beautyme collections culture cuisine motor music search

17 March 2024

Works by Madame D'Ora, photographer from Vienna, presented in the MK&G Hamburg exhibition 'Fragile Beauties: Lace in Fashion and Photography'

In a few days, on March 22, the exhibition 'Fragile Beauties: Lace in Fashion and Photography' opens to the public at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (MK&G) in Hamburg, Germany. The exhibition focuses on the work of Madame d'Ora, a renowned fashion photographer from Vienna in the early twentieth century. It's announced that the exhibition will offer an exploration of the delicate allure of lace and its representation in both fashion and photography. Through Madame D'Ora's lens, visitors will be transported to the opulent world of the late Austro-Hungarian Empire, where lace garments adorned the subjects of her portraits. In the preview, MK&G offers a glimpse of what visitors can expect, such as Madame D'Ora's photographs taken on the occasion of the coronation of Emperor Karl I of Austria as King Karl IV of Hungary in 1916.

Madame D'Ora - born as Dora Philippine Kallmus - is such an important figure in the history of Vienna that she has been added to the Wiki of the City of Vienna. The photographer had strong ties to the Wiener Werkstätte, Emilie Flöge, Gustav Klimt, the theater genius Max Reinhardt,... and after moving from Vienna to Paris in the mid-1920s until she had to flee in 1940 after the German troops invaded Paris, she worked for the French fashion, theater and art scene. Names like Coco Chanel and Josephine Baker are mentioned on

However, the exhibition doesn't solely focus on the glamor of fashion; it also delves into a fascinating juxtaposition. Madame d'Ora's photographic repertoire extends beyond haute couture to capture the unexpected beauty in everyday life. In the 1950s, she turned her lens towards the grim reality of Parisian slaughterhouses, where she found striking resemblances to lace in the web-like structures of animal remains. These haunting images, tenderly titled 'La Dentelle' or 'lace,' offer a thought-provoking contrast to her glamorous fashion photography.

Furthermore, the exhibition celebrates the enduring legacy of bobbin lace, tracing its history back to the sixteenth century. Bobbin lace, with its intricate patterns and delicate motifs, symbolizes the timeless craftsmanship amidst a world dominated by technological advancements and mass production. The artworks of other photographers such as Imre von Santho, Constant Puyo, David Octavius Hill, and Arthur Benda are also showcased, enriching the viewer's experience of lace both as an art form and a metaphor for the vulnerability of the human body.

Details and images as a preview of the exhibition are published on

Images, from left:
ATELIER D'ORA (Madame D'Ora & Arthur Benda)
Shoes of the Countess Erdödy at the coronation of Emperor Charles as King of Hungary, 1916
Album in print, 12,4 x 9,7 cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

MADAME D'ORA (1881–1963)
The Chansonette Mistinguett, around 1925–30
Gelatine silver print, 21,5 x 17,7 cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

MADAME D'ORA (1881–1963)
Branches dans la neige, 1956–57
From the slaughterhouse series
Gelatine silver print, 34,8 x 26,9 cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

contact / imprint - terms of use - about us - get the trendletter - RSS Feed