by Angeliska on May 1, 2009
ca. 1926 – Two models posed amid trees and flowers,
wearing masks by the Polish illustrator and painter, W.T. Benda:
Marion Morehouse, left, seated on the ground,
wearing a bouffant dress in white organdy and chiffon;
Helen Lyons, standing with parasol in hand,
wearing a long sleeve dress in printed chiffon by Kargere.
This is one of my favorite images- and I have long loved
the illustration and mask-making of Mr. Wladyslaw Theodor Benda.
Awhile ago I came across the shoot that Tim Walker
did for Vogue Italia entitled Fairy Time that was inspired
by Benda’s work, and the strange concept of having
incredibly beautiful models transformed into living
mannequins by these eerily perfect and utterly immobile masks.
I’ve always been captivated by the original images,
and I like what Walker’s done with the idea-
the evil queens and princesses turned to stone.
You can see the whole spread at Foto Decadent-
be sure to peer at the first two there, with the lopped heads
and apple trees! Obviously, they are my favorites.
I’m not sure where this one came from- but I adore it.
[UPDATE! - photo by Umbo (Otto Umbehr) Thank you, April!]
Look at them kissing! So tender, for wax and plaster.
I am always wishing to stumble upon one of these 1920′s
heads to hang my hats on. I always imagine the abandoned
department stores after the war full of them, glassy eyed
and smiling. So many just tossed in the garbage- I mourn
for them as if they lived! I seem to recall seeing a short film
a while back, about a family of those mannequins living
in a ruined building- it was made using stop-motion animation..
Is that ringing any bells? I’d love to see it again.