It was the moment when New York became the apex of fashion, art and music. It was May 2, 1977, at Studio 54 – Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell’s new club that Bianca Jagger rode into on a white horse to celebrate her 30th birthday. The only photographer to capture this moment – (one of the 21st century’s most pop-culturally defining) was Rose Hartman. This and many other remarkable images are featured in her recent book – Incomparable Women of Style.
This is a book for fans of photography, fashion tragics and popular culture obsessives. Detailing more than 35 years of events, openings and runway shows, the subjects are a who’s who of fashion, film, art, music and gossip columns. They are the supermodels, the superstars and the super-rich: Jackie O, Anna Wintour, Jerry Hall, Linda Evangelista, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Grace Jones and Daphne Guinness.
That time was as academic Elizabeth Currid defined in her 2008 treatise, as “The Warhol Economy”. Fashion, art and music define the economy of New York. Hartman characterizes her documentary style as “really about the irrevocable, intricately orchestrated pattern of events and energies that make fashion the heady experience that it is.”
This accidental social documentarian used to stash her camera in a speaker when she took to the dance floor at a party with the glitterati. Today, Rambling Rose uses smaller, digital cameras that guarantee her a little more discretion.
In the book, she speaks of “… true originals, women in control of their sensibility. She might discard lovers or friends, but she would never abandon style”.
When interviewed at the book launch she cited Jacqueline Onassis, Bianca Jagger, Kate Moss, Lauren Hutton and Naomi Campbell as the most stylish women she ever photographed.
She hopes her legacy will be “capturing an intimate moment in sheer chaos, that no one would ever know what was surrounding her”.
‘Incomparable Women of Style’ is published by Antique Collector’s Club and features more than 200 photographs of the rich, the famous, the beautiful as well as some never-before-seen images of New York City’s underground style icons of the ’70’s and ’80’s. www.antiquecollectorsclub.com/uk