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Maudie James, Ethiopian Airlines.

Today we look at a  British Vogue editorial on location in Ethiopia. It was 1968. Under the direction of Beatrix Miller, photographer Norman Parkinson, his wife Wenda Parkinson, 19-year-old model Maudie James and fashion editor Grace Coddington were sent on assignment. This resulted in a 10 page spread in the January 1969 edition - ‘Ethiopia, the land of the lion’. Wenda Parkinson’s written description, together with Norman Parkinson’s images, present to the Vogue reader a type of foreign correspondent’s report from a human safari. Wenda Parkinson writes of being ’tantalised’ by the discovery of ‘the land of She and other beautiful creatures’.  According to the book Design and the Modern Magazine, ‘in these images there is a duel Otherness: the Ethiopians are represented as people with an enduring and incomprehensible mystique.’ Wenda writes that she ‘tried to understand and failed.’ Whichever way one may gaze at these images, they are an interesting look at one representation of fashion and travel photography in the late sixties.



(L) Mokria, the not wholly tame regimental mascot of the Imperial Bodyguard. Jersey catsuit by John Bates at Jean Varon. Lipstick by Dorothy Gray’s Good as Gold. (R) A leopard-print Ken Scott dress with tiger chiffon mantle fringed in amber ostrich. In a meadow of Maskal daisies below Fasilidas Castle. The Archbishop of Gondar wears traditional robes; an acelyte carries his ceremonial umbrella.


(R) This photograph was taken on the steps of the Jubilee Palace at Addis Ababa.


(L) Model Maudie James poses in from of the is Abbai Falls wearing Ken Scot shorts, boots, umbrella, and blouse with scarf. (R) Wedding costume is local to Harrar and consists of an overblouse, skirt and pantaloons, hung with silver and amber and marigolds. Lipstick, Goya’s Lipsheen Amber.


(L) Black catsuit zipped to the neck, by Simon Massey. Black chiffon veil by Ascher. Plaited black wig from Vidal Sassoon. This photograph was taken at Gambela. (R) White chiffon dress printed by Celia Birtwell in green and black for Ossie Clark. A fisherman’s reed boat on the shore of Lake Tana at sunset.

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