frances mclaughlin gill

Fiona Campbell-Walter with sculpture wearing Balenciaga for Paris Vogue, 1952. Photograph by Frances McLaughlin-Gill.

Campbell-Walter is wearing Balenciaga’s bare-topped evening dress of pale pink satin veiled with Chantilly lace. From the moment Cristóbal Balenciaga opened his Paris house, his clothes struck a note of simplicity that at times had a regal presence, at others a graphic grace. He reshaped women’s silhouette in the 1950s, so that clothes we think of as typical of that decade are mostly dilutions of his work. 

Mary Jane Russell (left) and Leonie Vernet (right) with books and magazines for Vogue, January 1954. Photograph by Frances McLaughlin-Gill.

The two models are both in dresses of silk surah in shades of pink. Vernet’s is printed with organic shapes, with the skirt back-swung. Russell’s has impressionistic pink flowers, the ones on the bodice embroidered with beads.