Smithville Park spotlights ’60s fashion

College professors create exhibit highlighting a model from the era

Special to The Sun
Lisa Steinberg, professor and director of the fashion department at Rowan College at Burlington County, recreated photographs of model Cheryl Marie Desch through illustrations for the county’s new art exhibit.

Historic Smithville Park is hosting a new art exhibit through Saturday, Jan. 13, that focuses on fashion from the 1960s and the career of local model Cheryl Marie Desch.

“The Pose: A Sixties Silhouette” is on display at Smithville Park’s Workers House Gallery and is a collaboration by Burlington County-based fashion illustrator Lisa Steinberg and photographer Lila Ingui, the daughter of Philadelphia-based Desch.

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The exhibit consists of vintage photographs and advertisements featuring the model that Ingui compiled, plus modern drawings created by Steinberg for the exhibit.

“These photographs, they’re all black and white, they were taken in the 1960s,” Steinberg noted. “ … It was kind of interesting, because some of these were the photographer’s proofs, so sometimes there would be three slightly different variations to the pose, and I chose one of them, and then the other one would go up on the wall.”

“It made it into the show so it was kind of fun,” she added. “Her hand was up, her hand was down, so you could see the little variations.”

Steinberg is a resident of Delran who is a professor and director of the fashion department at Rowan College at Burlington County. She is also a visiting assistant professor in fashion illustration at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and the author of “Beginners Guide to Sketching the Fashion Figure.”

Ingui is a professional photographer and the owner of Lila Ingui Photography. She’s also a longtime adjunct professor of photography at Rowan. Her mother grew up in Warminster, Pennsylvania, and was crowned Miss Warminster in 1963. She became a commercial fashion model soon after and worked in the industry until the late ’60s. Desch married singer Richie Ingui of The Soul Survivors and the two moved to New Jersey to raise a family.

Desch later started an online business that sold vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories. She also refinished antique furniture for sale and continued to work until her death last year.

“The Pose: A Sixties Silhouette” was time-consuming to put together for Steinberg and Ingui, but given the former’s passion for fashion, it was something she enjoyed.

“When I was 12-years old, I would see fashion illustrations in The New York Times in class – that’s where I saw them for the first time – and instead of listening to the teacher about history, I was just mesmerized by these drawings and I would trace them,” Steinberg recalled.

“ … It was just so exciting to see the poses of that time and to illustrate them, and what’s also interesting is that they were a lot harder to do … The poses were different than they are today.”

Steinberg’s sketches of Desch may not look exactly like the model, but that’s the point.

“… It’s really important that they’re these stylized drawings and it’s the impression that the artist gets of it, and that’s really what it’s about,” Steinberg explained of fashion illustrations. “It’s about elongating, stylizing, giving movement, making it loose …

“Clearly her mother (Desch) was a model for it, but it wasn’t that I would sit there and draw the likeness of it,” Steinberg added. “They were never meant to be that way. That was the photograph’s purpose.”

For more information on “The Pose: A Sixties Silhouette,” visit Burlington County’s official website.

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