Friday, March 5, 2010

Gazette du Bon Ton Parisian Fashion 1913-1925

The fashions of the eminent designers of Paris were circulated exclusively to the wealthy, in the fashion plates by prominent artists for "Gazette du Bon Ton" (Journal of Good Style). The styles of pochoir varied as much as the fashions. 

Many fashions were shown in a suitable setting, sometimes with a suitable (and often amusing) caption. To the left, the illustration shows a mother in her superb  evening gown, asking her daughter if she had been good today. The little girl in a very pretty dress, has a finger in her mouth while considers her reply.  Another example shows a lady and man outside a door, waiting for a young lady. The 'gentleman'  is looking at his watch and saying to the young lady "You are never ready" while the young lady is showing them her pretty new dress.

There are a wide variety of fashion studies in situations both inside and outside. The imaginative creativity of the artist adds considerably to the charm of the image. For instance, two ladies in their elegant day dresses standing outside after a garden party, while one looks concernedly at the ground and says "Oh my poor lawn".. At right, a lady in a beautiful dress rewards her hound. An outstretched finger controls him, while the other hand holds silver tongs with the rewarding cube of sugar! 

While the graphic 'fashion narrative' compositions are definitely more interesting, the fashion "croquis" (sketches) on a plain background, are a complete contrast in their elegant simplicity - and frequently showed fashions that are very modern in fabric and style. Many would not be out of place today.

"Gazette du Bon Ton" was popular because of these charming pochoir fashion studies. Not only did they represent the latest styles designed by the foremost French designers of the time, they also indicated where the new fashions should be worn. The 'pochoir' (stencils) were skilfully rendered, and are some of the finest ever done of this labour intensive method of printing. Several stencils were carved from zinc plates, and the different tone built up by successive applications of water colour and gouache, to ensure the colours did not run together during printing.
They can be viewed under Antique Prints-Fashion/Design at

No comments:

Post a Comment