Ebay Auctions from the Hetero Days
While today Julie's name seems to forever be preceded by "gay icon" and there's some mention of drag queens and the the freaky world of "fashion," this was unknown in the 50's, 60's and 70's.
Julie was photographed by men who wouldn't think of putting cobwebs on her face or putting her in funeral clothes. She showed off her legs and the pictures were bought by the top men's magazines of the day, not Fashion Fop Weekly.
Don Ornitz, like Peter Basch, Peter Gowland and Bernard of Hollywood, didn't hate women, have a mother issue, or try to make over beautiful women into Joan Crawford clones. A bathing suit. Lingerie. A gown that didn't have tinges of S&M, this was enough.
These are the enduring images that not only made Julie a star, but kept her a star. These images can fetch hundreds of dollars because what's behind them is life, love and sensuality, free from psychological symbolism and affectation. This is honest stuff. Ornitz, Basch, Gowland and the other vintage photographers were true professionals and always in demand by commercial magazines that were popular, not pompous, aimed at everyone, not an exclusive clique.
An interesting fact is that even after all these years, when fans go to a memorabilia show and take photos of Julie, these honest pictures have a verve, a lightness, a sensuality and a sense of fun. They hark back to when pros like Ornitz brought a camera and not attitude. There was nothing campy going on, nothing subversive, no "high fashion," no darkness. It was just basic: a woman radiating joy, aimed at men, but with lessons for women on how it's done.
Funny isn't it, that this year's or last years fashion atrocities are always forgotten, but simple bathing suits are timeless. Elaborate and ridiculous sets with catered food and elaborate costuming don't make for a lasting impression no matter how many paragraphs of "credits" are attached to it. Put a beautiful woman out on a lush lawn on a sunny day, and you have a universal image of love and life.