If you haven’t noticed by our Shelved Dolls and Harlotry series, as well as plenty of our other individual pieces, The Gloss is a big fan of both sex workers and women of the past. We appreciate fashion from the days of yore — whichever “yore” that may be — as well as the personalities that accompanied its wearers. These vintage photographs of prostitutes from Storyville by E. J. Bellocq combine those interests wonderfully.

Storyville was the red light district of New Orleans that flourished magnificently back in the early twentieth century. With its numerous brothels and exciting clubs, it became infamous for its nightlife and residents alike. Bellocq, a “reclusive New Orleans native,” took several photos of sex workers in Storyville, showing the setting of these brothels but also the beauty and style of the women there.

A new exhibit at MOMA has some of Bellocq’s fantastic photographs on display, so if you’re in New York and want to see some awesome stylish ladies from the past (or you’re just like, interested in art or whatever), check it out! There are pictures of the ladies hanging out, of women with all types of body shapes and sizes, of naked women and others dressed to the nines. It’s an excellent collection, really.

For now, we have a couple preview pictures.


Girl rocked them vertically striped tights a full century before they got re-re-re-popularized by H&M.

(Also, do not lie: you and I and everyone else who sees this now wants an awesome liquor stand just like the one here.)



$10 says Urban Outfitters tries to recreate this photo using “Aztec print” and fishtail braids in 3…2…

Photos by E. J. Bellocq via Redditor hellpony and MOMA.