Monday, 11 June 2012

1950s Modelling

In this key post-war decade, fashion, glamour and modelling were becoming key industries. The London College of Fashion was built towards the end of the 1950s, signalling that this was an industry that people wanted to work in, and one that would create many new jobs for men and women alike. To find out more visit

More Fabric, New Fashions

The 1950s was the first decade where children, particularly teenagers, wanted to have their own look, and not dress like their mothers and fathers. The bridge decade between the troubles of the 1940s and the indulgent 1960s, the 1950s was a key turning point in global fashion. British, French and American designers could now use the best materials and brighter colours for their fashions, which gave them much more creative scope.

The silhouette for women returned to the narrow waisted fashions of the start of the century, although there were two ways of accentuating this; the tight-waisted full skirt, and the pencil-skirt, which was form fitting to the hips and legs as well as the waist. People were desperate to wear clothes with new shapes and using lots of fabric, and eagerly awaited the new offerings from design houses. This was also the decade where the less well-off could buy cheaper versions of the latest fashions; Marks and Spencer made their reputation from mass-producing quality versions of new styles.

Active Modelling

Modelling was also going through a mini-revolution. The static, indoor shots of the previous 20 years were being replaced by movement shots, where the clothing and the model were shot in action, engaging the audience with the clothing that she was promoting. The model was viewed as a single, independent woman, so that all types of customers could relate to her.

Photographers like Richard Avedon, whose photograph of the model Dovima, wearing Christian Dior was sold at auction for $19,800, were instrumental in creating this new modelling style; both glamorous and spontaneous, which has influenced every generation of fashion photographer since.

These changes in fashion, modelling and photography all contributed to the huge growth of the industry in the 1960s and beyond, when models, photographers and designers became as famous as the clothes they created and promoted.


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