Success comes to few in the fashion world, more often than not by chance: The gangly outcast-turned-supermodel who gets discovered at a fast-food joint in Brazil; the fashion school dropout who later gets crowned the king of downtown cool. In Rose Hartman‘s case, hers is the story of a high school English teacher who tripped into sartorial glory after attending a photography seminar in Idaho. Not long after, her images hit the cover of The Daily News Record. The rest, as they say, is history.
With her knack for eliciting unprecedented candor from her subjects, Hartman quickly became noticed as a photographic force. In contrast to today’s invasive, omnipresent paparazzi, she vowed to only photograph icons at events to which she was invited. With intrepid grace, she’s been able to get up close and personal with some of fashion’s most celebrated legends. Many of her portraits have remained underground and never-before-seen—until now.
Incomparable Women of Style is on display through January 20 at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Gladys Marcus Library.