The Female Gaze
Ellen von Unwerth in Paris
In November 2017, La Hune burned to the ground. French society cherished the store for the personalities and artists it attracted–Jean-Paul Sartre, Coco Chanel, Albert Camus, and Pablo Picasso, among others. The store was one of the remaining fragments of the legendary “left bank,” and its loss was felt throughout Europe.
One year later, it reopened with a show of work by Ellen von Unwerth, the model-turned-photographer whose prolific portfolio is synonymous with cutting-edge fashion. The show, entitled Guilty Pleasures, offers a lacy and racy glimpse of von Unwerth’s creative point of view. In a collection of 25 photographs, all bearing von Unwerth’s signatures of high contrast and provocative moments, she and La Hune celebrate the legacy of artistic community in Paris.
We proletariats sit across the table from many mysteries in life–the enigma of celebrities, especially, is typically only disclosed by invitation–but von Unwerth has a way of undoing their top few buttons just so. And no one gets upset when she keeps going.
“The female gaze has more depth. It goes a little more into the person, rather than focusing on just the outside, just the beauty. There is more understanding,” von Unwerth said to WWD upon the opening of the show. That “understanding” is contagious; her work captures the distinct confidence of a woman treading through a world in which she is respected. It’s as satisfying–and as French–as a post-coital cigarette.
We can’t wait to see more.