These Vintage Fashion Photos From an Early Editorial Shoot Don't Include A Single Model Slouch

Fashion editorials today always look rich and complicated. Whether the inspiration of the shoot is "Barbarella in the Arctic", "Modern Boho", or "stark background with bonkers styling," innumerable details go into telling a fashion story. Tremendous amounts of planning, money, and time are poured into these endeavors. It’s difficult to imagine a time in which matters of fashion media were kept simple, but that time did indeed exist. FIT's blog Material Mode dug up some pictures of one of the world’s earliest fashion shoots, and the uncomplicated beauty of it makes us long for the turn of the century. Furthermore, there is not one person doing the model slouch.

The designs in the following pictures are the work of Paul Poiret. Considered one of the fathers of high fashion, Poiret was one of the first designers to speak about clothing as an art form. His heyday was around the turn of the 20th Century, and his signature look of Ottoman elegance set the trends for the fashionable silhouettes of the 1910s. The photos below are from an article called "L’Arte de la Robe" included in a 1911 issue of the French style periodical Art et Decoration. The pictures were taken by Edward Steichen, who would go on to work for Conde Nast and become a fashion photography pioneer. There is so much history in these photographs!

Poiret’s creations are shot in the style of a fashion plate, which was heretofore the primary way form of fashion media. Essentially, fashion plates were illustrations of ladies wearing the trendy styles of the day. These would then be used by dressmakers as reference to make exactly what their customers wanted. This shoot with real live models was taking it to the next level. By putting clothes on a lady in a natural setting, this was the first effort at telling a story with clothing. Granted, the narrative is a simple one of "a fashionable lady wearing pretty clothing in a pretty house", but it is a narrative nonetheless. You can tell that the focus here was to get women to actually buy the clothing. Check out some of the shots below, and just reflect on how things have changed. Le sigh...

Heavens! She wasn't expecting company...Thank goodness she dressed up!

This is exactly the stance I have when I pop on a new outfit I'm super proud of, and I'm admiring it alone in my house.

From this moment forward, stairs became an all-important stage for shooting clothing.These gals are heading downstairs...

And this one is going up! She's in her robe, of course she's not leaving the house.

Yep! We've really come a long way from this...

To this...

Check out the rest of the photos here on Material Mode!

Images: Material Mode (6) ; @marisap/Twitter