Cocoa-Colored Balenciaga Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Paris, 1950

1950, printed 1979

Platinum-paladium print, mounted on aluminum

71.5 × 68 cm (28 1/8 × 26 3/4 in.) (framed)

Top model Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn poses in high-contrast black and white dressed in a Balanciaga outfit. A veil barely conceals her face. At first glance this may look like a fashion photograph, but it has an emotional, private dimension: the woman is the photographer's wife early in their marriage.

Irving Penn was not quite yet famous when he took this picture. At the time, he was a fashion photographer for Vogue magazine. Nevertheless, he had a certain amount of freedom in staging his photographs. Displaying a refined sense of aesthetics, he set the model against a neutral white background bathed in natural light from the side: a simple process that would be his signature for the rest of his career.

Cocoa Dress (Balanciaga), Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn will be exhibited for the first time by the Pinault Collection during the show “Au-delà de la couleur” ("Beyond Colour") at the Couvent des Jacobins in Rennes in June 2021.