Fashion photography in black and white

The first color fashion photographs, published in a magazine, date from 1911. These are two photographs by Edward STEICHEN (1879-1973), illustrating an article on the fashion designer Paul Poiret.
However, despite the invention of color photography and its democratization at the end of the 19th century, the majority of fashion photographers worked in black and white.

Edward STEICHEN, dresses by Paul Poiret, 1911
Edward STEICHEN, dresses by Paul Poiret, 1911

Although color fashion photography developed throughout the 20th century, black and white photography continued to be adopted by many photographers. Nowadays, some photographers like Mario SORRENTI still juggle between monochrome photography and color photography. Indeed, the monochrome character of a photograph makes it timeless while refocusing the vision on the photographed model. In particular, it helps to highlight the skin texture of the models and to establish greater proximity with the viewer.

Mario SORRENTI, Vogue Paris
Peter LINDBERGH, 5 Supermodels, 1989

However, the monochrome photo has its limits since it does not allow to highlight the colors of the clothes.