I consider myself extremely lucky to be a part of a family where I have been brought up with and around strong women. However it was not only in my personal family life, but strong female icons were a theme in my household growing up, from Katherine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand to Frida Kahlo and Malorie Blackman. With such strong women being a consistent, Marlene Dietrich was a favourite of mine, with her grace and elegance combined with the power she held on screen, she was a force to be reckoned with.
© Don English (supervised by Joseph von Sternberg), 1932 from Obsession: Marlene Dietrich, The Pierre Passebon Collection (Flammarion, 2017).
Marlene Dietrich, a name that sends shivers down my spine, an icon in fashion, film and music, a triple threat at its finest. Not only was she an inspired talent but she’s infamous for opposing gender norms and creating androgynous and new looks in an era where it was considered to be strange. Whether Marlene wore trousers in public or the silver screen, she created trends and gender norms that hadn’t been noticed and accepted by many before, and up until the last sixty years was still yet to be appreciated.
With the release of the new illustrated book, Obsession; Marlene Dietrich, The Pierre Passebon Collection by Henry-Jean Servat, we get an insight into some of the most wonderful moments and images of Marlene, curated by Pierre Passebon, who has 2000 photographs of her in his personal collection. This curated collection features film stills, photographs by master photographers like Irving Penn and Cecil Beaton, as well as rare images from Pierre Passebon’s personal collection. Dietrich was notorious for constructing her own image through her control and participation in photoshoots of herself, creating a unique and modern image of an independent woman.
© Scotty Welbourne, 1941 from Obsession: Marlene Dietrich, The Pierre Passebon Collection (Flammarion, 2017).
Throughout fashion, film and music history, Marlene Dietrich has influenced the masses. Most notably she was the muse for Yves Saint Laurent’s tuxedos but has furthered her influence in a modern era. Last year her influence was marvellously recognised by Sasha Velour on Ru Paul’s Drag Race’s Snatch Game, as well as having an actress play her as a cameo in Amazon’s The Last Tycoon. Most recently, Swarovski commisiioned a 1920s style evening gown honouring Marlene Dietrich, that is being housed in the Elektro Couture studio in Berlin.
© William Walling Jr. (supervised by Josef von Sternberg), 1932 from Obsession: Marlene Dietrich, The Pierre Passebon Collection (Flammarion, 2017).
Dietrich was at the time, an inspiration and influence in framing society as well as a being a crucial part in the movement towards gender equality by pushing the boundaries of gender and androgyny, which was practically unheard of. Obsession; Marlene Dietrich, The Pierre Passebon Collection is a wonderful assortment of images that is a must-have for the Dietrich-obsessed and 1920s inspired fanatics worldwide. This sensational collection embodies the icon that is Marlene Dietrich and what she stood for in her fashion, film and art.
Obsession; Marlene Dietrich, The Pierre Passebon Collection Available Here