Bring back some good or bad memories


February 11, 2023

25 Stunning Color Photos of American Model Marilyn Ambrose in the 1940s

Many of the top models of the Forties and Fifties enjoyed exceptionally long careers. But even by those standards, Marilyn Ambrose was exceptional, enjoying two decades of top-flight success — forging a now-faded reputation as one of the most elegant women in fashion.

In 1947, Irving Penn’s now-iconic portrait of the most photographed models in America was first published. Shot against a sparse studio backdrop, the picture documented a group of poised, mature women in their thirties and forties. The only exception was a 24-year-old called Marilyn Ambrose, drafted in (alongside Dorian Leigh) as a last-minute substitute.

A year later, Ambrose appeared in another famous group image, this time waring Charles James gowns for Cecil Beaton. Three years later, she’s hovering in the margins of a Mark Shaw image of the Ford Agency’s top models, sandwiched between Lucille Lewis and Jean Patchett. Fast forward to the end of the Fifties, and there she is again; this one taken by Richard Avedon and printed in McCall’s, under the headline ‘A MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF MODELS!’

Ambrose was profiled by the New York Times in 1961, as she was making the shift behind the camera to life as a photographer’s representative, she reflected; “You’re spoiled when you model. People pamper you. Photographers and editors flatter you. You wear prettier clothes and travel to places you could never afford otherwise. And you begin to think you deserve it.”

Take a look at these stunning color photos to see portraits of a young Marilyn Ambrose as a model in the 1940s.

Marilyn Ambrose in pure wool suit with striped taffeta bow by Carolyn Modes, black fox hat and muff from Arnold Constable, photo by Horst P. Horst used for cover, Vogue, 1942

Marilyn Ambrose in slacks of labtex fabric and teal shirt in DuPont rayon, photo by Horst P. Horst, Glamour, 1942

Marilyn Ambrose, Vogue, August 15, 1942

Marilyn Ambrose as medieval bride in hooded ivory cape with gold sequins and pearl bead edge banding, over an ivory sheath with appliqued flowers of golden sequins and pearl beads, both by Traina-Norell, Vogue, 1943

Marilyn Ambrose in Egyptian-inspired evening look, wide Nefertiti collar consists of gold nailhead bands on a short tunic over fitted black skirt by Adrian, photo by Constantin Joffé, Vogue, 1943

Marilyn Ambrose standing at Ann Delafield's health bar in the Richard Hudnut Salon wearing a Forstmann tweed and corduroy suit, photo by John Rawlings, circa 1943

Marilyn Ambrose in black wool skirt with multi-colored striped silk crêpe blouse and green snake belt, accented with green jersey gloves and feathered hat, photo by John Rawlings, Vogue, 1944

Marilyn Ambrose in blue and black wool suit by Cohama, photo by John Rawlings, Vogue 1944

Marilyn Ambrose in gray wool suit trimmed with red by Foxbrownie, photo by John Rawlings, Vogue, 1944

Marilyn Ambrose photographed by John Rawlings, US Vogue, January 1, 1944

Marilyn Ambrose, Vogue, 1944

Marilyn Ambrose in blue and black print dress of rayon jersey by Adele Simpson, photo by Constantin Joffé, Vogue, 1945

Marilyn Ambrose in taupe wool dress from a Vogue Pattern and velvet gauntlet gloves, photo by Clifford Coffin, Vogue, 1945

Marilyn Ambrose is wearing an Egyptian-inspired beige dinner dress from Omar Kiam, photo by John Rawlings, Metropolitan Museum's Temple of Dendur, New York, 1945

Marilyn Ambrose in beautiful evening gown by Adrian photo by George Platt Lynes, Vogue, November 15, 1946

Marilyn Ambrose in dramatic evening gown with satin stripe yarn-dyed taffeta woven with Enka Rayon by Emmett Joyce of Samuel Kass, photo by John Rawlings, Vogue, October 15, 1946

Marilyn Ambrose in three-piece suit of Enka rayon and wool by Philip Mangone, hat by John Frederics, photo by John Rawlings, Harper's Bazaar, October 1946

Marilyn Ambrose in a Cohama rayon faille crêpe dress by Miss America, Vogue, November 15, 1947

Marilyn Ambrose in blue jersey dress with longer pleated skirt and high small waist by B.H.Wragge, photo by Genevieve Naylor, Harper's Bazaar, August 1947

Marilyn Ambrose in cinnamon-and-black rayon print dress with swag drapery across the hips, hat by John Frederics, photo by Leslie Gill, Harper's Bazaar, April 1947

Marilyn Ambrose in a white summer dress with full ballerina skirt by Frances Sider and white tied sandals, photo by Gleb Derujinsky, May 1948

Marilyn Ambrose in Enka rayon crêpe dress by Herbert Sondheim, photo by Weitzen at The Cloister, Sea Island, Georgia, Vogue, May 1, 1948

Marilyn Ambrose in pink print dress and black wide-brimmed hat, photo by Horst P. Horst, 1948

Marilyn Ambrose in beautiful orchid Celanese taffeta-rayon gown designed by Martini, Harper's Bazaar, November 1949

Marilyn Ambrose in evening gown of Enka rayon in Menke Lieberman print by Ben Gam, fur stole by Fredrica, jewelry by Seaman Schepps, Harper's Bazaar, March 1949


Post a Comment



Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10