After the war the phenomenon is accentuated. A couture designer will have no success if he does not seduce the editors of the magazines. In 1947 Carmel Snow, editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar, assures the glory of Christian Dior by expressing her enthusiasm with exuberance. It was she and no one else who triggered the instant success of this fashion that she named the New Look.
Carmel Snow comes twice a year in Paris to visit the couturiers before the launch of the collections. In 1955 Richard Avedon feels that he has a role to play. He obtains the mission of the photographic coverage of Carmel Snow's report for the fall-winter collection.
This new trend just created a new job, the supermodel, as Lisa Fonssagrives who will marry Irving Penn. The girls are beautiful but static and the photographers pay full attention to the garment.
Richard Avedon offers a more dynamic vision. To show Dior's evening dresses, he designs a staging with Dovima, one of the most popular supermodels of the period. At that moment Carol Reed is shooting a movie at the Cirque d'Hiver under the large glass canopy that allows the same brightness as outside. Avedon places Dovima in the middle of a row of elephants.
The September 1955 edition of Harper's Bazaar includes fifteen photos from Avedon's Parisian report. Dovima with her elephants appears once in a white dress and once in a black dress, both by Dior.
The black dress, more precisely a white satin drape in a black velvet girdle, is a conception by Yves Saint-Laurent in his very first participation for Dior. Dovima's theatrical attitude stretching an arm towards each beast created a masterpiece of fashion photography.
In 1962 Avedon prepares two 124 x 100 cm prints for an exhibition at the Smithsonian, all the more rare in such size that the original use had been exclusively for the magazine. One of them mounted on masonite is estimated € 600K for sale by Sotheby's in Paris on November 9, lot 57.
Editions and large prints were made later after retouching the negative. A 217 x 167 cm print prepared in 1978 for a retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was sold for € 840K including premium by Christie's on November 20, 2010.