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By the end of the 19th century studio photographers in Paris, including the Reutlinger studio, Bissonais et Taponnier, were taking photographs for magazines that showed the latest in fashion. The photographic style was neither adventurous nor innovative - very largely the models were posed in a similar way to the carte-de-visite which came out in 1854. Models were provided with suitable costumes, painted backdrops and props but the shots were largely studio based. It is true that technical limitations of the cameras required artificial lighting and this often necessitated a studio setting. The earliest fashion shots could hardly be differentiated from the portrait shots of the same period.
1.   Fashion houses and photography
The rise of the fashion house linked to a named individual has been a fascinating phenomenon and has its roots in the early 20th century. Although there were named fashion designers long before this the global awareness of individuals really came to the fore with the rise of the great fashion magazines such as 'Harper's Bazaar' and 'Vogue' which were innovative in the way they used photography.
 
The names from the early 1900's are the names of legend Coco Chanel, Gucci, Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent and Prada.
  • Coco Chanel opened her millinery shop in 1912 and rapidly rose to become one of the premier fashion designers in Paris, France.
  • Prada, the Italian fashion house, was established in Milan, Italy in 1913.
  • Guccio Gucci was born in 1881 and opened his first shop in Florence in 1920.
  • Edoardo and Adele Fendi opened a small leather and fur store in 1925 in Via del Plebiscito in the center of Rome.
  • Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) was a French designer who established a fashion house in Paris that ran from the late 1920's until 1954, and established a New York showroom in 1949.
The cult of the personality they developed in the 1920's and 30's has led to the glitterati of today where the cult is molded by the designs of Karl Lagerfield, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and the Versace family.  
  
2.   Fashion photography upto 1950
To highlight the main trends in fashion photography each decade is discussed on a different page and the fashion magazine Vogue has a page all to itself.
Fashion: Norman Parkinson (1913-1990)
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Norman Parkinson
After Van Dongen 
1959
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Norman Parkinson
Coming, St Martins Lane 
1960
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Norman Parkinson
Going, St Martins Lane 
1960
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Norman Parkinson
Traffic 
1960
These examples from 1959 and 1960 show both the color and black & white styles of Norman Parkinson.
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3.   Contemporary fashion photography
By the 1980's photographers such as Sarah Moon and Deborah Turbeville were creating images of women that reflected changing social attitudes. Here the women are not in control or at ease with their surroundings - it is a form of fashion photography where the model and subject in the photograph seems to be questioning whether to be there. Fashion photography molds generations but at the same time it is a victim of it's own success - a successful advertizing campaign leads to imitators and years pass where the style is the emmaciated destruction and androgynous look of 'heroin chique' without the context of drug abuse that Larry Clark gave in his seminal book 'Tulsa'. In 'Terryworld' the images of fashion photographer Terry Richardson blends sex and fashion into a world of no taboos - here porn becomes a fashion statement and style. Fashion goes through phases when under-age models are used to sell underwear and cosmetics to increasingly young audiences. It is the sermon of the old to remember and lecture on a 'golden age' when things were not so commercialized - and I'm doing exactly that.
 
In many ways I agree with the comments made by the curator at MOMA (NY) when the exhibition on Contemporary fashion was mounted, by the late 80's and 90's there was a move from the clothes themselves to two different approaches to marketing them. The first was to make them appear as if the models are actors or props on a film set - rather like the fabricated realities of Cindy Sherman approach, whilst the second is purely livestyle.
Different perspectives on fashion
 
Contemporary fashion photography
Fashioning Fiction in Photography since 1990 
  
Susan Kismaric; & Eva Respini
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Terryworld - Terry Richardson
Terryworld 
  
Terry Richardson (Photographer); & Dian Hanson (Editor)
Click here to buy this book from Amazon
 
Fashion Collections - Gianni Versace
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Irving Penn
Book cover for "Gianni Versace: Collezione Donna Autunno-Inverno 1992-93. N.23" by Irving Penn 
1992
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Irving Penn
Book cover for "Gianni Versace: Collezione Donna Primavera Estate 1992-93. N.22" by Irving Penn 
1992
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Richard Avedon
Book cover for "Gianni Versace: Collezione donna Primavera Estate 1992 by Richard Avedon" 
1993
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Richard Avedon
Book cover for "Gianni Versace: Collezione donna Autunno Inverno 1993-1994" 
1993
The major fashion houses have always hired photographers with the ability to show their clothes to the greatest advantage. Advertising and fashion shows are an essential promotional activity and have a higher proportional budgets than in most comparable industries.
 
The collections of Gianni Versace (1946-1997) for example used Richard Avedon (1923-2004) and Irving Penn (1917-) to take the photographs and these were published in books of the different seasonal collections.
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