Fashion Photography History from Wikipedia…
The Countess in a photo by Pierre-Louise Pierson (c. 1863/66)
Photography was developed in the30s, but the earliest popular technique, the daguerreotype, was unsuitable for mass printing. In 1856, Adolphe Braun published a book containing 288 photographs of Virginia Oldoini, Countess de Castiglione, a Tuscan noblewoman at the court of Napoleon III. The photos depict her in her official court garb, making her the first fashion model. 
In the first decade of the 20th century, advances in halftone printing allowed fashion photographs to be featured in magazines. Fashion photography made its first appearance in French magazines such as La mode practique and Les mode. In 1909, Condé Nast took over Vogue magazine and also contributed to the beginnings of fashion photography. Special emphasis was placed on staging the shots, a process first developed by Baron Adolf de Meyer, who shot his models in natural environments and poses. Vogue was followed by its rival, Harper's Bazaar, and the two companies were leaders in the field of fashion photography throughout the 1920s and 1930s. House photographers such as Edward Steichen, George Hoyningen-Huene, Horst P. Horst and Cecil Beaton, and independents such as Yva transformed the genre into an outstanding art form. Europe, and especially Germany, was for a short time the leader in fashion photography.
As World War II approached the focus shifted to the United States, where Vogue and Harper's continued their old rivalry. House photographers such as Irving Penn, Martin Munkacsi, Richard Avedon, and Louise Dahl-Wolfe would shape the look of fashion photography for the following decades. The artists abandoned their rigid forms for a much freer style. In 1936 Martin Munkacsi made the first photographs of models in sporty poses at the beach. Under the artistic direction of Alexander Brodovich, the Harper's Bazaar quickly introduced this new style into its magazine.