The Divine Decadence of Helmut Newton
As I mentioned recently, the current fascination amongst certain runway designers and celebrities with racy lingerie looks often brings to mind Helmut Newton's style of photography. If only he were still alive, what a moment he'd be having. Unfortunately he died in a macabre accident when his car hit a wall in the driveway of Chateau Marmont which had for several years served as his L.A. residence. It has been speculated that Newton suffered a heart attack in the moments before the collision.
Newton favorite Nadja Auermann appeared in many of his portraits including these photos taken for American Vogue in 1994.
Newton was born in Berlin in 1920. The 1972 movie Cabaret based on a novel written by British author Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin evokes the air of danger and desperation prevalent during the years of the Weimar Republic as Hitler rose to power and Jews were increasingly discriminated against. Seemingly the spirit of smoke-filled, pre-WW2 German night-clubs full of women in various stages of undress never left Newton as his portraits of women are filled with similarly provocative corsetry and poses. Another influence had to be the glorious story of Der blaue Engel , a German movie from 1930 starring Marlene Dietrich as seductive cabaret artiste, Lola.