Alix (Black Satin Dress)

1938, Printed Later
Platinum/Palladium Photograph

Signed, titled, and dated on print verso. Artist blind stamp on recto.

During the 1980s there was an increased interest in Horst’s earlier career and he often produced new prints in the costly and refined platinum-palladium process. This resulted in more nuanced tones, better surface quality, and more stable and permanent images. One such platinum-palladium print is “Alix (Black Satin) Dress” which shows how the platinum palladium process enhances Horst’s mastery of light, mood, and composition.

The epitome of sophistication, the image encapsulates Horst’s idea that elegance is: “a way of feeling naturally at ease with one’s shape and stance and clothes and surroundings. And I have tried to induce that mood, that feeling, in every model I have photographed.”

During the 1930s, the modeling profession was in its infancy and many of those who posed in magazines were fashionable friends of the staff. The woman relaxingly posed in the image is wearing a timeless dress made by the Paris couturiere, Alix, which seemingly flows from the peaceful woman who is in turn comfortably embraced by the contours of the chair lending an air of relaxation and refinement. Elegantly posed and brilliantly lit, Horst’s aptitude with composition and instilling a definitive sense of elegance and timeless glamour has situated him as one of the founders of modern fashion photography.