Style Icon | Marion Morehouse

Feeling rather 1920s this morning, I began perusing our Vintage 1920s board on Pinterest in search of this week's vintage style icon. I have boards for every decade from the 1900s to the 1970s, but somehow I'm consistently drawn to the modernist deco photos that epitomize the Roaring Twenties.

Among the stunning beaded gowns and vintage bobbed beauties, what really caught my eye was a photo of Marion Morehouse in Condé Nast’s apartment, shot by Cecil Beaton for Vogue in 1929. Her graceful figure, demure presence, quintessential 1920s bob and elegant deco gown immediately spoke to me, and I realized this was a woman I knew little about. An ideal candidate for my new series, Style Icon!

Marion Morehouse in Conde Nast's apartment. Photographed by Cecil Beaton in 1927.
Marion Morehouse modeling outfit in theatrical mask, 1926 © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis.

Upon delving into the search engine realm, I found that perhaps the reason I hadn't heard anything about her until now was because, well, there just really isn't much information on her out there at all! Ironically enough, one of the only articles I came across was titled The Elusive Marion Morehouse.

Born in 1906, Morehouse's career as a model took off in the late 1920s and ran well through the 1930s. She was featured in high-fashion magazines such as Vanity Fair and Vogue, and posed for noted photographers Edward Steichen and Cecil Beaton, to name a few. Steichen once remarked that she was “the greatest fashion model I ever shot … when she put on the clothes that were to be photographed, she transformed herself into a woman who really would wear that gown … whatever the outfit was.”

Following her modeling career, Morehouse went on to pursue photography herself. Some of her work can be seen in the book Adventures in Value: Fifty Photographs By Marion Morehouse, the accompanying text having been written by her husband, famed U.S. poet and novelist E.E. Cummings. In 1969, she passed away at the age of 63 (although her actual age at the time was never confirmed).

Marion Morehouse, in beaded Chanel Gown, 1925 © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis.
Marion Morehouse wearing Cheruit, 1928 © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis.
1920s style icon, Marion Morehouse
Marion Morehouse and Helen Lyons wearing masks the illustrator W.T. Brenda, 1926 © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis.
1920s fashion editorial
Marion Morehouse wearing Agnes, 1927 © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis.
Marion Morehouse, 1934 © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis.
1920s style icon, Marion Morehouse