Monday, 11 June 2012

Modelling: 1930s Modelling

By the 1930s, modelling was commonplace for promoting clothes, but was also becoming important for general advertising. To find out more visit

Well-known Models

Fashion at that time was dominated by a few major fashion houses such as Chanel, rather than by individual designers as we see today. Fashion magazines like Vogue, would receive hundreds of transparencies or contact sheets from photographers – and would only work with three or four on a regular basis.

In the 1930s, models still tended to be already well-known; writers or actresses or notable ladies. Modelling as a full time career was some time away, but the start of the Second World War in 1939 meant that any thoughts of fashions and fripperies were banished in Britain for nearly a decade.

Creative Photographers

Although many women’s magazines still used hand-coloured line drawings to illustrate fashion items, key photographers were making their names by photographing elegant women wearing high fashion. Photographers like Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Norman Parkinson, Cecil Beaton and Horst P Horst all contributed to the way we view modelling photography today. Their use of light, props and a natural, rather than posed look for models was extremely creative for their time, but set the standard for many years to come. The emergence of women photographers was also important for modelling and the fashion industry. These women could not only see how to wear the clothes, but could anticipate the mood of the model, suggest appropriate settings for the shoot and bring their creative talents to bear on the final prints.

Most 1930s fashion photography was black and white. Colour photography only came into general use during the Second World War. Fashion wasn’t the only industry to wake up to how pictures could sell products, however. Businesses were beginning to realise that using pictures of “real” people using their products would be more appealing to their customers, and commercial modelling was something that would really take off over the following years.

No comments:

Post a Comment