Wordless Wednesday on Thursday,or, Harlem Street Scenes Past and Present

Lovin’ the images!  In the past, on The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm), I’ve posted the iconic photographs of the late Harlem Renaissance photographer extraordinaire, James Vanderzee.

Vanderzee’s photos though capturing the beauty, confidence and aspirations of its Harlem subjects, were predominately studio potraits.  In stark contrast, the above black and white 1940s images are actual street images of Harlem residents going about their everyday lives.

As a proud Harlem native, I’ve always heard stories (as told by my parents and grandparents) of how Harlemnites of the 1940s through 1960s,  would not dare venture onto the Grand Boulevards without being properly and elegantly attired (my parents and grandparents were part of the well-dressed set–I love their old photos).

For men:  Suit, tie, dress coat, hat ( I’m certain that those hats quickly came off when entering a room!); polished shoes.  Women:  Hair (isn’t it always about the hair? *le sigh*), if not freshly  coiffed, a sharp chapeau would be in order, flirty dresses or skirts, pantyhose, fashionable heels (perhaps I.Miller) topped off with a fur collared coat (weather permitting of course).  Children:  Just as fashionable as the parents!

My mother further shared that if a young lady went out earlier in the day–she would not consider returning in the afternoon in the same ensemble.  Hmmmmm.  Really?

Well, famed fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh beautifully recaptured the Harlem Street Style of the 1940s using the photogenic actress Zoe Saldana as his muse.  Photographed on the streets of Harlem for the September 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, it appears as if Saldana, in the true Harlem Street Style of the day, changed up that outfit (notice that the men are donning the same attire in Photo I and Photo II)!—it appears as if my mother was right about the 2 outfit a day requirement.  Ha!

COPYRIGHT 2011.  The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm).  All Rights Reserved.  And I will sue.  Ha!

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