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November 25, 2021

Stunning Fashion Photography in the 1950s by Roger Prigent

A student of Richard Avedon, Roger Prigent first came to the United States from France shortly after the Second World War to visit his sister, who’d spent the war as a pharmaceutical researcher in Washington. On his return to France, he became a photo-reporter for newsmagazines like Paris Match and during his extended holiday in New York, he met Lilian Bassman, the former art director of Harper’s Bazaar who’d become a Bazaar photographer.

1950s fashion photography by Roger Prigent

Bassman needed an assistant, and so Prigent stayed put. At the time, her studio was filled with friends like Richard Avedon, whose simple photographic style appealed to him. “When I met him,” Prigent said of Avedon, “it was like meeting the Pope.” When he was asked to shoot the lines of a fledgling designer as a one-time side job, he emulated Avedon, and it caught the attention of Vogue.

Coupled with his French accent and charming demeanor, it gave him a ticket into the fashion jet set. Prigent was soon sent to Paris to shoot couture for French Vogue and ended up casting his photographs at the home of a famous decorator, Gérard Mille, who lived with his brother Hervé, a media heavyweight, in an apartment decorated with 1930s-style pieces. “It was a beautiful apartment. I didn’t even know that people could live that way,” Prigent remembered. “There was this woman in black who sat there with them while I took my pictures and kept on saying, ‘But these look like maid’s dresses! These are like maid’s dresses! Who’s this Dior?’” That evening, he learned it was Coco Chanel. The Mille apartment was like a send-off for Prigent, and as his career as a photographer took off.

These stunning fashion photos are part of his work that Roger Prigent took from the 1950s.

Model wearing a yellow lace creamy satin gown by Harvey Berin and Karen Stark, 1952

Shoes, 1952

Model is wearing a pale blue chiffon nightgown by Carter's, 1952

Barbara Mullen wearing an outfit by Claire McCardell, Vogue, September 1952

Maria Reachi wearing her hair swept back in a flowered-garlanded chignon. Her lipstick is 'Pink Geranium' by Charles of the Ritz, Vogue, June 1952

Suzy Parker, Vogue, September 1952

Barbara Mullen wearing mustard and black wool topped by gold knit sweater by Loomtogs, felt hat by Betmar, gloves by Fownes, twin lapel clips by Coro, August 1953

Model wearing a dress of cotton challis, wrapped waist by Samuel Winston, 1953

Model wearing narrow long wool woven black coat with a stole and tambourine hat, 1953

Ruth Neuman Derujinsky wear cotton dress by H & D, 1953

Ruth Neuman Derujinsky wearing a strapless white cotton dress with a matching handkerchief by Pat Premo and Bernardo sandals, 1953

Ruth Neuman Derujinsky wearing a white cotton halter top, shorts and a cotton poplin lavender sash, 1953

Dovima wearing a pleated tube dress in Mimosa silk shantung, belted at the waist. A white cashmere cardigan trimmed in shantung at the cuff is draped over one shoulder, 1954

Model in bathing suit, Vogue, May 1954

Model Maria Reachi seated on striped beach towel wearing grey and white patterned strapless bathing suit, Vogue, 1954

Model standing under beach umbrella wearing summer dress look; pleated short shorts and matching sleeveless shirt, both in a light floral pattern, Vogue, June 1954

Anne St. Marie, Vogue, 1955

Evelyn Tripp wearing a dress of floral printed white silk organdy with a beaded necklace and bracelet of tourmalines and diamonds, 1955

Mary Jane Russell, Vogue, 1955

Suzy Parker, Vogue, 1955

Sunny Harnett, Vogue, February 1956

Vogue, March 1956

Vogue, March 1956

Anne St. Marie wearing a red, white and blue stripe dress with a halter top and a full, ankle-length skirt, with red stiletto mules, by Hope Skillman, 1957

Linda Harper, Vogue, September 1957

Model standing on beach wearing a bathing suit in harlequin-diamond wool, by Imports Int., 1957

Vogue, 1959


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