Pretty Pictures

MannequinOnce a leading fashion photographer for French Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Bob Richardson’s story is a sad one.  Schizophrenia and years of drug abuse saw him end up homeless and most of his work destroyed.  However, thanks to the efforts of his son Terry (also a noted photographer),  what remains of his work has been collected into a beautiful new book. The photographs signify a definite move from the white-gloved fashion world of the fifties to a grittier more youthful, rock tinged style.  Richardson famously said he saw the world in black and white, and these grainy images are notable for their fleeting quality.  Richardson’s work also appears  in the very nice Unseen Vogue which came out a couple of years ago. 

Before there were fashion photographers, illustrators had the job of making garments come alive and conveying the  designer’s aesthetic.  Some of the best examples can be seen in the gorgeous 100 Years of Fashion Illustration. This is a comprehensive survey of the development of the art over the last century, and each time period is accompanied by an informative essay.  The early illustrations capture beautifully the excitement and modernity of the first part of last century.  It’s also interesting to see how illustrators have responded to the rise of fashion photography and new technology.