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Fashion With Purpose

Posts for November 3rd 2009

The First Fashion Photographer

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By Laura Connell · November 3, 2009 · 0 Comments ·

In 1911, Edward Steichen took the first fashion photographs (images were formerly illustrated) for Art et Decoration magazine, shooting a collection of dresses by French designer, Paul Poiret. From 1923-37 Steichen was the chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair and the AGO exhibit Edward Steichen: In High Fashion focuses on that high point in his career.

He photographed designs by Chanel, Lanvin, and Schiarapelli, among others. A 1925 image of a draped crepe Chanel evening gown with pearl choker looks positively contemporary, as does a low-backed lace shimmer gown with drop waist fastened by black ribbon. The designer's vision is unparallelled, every piece still relevant today.

Steichen's subjects included popular actresses and models of the time including his muse Marion Morehouse whom he photographed for the first time for Vogue's November 1929 issue. Morehouse later became a photographer herself and embodied the "flapper" spirit that represented a bold new femininity: an integral element in Steichen's photographs of women for Vogue and Vanity Fair.

"It didn't matter whether the sitter was a statesman, a writer, a poet, an actor, a prizefighter, or a musician--they were all interesting." -Edward Steichen