The first permanent photograph was taken by Nicéphore Niépce. This was created by an etching technique, meaning only one photograph could be created. Niépce passed on this knowledge to Louis Daguerre who developed the skills. His method involved the use of a copper plate. Simultaneously, William Henry Fox Talbot was inventing a fixing process, using negatives and chemicals. Using these techniques Virginia Oldoini Countess di Castiglione began photo-documenting her eccentric fashion sense. In essence, she became the first fashion model. Perre-Louise Pierson helped Castigilone capture 700 photographs which the Countess directed herself. Her aim was to project elements of herself in the photograph and record her personal history. One particular photograph was taken of the Countess's bare feet, which was seen as a very sexually suggestive are as women at the time were wearing long skirts. This caused uproar at the time, demonstrating how fashion can have an impact on culture.
Improvements in the halftone printing brought on the age of the fashion magazine, as photographs could be printed in magazines. This came about over the first 10 years of the 1990s, replacing drawn illustrations.
Paul Poiret (1879-1944), was an important figure in the fashion movement. His designs were famous for freeing women form the restricting corset. Edward Steichen was another pivotal figure in high fashion. His style of photography reflected a modernist approach, celebrating the materials and their honest form.
Taking a jump to the 1920s, Cecil Beaton (Who was a member of the 'bright young things'), actually worked designing sets costumes and lighting for Broadway. This meant that his photographs had a very theatrical quality: