Go behind the SEEN with Fashion Director Rachel Schostak as she shares why our spring fashion editorial at the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House is significant in fashion history.

By Rachel Schostak; Featured photo by Hayden Stinebaugh

As a stylist and fashion director, I get overly enthusiastic about every fashion spread we produce and publish! For our spring fashion issue I had the opportunity to create our spring fashion editorial at the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House in Bloomfield Hills. The house, managed by the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, was donated to Cranbrook in 2017 by The Towbes Foundation.

I have been styling for photo shoots for over 13 years — since my college days at the Fashion Institute of Technology. This was, by far, the most meaningful shoot to be a part of and produce. The opportunity to shoot a fashion editorial at a Frank Lloyd Wright property is once in a lifetime. FLW houses are iconic within the architecture and design space. Known for his design aesthetic and structure, Frank Lloyd Wright houses are focused on natural elements and creating harmony within a living space. He often created a sense of utopia.

Stepping into a FLW house, you feel as if you’ve stepped into a time capsule. The Bloomfield Hills home completed in 1950 is a mid-century ranch filled with the Smith family’s art.

After doing research, I realized this shoot was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as it is often hard to get access to a Frank Lloyd Wright property for photoshootsNotablyI discovered that, over the past century, there has been only two fashion editorial shoots produced on a FLW property. The first was by legendary photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe, under direction of Harper’s Bazaar Fashion Editor Diana Vreeland. Dahl-Wolfe shot an iconic image at Wright’s Rose Pauson House in Phoenix for Harper’s Bazaar in January 1942.

Dahl-Wolfe is renowned for being one of the leading fashion photographers from the 1930s to her retirement in 1960.  The National Museum of Women in the Arts describes she had “considerable creative freedom” working with Vreeland.

“Dahl-Wolfe often juxtaposed her models with famous works of art, resulting in surprising and irreverent compositions. Fashion assignments led her to locations around the world, where she posed her models outdoors, in natural light,” the museum website states. “Throughout this period, Dahl-Wolfe also created striking portrait photographs of society figures and art world celebrities.”

More recently, “Artist in Residence” was photographed at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West home in the Arizona dessert and published by Town and Country magazine in 2013.

FLW has inspired many current architects, artists and fashion designers to use elements of his natural wonders and structures in their work. It was a privilege for us, locally, to work with Cranbrook and to create our landmark spring 2019 fashion story using the artistic elements of the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House.

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