These past few months at MISS forced me to dig into the back of America’s storage space and finally bring the works of these amazing women to the masses. Some of these women are still here with us, others have passed away. Either way it goes they have made it through the sexism of this country’s history and prevailed. Their contributions are timeless and should be appreciated. These ladies kicked ass, looked good doing it, and made moolah in the process! We’re talking dolla dolla bills y’all!
I chose these ladies because I see a bit of myself in all of them. True inspiration to make me bust my tush and make my dreams come true.
Lorraine O’ Grady : The Rebel. I love her “F U society” attitude. Its what made me feature her. Shes up front and doesn’t sugar coat anything for the sake of society’s expectations. Her work addresses the issues of racism, black female subjectivity, and the African diaspora. Lorraine is a multifaceted artist and definitely someone worth learning more about.
Ellen Auerbach and Grete Stern: The Tomboys. We all know of the social expectations that have been placed upon women throughout history. Although Ellen and Grete were born in Germany, the same expectations applied to them. These ladies did the opposite of what was expected of them and their photography showed it. Their photographs were subtle criticisms of societal expectations placed on women. I chose these ladies not only for their accomplishments, but also for their love of doing “man things.” They moved to Berlin together because it wasn’t uncommon for women to smoke, wear pants, and cut their hair as short as they liked.
Adrian Margaret Smith Piper: The Proud Minority. This woman faced racism head on. Her works are in-your-face exposures about the taboo topic. Adrian was aware of the odds against her from the beginning and still made a HELL of a name for herself. She has a PhD from Harvard for Pete’s sake! She is noted as the first tenured African-American woman professor in the field of Philosophy.
Remedios Varo: La Mamacita. I HAD to feature this woman. Her work is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen and shes absolutely beautiful. Although she was forced into exile by Nazis, María de los Remedios Varo Uranga still made it happen. She speaks Spanish, shes talented, shes driven, and shes hot.
Elsa Schiaparelli: The Risk Taker. Elsa was born in a palace…literally. With such extravagant beginnings she was destined to do something fab. Shes the Risk Taker because she was the first designer to use shoulder pads, hot pink, animal print, and zippers the same color as the garments. To top it all off, she was designing the same time as Chanel and still gained recognition. She is a BEAST!
Jackie Ormes: The Fashionista. Jackie had a love for the female body and a passion for fashion. The birth of two fashionable Black cartoon characters came from her ink pen. Nobody expected a toon about an outspoken, pin-up looking girl to make such am impact.
Lilly Daché: The Dreamer. We all have dream, but we all dont have the drive to make them come true. Lilly left France for New York City at the age of 16 with only $13 in her pocket. By the end of her career, Lilly’s designs were on the heads of actresses like Audrey Hepburn.
Nan Goldin: The Party Girl. Although the sleepless nights spent on the NYC party scene may not have ended in the most healthy relationships, Nan found the beauty in them. She took everyday occurences (both good and bad) and documented them via photo. The result is a shocking yet realistic photo album on Nan’s life.
Madame Adrienne: The Mysterious One. There isnt much information out there about this lady. All I know is that she designed undies in the 1950s and that her designs are AMAZING! I wish I had one of those corsets to decorate my chesticles.
These ladies are definitely some inspirational women who are proof that we, as women, can make it happen cap’n. Oh behalf of myself and the entire MISS Crew I thank these ladies for their contributions to the art world and for leading by example. As I always say, dream chasers can never stop running and these ladies sprinted towards their dreams.
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