Gordon Parks James Galanos Fashion, Hollywood, California, 1961.
Phillips is pleased to present Tailor-Made: Fashion Photographs from the Collection of Peter Fetterman, an online auction that celebrates designers at the forefront of fashion over the last century and the photographers who captured their timeless creations in indelible images. Whether taken within the controlled confines of the studio or on the bustling streets of Rome, Paris, or New York City, fashion photography is the pursuit of elegance, and its practitioners have continually labored to create images that not only serve their immediate editorial or advertising purposes but also give their viewers the thrill of seeing something new and exciting. Each of the photographs in this auction encapsulates a moment of perfect elegance in an imperfect world.
Melvin Sokolsky Bubble Seine, Paris, 1963.
Fashion photography has always been a driver of innovation in the medium, both technically and aesthetically, and it can be argued that some of the most adventurous work in photography was created under the banner of fashion. The need to create ever-new imagery to keep pace with the evolving styles of the day, combined with the competitive nature of magazine publishing and advertising, required photographers to continually reinvent the genre. It was these catalysts that, for instance, drove William Klein out of the studio to make fashion images that have more in common with his street work than conventional fashion photography. The same impulse inspired Melvin Sokolsky into the realm of the fantastical, with his models suspended in bubbles, or levitating over swank dinner parties. The challenge to create something entirely new inspired Ormond Gigli to surmount the many logistical and technical difficulties that resulted in his justly famous Models in the Windows, New York City.
I’ve often envied those that photograph life; I avoid it. I start from nothing; I make up a story which I leave untold. I imagine a situation which doesn’t exist. I wipe out a space to invent another. I shift the light, I render everything unreal, and then I try.
— Sarah Moon
Sarah Moon Fashion 10 (N.Y. Times), 1998.
The photographs in this sale show a constant refinement of the genre and an incorporation of new elements. Sarah Moon and Lillian Bassman are both masters of mood, rendering their models in a romantic soft-focus and, in Moon’s case, employing an evocative palette of colors at odds with the glossy saturated colors typically found in fashion magazines. Gordon Parks and Jerry Schatzberg, who both worked in cinema, bring a sense of movement and narrative to their imagery. While Georges Dambier, Norman Parkinson, Brian Duffy, and William Helburn create impossibly elegant images of modern women moving through the metropolis.
Lillian Bassman More Fashion Mileage Per Dress, Barbara Vaughn, Harper's Bazaar, New York, 1954.
Whether fanciful, fun, graceful, or gritty, the photographs in Tailor-Made: Fashion Photographs from the Peter Fetterman Collection demonstrate their makers’ complete mastery of the medium, their deft use of studio and natural light, their ability to collaborate with models in a vast array of settings, and their expansive understanding of what makes a great, compelling, and enduring fashion photograph.
We feel confident that you will find images in this hand-picked selection that are tailor-made to suit your tastes.
Sheila Metzner Campidoglio, 1986.