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Milton Watson and Barbara Bradford Mann (George Mann’s wife), New York – 1937. Milton Watson sang with the Paul Ash Orchestra and appeared in movies and Broadway...
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Fashion sense
George Mann took many portraits of his friends, colleagues and his model wife Barbara Bradford. Charming black and white photographs showcasing 1930s fashion are the result. Bring on the tweed suit, pillbox hat and birdcage veil – and marvel at a time lost.

In the 1930s, ladies’ fashion returned to a classical feminine silhouette. Post-depression era saw an increased demand towards more practical, durable clothing. After the 1920s flapper dresses, rounded busts and natural waistlines revealed a new ladylike, tidy look. Wavy, shoulder-length hair perms and red lipstick became a must, and 1920s cloche hats were replaced by their smaller, plate-shaped cousins.

Coats for gentlemen and ladies were knee-length and a fashion statement in their own right, as can be seen in the portrait of the lady in the leopard fur or in Barbara Bradford’s eye-catching dark woolly fabric. Fur collars were all the rage, and brooches or angled hats completed the look.

As seen on George Mann and his friends, gentlemen’s herringbone tweed suits were v-shaped and double-breasted, with shoulder pads for a square physique. These were matched with generous full-cut trousers and a worldly attitude.

George Mann’s success with Barto and Mann in the heyday of vaudeville enabled him a carefree lifestyle, allowing him to focus his lens on the beautiful things in life. Film noir inspired Mann to take a series of atmospherically illuminated shots of his wife. A model through and through, Barbara Bradford is photographed posing with a Coca Cola bottle, and sunbathing in a 1930s swimsuit, with a low back and halter neck.