The V&A Museum held a press launch yesterday for their exhibition Horst: Photographer of Style, which opens on 6 September. I went along to cover the story for Demotix.
The lure for photographers was a photo call with 83-year old model Carmen Dell'Orefice, a New Yorker who started modelling at the age of 14. In an interview on the Today programme, she said she used to roller-skate to her early shoots. She worked for Horst regularly over the following decades during the period when he was regularly supplying Vogue covers (94 between 1935 and 1963). The Vogue covers are all in the exhibition, as well as some huge C-type prints taken from his original transparencies in the Conde Nast archives.
Carmen came out and posed next to a photograph of her which Horst took in 1947, in which she's wearing a white lace dress with a green sash, by Hettie Carnegie. Frankly, I think she looks better now, in a sleek trouser suit and huge gold pendant. She struck lots of poses, showed her fantastic animated features at their best and threw her head back in silent fake laughs. She had a dry wit and lots of charm, wrapping up the session after 15 minutes by saying, 'If you haven't got something by now, you're not professionals.'
Anna Watson: photographer, parent, juggler