The models aim to enhance the product photographed. By wearing it, showing it off and highlighting it, they have to show it off.
The models chosen are generally models or well-known personalities. The latter intervene when they are the muses of a brand or a product. They must therefore take the stage in order to give better visibility to the current campaign.
Lisa Fonssagrives (1911-1992) is often cited as the first fashion photo model in history. During the 1930s major magazines and fashion photographers became involved in his services. Her most famous collaborations remain those made with Avedon, Parkinson or with her husband the photographer Irving Penn.
In the mid-1980s, the place of models in the fashion world was turned upside down by the arrival of the Supermodels. Indeed, a group of models composed of Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell gained unprecedented popularity that made them icons. To this group called “The Trinity” quickly joined other models such as Claudia Schiffer, Tatjana Patitz and Cindy Crawford. At this central Big Six was added at times Stephanie Seymour or Kate Moss. These supermodels then dominated magazine covers and photo shoots.
The novelty was that these models were practically better known than the fashion products for which they posed. They had acquired such fame that their mere presence in a fashion photograph gave international visibility to the garment photographed. Their poses then reached prices never before reached.
Several photographers like Steven MEISEL or Peter LINDBERGH (1944-2019) were the architects of this success.
This phenomenon faded at the end of the 90s. Indeed, the new models put forward had a more reserved and minimalist style. However, the starification of models will continue. Since then, models have acquired star status and fashion houses are breaking away from their presence in their campaigns.
Beyond their commercial strength, it is the influence of models and fashion designers on the public that has strengthened in recent years. By representing an aesthetic ideal, the body of the models is often seen as an absolute to be achieved. Fashion photography is the popular expression.