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Rochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Paris

A work made of platinum-palladium print.
Copyright Condé Nast Publications, Inc.

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  • A work made of platinum-palladium print.


1950, printed June 1979


Irving Penn
American, 1917–2009

About this artwork

In July 1950, Vogue magazine sent Irving Penn to Paris to document that year’s fall couture collections. Over the course of ten days, clothes by Balenciaga, Dior, Rochas, and others were rushed to an old top-floor studio, where Penn posed models against a discarded theater curtain. The resulting photographs, spread across two September issues, marked a stark departure from the elaborately staged sets favored by fashion photographers of the previous decade. Among the models, Lisa Fonssagrives was a standout—in 1949, at age 38, she had become the first model to grace the cover of Time magazine, earning the title “Billion-Dollar Baby.” The statuesque icon first captured Penn’s attention at a 1947 photo shoot, and in the years that followed she became his muse and collaborator. Just a few weeks after this photograph was taken the two were married.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Irving Penn


Rochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Paris


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1950


Platinum-palladium print


8 of 25


Image: 50 × 50 cm (19 11/16 × 19 11/16 in.); Paper: 63.1 × 56 cm (24 7/8 × 22 1/16 in.); Mount: 66.1 × 56 cm (26 1/16 × 22 1/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Irving Penn

Reference Number



Copyright Condé Nast Publications, Inc.

Extended information about this artwork

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