s creative development, as well as an integral lens through which to understand the effects of war on the lives of women in the 1940s and 1950s. Miller witnessed incredible acts of resistance born out through fashion—and her photographic record of women’s indomitable spirit even in times of war has remained an invaluable resource in fashion and global history. Lee Miller in Fashion presents these striking archival fashion photographs as well as contact sheets, memos, and Miller’s published illustrations, vividly setting the wit, irrepressible creativity, and daring of Miller within the larger story of women’s experience of fashion, art, and war in the twentieth century.
“In all her different worlds, she moved with freedom. In all her roles, she was her own bold self.”