Fashion illustrators thrived in the first half of the 1950s, as magazines such as "Vogue" and "Harper's Bazaar" published their work. Fashion illustrators often used a pen-and-ink wash technique. This style of illustration resulted in vibrant and energetic works of art. The art of the fashion photographer gradually came to dominate fashion art from the mid-1950s. Fashion photographers of this era redefined the art of fashion illustration.
Marcel Fromenti sketched fashions for "The Lady" magazine in the 1950s. Unlike the high-fashion styles of "Vogue" and "Vanity Fair," "The Lady" featured mostly everyday fashion that the majority of women would find attractive. Fromenti utilised a pen-and-ink wash in his illustrations, yet achieved great detail in his art. His drawings emphasised the flow of the garment in simple but effective lines.
Jean Demarchy worked in soft pastels to illustrate couture fashion of the 1950s. His work is romantic and almost abstract in nature. His drawings present the fashion designs of the day in a demure, romanticised manner without compromising detail. Demarchy's pastel work brought the fabric to life with flowing lines and intricate detail. Much of his work was published in "Harper's Bazaar."
Richard Avedon began his photography work for "Vogue" and "Life" magazines in 1946, working out of his own studio. Avedon introduced a new aesthetic to fashion by photographing his models showing emotion. Prior to Avedon, the standard fashion photograph depicted a model devoid of emotion. Often, Avedon would photograph models laughing or moving. He is best known for his photographs of models against a plain white background.
Irving Penn's fashion photographs of the 1950s were elegant and refined. His art focused primarily on the composition, light, shadow and lines in the image. He avoided props and complex backgrounds, relying primarily on the outline of the model and the flowing fabric of the garment. Backgrounds were usually grey or white. Penn's fashion photographs are elegant and refined. The empty space in his photographs serve to add balance and complement the subject.