Fashion Inspiration of the Day: Lillian Bassman

Around this time of year, I find myself settling into the mundane cycle of school life. School has been in session for months already, Christmas break rife with relaxation and twinkling lights is almost here, and the weight of impending exams and papers has significantly increased. As a result, my sense of fashion has also fallen into a rut. I’ve found myself settling into a daily pattern: boots, jeans, sweater, and scarf. It’s not that I don’t have time to think about an outfit—I just feel uninspired. So in the hope of curing an enduring sense of ennui, I looked to fashion idols, photographs, and the people around me. After searching for a source of inspiration, I found mine in a series of photographs by Lillian Bassman.


Image courtesy of

Bassman died earlier this year at the age of 94, and for most of her life, she was known as a master of fine-art photography. Bassman was a true New York woman: she was born in Brooklyn, grew up in the Bronx, and studied in Manhattan. Her life changed when she became an unpaid apprentice at Harper’s Bazaar in 1941, as she would go on to become one of the magazine’s top photographers. A true artist, Bassman experimented with lighting, contrast, and the willowy forms of her models to create beautiful, dreamy portraits of women who seem almost abstracted.




Images courtesy of


Image courtesy of





Images courtesy of

Bassman, however, was known most famously, or infamously, for destroying almost all of her commercial negatives in 1969 after becoming disgusted by the models and changing aesthetics of the fashion industry. Later in life, Bassman would re-interpret her remaining negatives with further experimentation and revisit what made her so popular in the first place.

Despite the vicissitudes of her career, I have felt the power of her photography. Many of the images are simply breathtaking, and looking at them is like stumbling upon a hazy dream of remarkable fashion and remarkable women. Hopefully, these photographs can serve to inspire anyone who is currently suffering from this listless sense of ennui.

“The Sartorialist”: Fashion Inspiration

The Sartorialist

Image from

Clicking through numerous fashion websites and blogs today I eventually found my way to a page stocked full of bright and interesting photos.  These photos did not contain the latest trends or the newest fall coat, but real life people in their real life outfits.  These pictures, taken from the streets of various cities such as NYC, Paris and Milano, portray people running to grab Starbucks or hailing a cab for work, all while displaying impeccable style.  Scott Schuman, the writer and photographer behind the blog, envisioned his site as a place to display photos of people who, in turn, would give inspiration to his viewers.

Schuman says, “My only strategy when I began The Sartorialist was to try and shoot style in a way that I knew most designers hunted for inspiration. Rarely do they look at the whole outfit as a yes or no but they try and look for the abstract concepts of color, proportion, pattern mixing or mixed genres.”

Check out The Sartorialist to get your own inspiration!


Editor’s note: We’ve blogged about The Sartorialist before, but it’s always refreshing to hear another opinion!  If you like The Sartorialist, check out Jak & Jil and Garance Doré (Scott’s girlfriend!). Don’t forget, you can buy The Sartorialist’s book – not your typical coffee-table-sized book, it’s perfect for reading on the go.  It’s almost entirely pictures – some from the website, some previously unseen.  It’s sold at Barnes & Noble (both Durham and Southpoint stores), and I’ve seen it at Anthropologie at Southpoint as well.  Seriously, it’s totally worth the money!

Creative professionals destructing adventurous and provocative scenes of innovative fashion to produce tantalizingly fresh works of art.

These words sum up just a minuscule portion of statements that could be used to describe

The site showcases both original portfolios of professional photographers as well as the fashion collections of numerous top designers.

Giuliano Bekor created prints for the Eva Culture look book capturing the elegance of the beautifully draped clothing while pushing for a strong sense of romance through the model’s poses and dramatic hair.

Eva Culture

Eva Culture

Humor also plays a role in some of the more editorial shoots.  I could not get over the ridiculous makeup and setup of Ben Duarte’s Circus Life editorial featuring models in a strange array of prints and shapes with full on clown makeup.  What exactly is remotely pretty or interesting about girls in straw with a circus tent as a background?  Maybe others think differently but honestly, clowns are scary!

Scary? Non?

Scary? Non? definitely can take the viewer by surprise but its power to do so makes the up-and-coming site worthwhile to check out.

I’ll end with a quote from Lady GaGa.  It goes out to all my friends with a similar fetish for beautiful clothing WAYYY above our price line.

“We live a cute life
Soundfematic, pants tigh-ter than plastic, honey
But we got no money”

How do you get your fashion fix?

During the day, whenever I have a spare moment, I automatically turn to my VERY long list of fashion blogs. Beyond sales and even the clothes, there’s something about the fashion world that is so addicting that it requires updates every few minutes.  I’ve compiled my top 5 (it was a very long process, as I read about 500 a day).

Paris 2009

Paris 2009, property of The Sartorialist

  1. The Sartorialist: an impeccably dressed (and cute) former menswear director at Bergdorf’s takes beautiful pictures of stylish men and women ranging from the fashion elite to the very layered homeless man.  Never critical, always interesting.
  2. The Cut: One of NYMag’s many blogs, this one is focused entirely on fashion.  And as an established institution located in NYC, The Cut provides cutting-edge (HAHA PUN) news, inside interviews, and sarcastic recaps of The Hills.  Honestly, what more could you want?
  3. Garance Doré: a French illustrator and photographer takes a lot of pictures of well-dressed French people.  Less diversity than the Sart, but always inspirational (and jealousy-inspiring).
  4. Fashionista: An independent blog founded by a current Nylon editor, Fashionista is known for its fashion news and model obsessions.  With fun trivia at the end of the day, their controversial “Adventures in Copyright” posts, and witty writing style, Fashionista is a must-read!
  5. Sea of Shoes:  A high school girl has a LOT of shoes.  So. Unfair.  But with a super trendy mom, I guess it’s only natural for her to have all the most coveted shoes of the season – her brands range from Prada to Yohji Yamamoto.  I know, it’s SO unfair.  But she’s gorgeous and has very refined tastes.  And shoes.

How do you get your fashion fix?