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Rebel, rebel: how Lee Miller’s defiance in fashion, photography and life still endures

Miller counted Picasso and Man Ray as friends, took devastating war photos and dressed outrageously. A new film starring Kate Winslet and exhibition explore her renegade spirit

The forthcoming production of Lee, the film starring Kate Winslet based on the life of Lee Miller, has one scene in which Winslet is seen reclining in a two-piece swimsuit of the kind that a decade later would be called a bikini. It is the 1930s, when the item would have been considered “scandalous”, but it showed how the photographer and war reporter liked to defy convention. Now the bikini, along with other items from Miller’s wardrobe, has been discovered in the attic of her old home and will go on display alongside some more of clothes for the first time.

Lee Miller: Dressed, an exhibition set to open at Brighton Museum in October, brings a fashionable perspective to the life and work of the American photographer. It will include a red dress possibly created by Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli, the bikini and Miller’s war uniform

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