Flickr Widget

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dallas PinUp

Shoshana Portnoy
The history of American pin-up includes such beauties as the Gibson Girls, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Page and Bridgette Bardot. Dallas PinUp gives women an opportunity to find their inner pin-up and join the ranks of those accomplished women.

Owner Shoshana Portnoy insists that pin-up isn't about objectifying women. It's about allowing them to create a character that gives them confidence and empowers them. Citing the outspoken Mae West as her favorite pin-up, she says, "She wasn’t a bombshell because she fit everything society said was beautiful; she was a bombshell because she told society she was.  She was curvy, confident, intelligent, and beyond sassy--everything I admire in a lady."

Her favorite classic pin-up artists are Gil Elvgren and Alberto Vargas, to whom she looks for inspiration. She also likes contemporary artist Olivia for modernizing the American pin-up, yet remaining true to style.

Portnoy's love affair with photography began at age thirteen when she received an old Minolta 35mm camera from her uncle. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree in photography and work as a freelance photographer, shooting editorial portraits for magazines all over Texas. She shot her first pin-up photos for a friend whose husband had been deployed to Afghanistan, basing the shoot on pictures her grandmother had sent to her grandfather during World War II. Word spread to other military wives and then to women in all walks of life, and a business was born.

Dallas PinUp is a complete pin-up boutique selling clothing, lingerie, jewelry, accessories and cosmetics. It is also home to Portnoy's Through the Looking Glass photography studio, where the belief is that every woman is beautiful and unique. A client can book one of the "For a Day" photo shoots, which includes a themed set and costume, or she can book a private photo session and create her own theme. Private pin-up parties are available for birthdays, bachelorette parties or a special day out with girlfriends. The store also hosts pin-up workshops that teach participants retro makeup and hairstyle techniques, as well as pin-up poses.

While photo editing is available to remove minor imperfections like stretch marks, scars or to soften wrinkles, Portnoy refuses to make a client thinner, change hair color or edit breast size. Her goal is to show clients how beautiful they are, not to change them. She reminds women that very often the things they consider "flaws" are what their partners love about them.

Portnoy is editor of the online magazine Pin Curl, which is also published bi-annually in print as The Best of Pin Curl. She also produces Viva Dallas Burlesque shows at the Lakewood Theater on the first Friday of every month. Six-week burlesque workshops are offered at the store, teaching attendees dance, costuming, pin-up poses and stage presence.

You can also visit Dallas PinUp on Facebook.

Becca - Valentine's Shoot
Ashley and Snickers - Private Shoot
Bella - Cherry Blossom Geisha Shoot
Cardinal Cyn - Film Noire Shoot
Karen - Private Shoot
Ruby Joule - Tiki Shoot
Best of Pin Curl magazine
Viva Dallas Burlesque

All images courtesy Shoshana Portnoy


  1. Here's a modern age pin-up girl: Ulrika Bacher from Finland:

  2. OoLaLa! Mr. Modtomic like! I have a special weakness for Bettie Page.

  3. @Mr. Modtomic: Somehow I kinda figured this post would get a few comments from you guys out there! Maybe The Girlfriend and her friends would enjoy a day getting pin-up photos made! :)

  4. Ahhhh...if only we were in the area! "Sweety, I signed you for a cheesecake makin' class".

  5. @Moondoggie: I love the film noire shoots. If I were 20 years younger, I'd book one! I agree with Shoshana completely. I consider myself a feminist to the core, and I don't see a thing exploitative about retro lovers enjoying taking a step back in time. In this age of baring everything or putting tee shirts on 5-year-old girls that say "Sexy" or "Hot" in big glittery letters, pin-up actually seems modest and innocent.