The Origins Of Pin-Up

The origins of pin up can be documented back at least to the end of 19th century, but reached their biggest popularity in the 40s and 50s. They were depictions of very beautiful women with a sensual and ingenuous air.

With the time, pin-up passed from the photos and posters to fashion magazines and advertising.

The pin-up girls were attractive for advertising agencies, their fresh image flooded the calendars. Even the government of the United States gave pin-up photos and illustrations as a present to their soldiers during the World War II. This supposed an entertainment for soldiers. Dreaming with those attractive women allowed them to forget about the war.

There were illustrators like Gil Elvgren, Alberto Vargas, Haijime Sorayama, George Pethy... that were devoted, almost exclusively, to this genre.

Some pin-up girls like Betty Page, Betty Grable, or Tempest Storm became very popular. But soon, famous actresses, singers and models were the most common pin-ups.
Their fans wanted to watch them in sexy attitudes, and it was a way to give a bigger renown to their professional career.

Between the great actresses that cultivated this genre there were Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Brigitte Bardot... And we should not forget the famous cartoon pin-up girl Betty Boop.

Nowadays, fortunes are paid between collectors to get an old pin-up poster.

As time went by, pin-up was more focused on its use on advertising, adding some touch of humor and hilarity. In the 60s, pin-up was a big ally of pop-art.

The pin-up look is very precise. Pin-up girls are very feminine. Their lips use to be paint in red, their eyelashes are very defined, using false eyelashes in the photographs. The eyebrows are very pronounced, skin color uses to be very fair, and hair uses to be wavy or softly curled.

The pin-up poses are very suggestive, in casual attitudes, always surrounded with glamour, using fetishisms like women dressed as sailor, waitress, nurse...

Nowadays, women like Dita Von Teese have given pin-up a new boost, recovering the esthetics and poses of those old models.

Images (in order): Pin up girl, by Narcyzjum; Pinup, by Logan-Miester; Guinness Pin Up, by Grim-Clavera; Battlestations Midway pin-up 2, by Henning;

-Emma Alvarez-

© 2008 by Emma Alvarez. Link to this post without copying the text.

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Alexander M Zoltai said...


Sweet blast from my past...

The critical aspect lacking in modern sexuality is the innocence these pinups exude.

~ Alex from Our Evolution

Emma Alvarez said...

I agree Alexander. But not all pin-ups are innocent... :D

gourmet popcorn said...

This is really sweet blast from past.

Emma Alvarez said...

Retro is totally fashion and I agree it's sweet :)

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