Wednesday, November 24, 2021


From what I've been able to observe, Ralph Kelly didn't work outside the studio much at all.  This picture of Clint Olson is a nice exception, and he looks like he's wearing one of those 1950-ish bathing suits designed and marked by fellow models Glenn Bishop and Richard Alan.



  1. The pose is nice. Actually, so is are the swimming trunks. The model seems to be relaxed, too.

  2. I've taken a look and this is definitely not one of the styles marketed by Messrs Bishop and Alan. That said, you're bang on the money in that it is self-evidently from a small-time designer-manufacturer exploiting the 1950s fashion for Hawaiian print beachwear. The style is quite a high cut brief, rather than the 1920s box cut revival of the mid-1950s, introduced for modesty, and which indicates an early date - late 40s, very early 50s - for this photo. The higher cut accentuates rather than hides the family jewels and Mr Kelly wears it very well. Also note the length of Mr Kelly's hair. Styles were still short but far less cropped in the latter, post demob, part of the 1940s as a reaction to the war. Styles start to get shorter again in the 1950s. Short hair has always been associated with puritanism and conformity, long hair with romanticism and sexual freedom.

    1. I read somewhere that fashions were manipulated during World War II to use less material, hence short skirts for women and tighter fitting pants for men.

  3. That is very true. Official kit either side of the Atlantic did not run to swimming briefs or trunks, however, hence so many pictures of naked sailors and soldiers. Royal Navy issue, however, did include a jockstrap, which was expected to be worn by gun teams, because the guns were manually angled and the shells had to be physically lifted into the turrets, all of which was exceedingly heavy work. It was the medical orthodoxy of the day that a jockstrap lessened the incidence of groin injuries. Regular swimming trunks became briefer post war which I put down to the loosening of morality which was most certainly an immediate post-war phenomenon. Western societies pulled in two different ways during the 1950s, and this tension was not resolved until the "hedonists" won the war with the "moralists" in the 1960s.