The passing of legendary fashion photographer Irving Penn at age 92 coincided with the tail end of Paris Fashion Week, and the news circulated quickly among editors, models, photographers and designers via text messages and Twitter postings. Model Heidi Mount wrote, “Very depressing to hear about Mr. Penn,” while Jessica Stam wrote simply, “R.I.P. Mr. Penn xoxo.”
This story first appeared in the November 9, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Designer Karl Lagerfeld said he most treasures the photo he has of Penn’s wife, Lisa Fonssagrives, in a look from the winter 1950 collection of Cristóbal Balenciaga. “He was the kindest man on earth. His work was exquisite,” said Lagerfeld. Famous for his fashion photographs and portraits of prominent cultural figures, Penn also turned his lens on the common man. A prescheduled exhibition of Penn’s photographs will open at The National Portrait Gallery in London on February 18.