Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Before Anna

....there was Jessica. Jessica Daves that is, Editor-In-Chief of American Vogue from 1952-63. Her predecessor was Vogue's first Editor, the indomitable Edna Woolman Chase & her successor, the flamboyant & fiery Diana Vreeland. Jessica was the second female editor of Vogue & although branded as cautious & level-headed, under her tenure Vogue became multifaceted and broadened its appeal to a much larger cross-section of the American magazine reading public. It is said that she set post-war standards for gracious living & was a pioneer in championing the emerging American ready-to-wear designers of the late-50's, early 60's. Elsa Schiaparelli, Bob Mackie, Oleg Cassini, Isamu Noguchi, Norman Norrell, Halston amongst them

Employing Art Director Alexander Liberman to work with her, she changed the format of the magazine early in her editorialship by publishing the work of photographers Irving Penn & Richard Avedon, who modernized fashion photography by simplifying it. Penn used natural lighting and stripped out all superfluous elements, often using just simple grey or white backdrops for his models. Avedon created spirited, imaginative photographs that showed fashion and the modern 1960's woman in a new light.

Image: Images Art


  1. I love that photo, and I, too, wish that I (ever)possessed that much grace and elegance... anywhere!
    xo Isa

  2. You know when you see a woman in an airport, in the park or at an event- she has that 'something'- grace, style, confidence...maybe all of it-and you just keep peeking from under your magazine or out of the corner of your eye....

  3. Gosh how totally stylish is that woman. Interesting post.

  4. i would like to know more as well.

    this is just the kind of biography i would love to read!.


  5. She oozes style. How gorgeous!

  6. I just think that there are some women that were born with style and elegance. It's just there. Happily, I AM one of those women ... NOT !!!! hahahahahaha...lots of haha's in case anyone thought I meant it.
    A beautiful, pioneering woman who was obviously in the right job, and had found her niche, Mills. XXXX

  7. this is a great photo. but it is not jessica daves from vogue. jessica daves was born feb. 20, 1898. she was 57 years old and was editor-in-chief of vogue in '55 when this photo was taken. her husband was author robert allerton parker, not anyone named mcmanus. she remained married to him and is buried with him in oak hill cemetery in canterville, georgia.

    jessica daves worked for vogue magazine, her career with vogue spanning 30 years.

    jessica, along with 16 other women influential in the business of fashion, was a founding member of the fashion group (now fashion group international). the group first started meeting in 1928, and officially organized in 1930. other founding members included elizabeth arden, helena rubinstein, edith head, edna woolman chase, and eleanor roosevelt. jessica went on to serve as president and chaiman of the board of this group.

    it was jessica, while editor-in-chief, who brought in top photographers such as richard avedon and irving penn and changed the way fashion was photographed forever.

    prior to her working for vogue she was an advertising copywriter. she joined the staff of american vogue in 1933 as merchandise editor, became managing editor in 1946, and 1952. she retired as editor-in-chief on january 1, 1963 but remained on staff as editorial advisor. she wrote several books including: the vogue travel handbook (1950), the world in vogue (1963), the vogue book of menus and recipes for entertaining at home (1964).

    still, the chick on the train looks hot...

  8. Thanks Anon for your valuable comments. I've removed the incorrect image & replaced it with a 1950's Vogue cover. I relied on a number of sources for the pic of Jessica D., obviously their sources were dodgey.
    Millie ^_^


And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

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