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October 12, 2022

Black and White Fashion Photography in the 1940s by Kay Bell

Born 1905, Katherine Beall Reynal was photographer, painter and former associate fashion editor of Vogue magazine. She began her career at Vogue in the late 1930s. In 1945, under the professional name of Kay Bell, she became a fashion photographer for both Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

Fashion photography in the 1940s by Kay Bell

In 1947, she married Eugene Reynal, publisher who brought many of his writers to her studio atop her East Side town house for picture-taking. Among them were T. S. Eliot, Ogden Nash, Carl Sandburg and Eudora Welty. Some of her photo portraits were later used on the dust jackets of their books.

Later, Mrs. Reynal turned to still-life painting. She died in 1977 at her home in Manhattan after a short illness. She was 72 years old. These black and white photos were part of her work that Kay Bell took portraits of models in the 1940s.

Marilyn Ambrose in a cabana dress of black and white rayon jersey, the printed leaves have sequins along the spines, by Tina Leser, photo by Kay Bell at the Camelback Inn, Arizona, Vogue, March 15, 1945

Marilyn Ambrose in a mauve jersey dress, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, April 1, 1945

Marilyn Ambrose in dinner sarong in tangled white, black and cocoa brown cotton piqué by Hope Skillman, photo by Kay Bell, Camelback Mountain, Arizona, Vogue, March 15, 1945

Model in a bright-and-black gingham dress with bold plaid skirt and short sleeves, belted in black patent leather by David Crystal, photo by Kay Bell in front of a painting by Max Weber, Vogue, April 1, 1945

Model in a pink-and-black striped piqué party dress by Capri, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, April 15, 1945

Model in a short sand-beige coat of wool velour by Duchess Royal, photo by Kay Bell, Camelback Mountain, Arizona, Vogue, March 15, 1945

Model in black dress with pink bordered neckline, bow in corner, Marvella bracelet, photo by Kay Bell, Glamour, 1945

Model in black gabardine strapless bra and boxer-pants of Everfast cotton by Duchess Royal, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, January 15, 1945

Model in black-and-white checked gingham ripple peplum top over straight black rayon skirt at Bloomingdale, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, April 15, 1945

Model in black-and-white cotton taffeta dress with a back-tied neck by Troy Guild, photo by Kay Bell at the Joan Miró exhibition, Vogue, April 1, 1945

Model in spun-rayon-cotton dress with white stitiching and canvas belt by Townley, photo by Kay Bell, Arizona, Vogue, March 15, 1945

Model in sun-suit of coarse white Mexican cotton penciled with green by Tina Leser, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, January 15, 1945

Model in white jewel-buttoned blouse by Florence Gainor and wide decorated belt by Midtown, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, July 1, 1945

Dorothy Tivis in egg-nog beige wool cut-away hostess coat by Joseph Whitehead for Bergdorf Goodman, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, December 1, 1946

Model in a swirl of stripes on a wool jersey one-piece suit with a partly bare middle by Claire McCardell, photo by Kaye Bell, Vogue, May 1, 1946

Model in bloomer suit with detachable bustled flounce in green rayon faille by Louella Ballerino for Jantzen, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, May 1, 1946

Model in silk shantung blouse with extravagantly full sleeves, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, March 15, 1946

Marilyn Ambrose in tissue faille dress with velvet edges, velvet tie, belt and cuffs, fastened with tiny mock-jet buttons by L'Aiglon, shoes by I. Miller, chair by Saarinen, photo by Kay Bell, October 1947

Meg Mundy in brass-buttoned box jacket, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, March 1, 1947

Meg Mundy in ermine tunic, its waist is tight and peplum wide, by Maximilian, midnight-blue beaver hat by Lilly Daché, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, October 1947

Model in black Chantilly lace filigreed on rayon taffeta in this gown with a very full skirt by Ben Reig for Saks Fifth Avenue, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, October 15, 1947

Model in heather-soft sheer nylon tricot nightgown with deep-V neckline and shirred midriff by Vanity Fair, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, May 1947

Model in ideal travel dress of a cool tattersall-checked linen in red and white on tan by Henry Rosenfeld, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, June 1947

Model in ideal travel robe in navy blue-and-white in sheer rayon with big round collar revers by Raymodes, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, June 1947

Natalie Paine in soot-black velveteen dress fastens at the side with shirring at the right shoulder by Aywon, worn with big taffeta bow by Emily Wetherby, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, October 1947

Natalie Paine in strapless but lightly boned dream dress of cloque taffeta by Ceil Chapman, jewelry by Cartier, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, September 1947

Betty Bridgers in dotted mauve satin gown by Larry Aldrich, jewelry by Eisenberg, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, October 1948

Joan Pedersen in Miron gabardine coat with capelet by George Carmel at Saks Fifth Avenue, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, February 1948

Lily Carlson in Spring colored jacket over a sleeveless black rayon crêpe dress by Jo Copeland of Patullo's at Saks Fifth Avenue, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, March 1948

Lucille Lewis in beautiful silk-satin gown with billowing skirt exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, November 1948

Lucille Lewis in lovely party dress of white piqué, double breasted with triple shawl collar of organdy by Herbert Sondheim, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, May 1948

Marilyn Ambrose in black and brown checked wool dress by Ken Classics, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, October 1948

Marilyn Ambrose in sun-dress of white cotton poplin with navy blue coin dots by L'Aiglon, photo by Kay Bell at the British Colonial Hotel at Nassau, Harper's Bazaar, May 1948

Meg Mundy in long evening dress and jacket of off-white cotton checked in gold Lurex by Mainbocher, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, May 1948

Meg Mundy in ruby red cashmere cardigan cut at the waist with ruby and green tie silk dress beneath by Mainbocher, flexible jeweled starfish by Jean Schlumberger, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, May 1948

Model in charming dress of red and white checked sheer cotton by Nelly Don, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, May 1948

Model in cotton halter top, plaided in yellow, black and brown with plain shorts of yellow sharkskin, tied with plaid sash, by Cabana Sportswear, photo by Kay Bell, Montagu Beach, Nassau, Bahamas, Harper's Bazaar, June 1948

Model in lovely homecoat of thin wool flannel from Bergdorf Goodman, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, December 1, 1948

Model in pink chambray strapless dress that can be worn over a full-length petticoat of dotted Swiss muslin as shown here, by Adele Simpson, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, May 1948

Model in sea-going topcoat of stiff white poplin with big collar and patch pockets by Sunclothes, photo by Kay Bell at British Colonial Beach, Bahamas, Harper's Bazaar, June 1948

Pat O'Reilly in gray-and-white pincheck tweed dress by Dorville, model in yellow-and-brown herringbone tweed shirtwaist dress by Frederick Starke, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar UK, December 1948

Barbara Mullen in piqué town suit, a low-necked greige dress with black pin-dots and black jacket by Sheila Lynn, hat by Florence Reichman, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, April 1949

Jean Patchett in Royal Pastel mink stole and model in Silver Blue mink mantlet with convertible shoulder-cuff by Bergdorf Goodman, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, April 15, 1949

Jean Patchett in tea-and-twilight coat of imported rayon brocade with cut-away pleated panel of silk chiffon from Bergdorf Goodman, photo by Kay Bell, Vogue, December 1, 1949

Model in plum colored faille two-piece with winged lapels and skirt with loose wrap-around panel by Paul Parnes, photo by Kay Bell, Harper's Bazaar, July 1949




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