Les Frères Séeberger

With the international fashion press aflurry with excitement over the pre-fall 2011 collections being rolled out day by day, the Vault was particularly inspired by Jason Wu’s purported catalyst for this not-quite-spring-nor-summer-nor-fall season: the early ‘street style’ photographs by French brothers Jules, Louis, and Henri Séeberger.  Long before street style blogs and their mid-century near-predecessors (street photographers like Robert Frank and Diane Arbus), the Séeberger trio started their career in Paris in 1905, shooting touristic photos of the city of light for postcard publishers before focusing on haute parisian society from 1909 through the early 1930s.  In addition to shooting in the then-très chic Bois de Boulogne, a large park just outside the western perimeter of Paris, the trio traveled to the French riviera, shooting summer fashions in exotic locales such as Biarritz, Cannes, and Monaco as well as neighboring Deauville just two hours from Paris.

Some 3,045 Séeberger photos of Paris and its environs rest in Les Archives Photographiques in Paris, while the inspiring catalogue of fashion photos rests with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, known as the BNF, in the 13th arrondissement.  For those abroad, 300 of their best fashion photos are covered in a book originally published in 2007, which can be found here.

Below, some of the Vault’s favorites, which span city and sea….

Touristic photo from Le Dôme café terrace, 1931




Accessory shots to rival Jak&Jill, 1930s

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