Fashion plates (2), Costumes Parisiens 49, 54, pochoir (engraved and screen printed / stencilled) print / mounted on card, designed by Robert Pichenot, Journal des Dames et des Modes, Paris, France, 1913
These fashion plates are from a collection of 186 Costumes Parisien fashion plates created for the Journal des Dames et des Modes by leading commercial artists of the day - George Barbier, Leon Bakst, Pierre Legrain, Etienne Drian, Victor Lheur, Gerda Wegener, J. van Brock, Armand Vallee and others.
At the time that the plates were produced, the fashionable woman had to own a bewildering number of outfits for different times of the day and for different activities - everything from morning, afternoon and evening dresses to hunting, riding, tennis, garden party, yachting, walking, beach-strolling and 'visiting' outfits. The fashion illustrated in the journal reflects this vogue and the shift from corset structures that anchored dresses around a very narrow waist and ribcage and accentuating hips and breasts, towards a more cylindrical dress form that eventually led to the loose "flapper" dress style of the 1920s. Fashionable children's and men's costume of the day is also illustrated.
The Journal des Dames et des Modes was founded by Tom Antongini, secretary, friend and biographer of poet, connoisseur and collector, Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863-1938) whom he followed into Parisien exile from Italy in 1910. Designed for lovers of rare editions, the Journal aimed to appeal to an audience of connoisseurs and aesthetes and to be a reflection of the intellectual and cultural atmosphere of Paris, and a record of Parisien culture and fashion at the time. It sought to distinguish itself from already existing periodicals, such as Femina and La Vie Parisienne that were produced in thousands and illustrated by photography, with its rich and vivid coloured plates achieved through the pochoir printing process in which up to thirty colour screens or stencils are used to insert colours into the delicate linear designs of the copper plate engravings.
The Journal des Dames et Des Modes lasted only two years. The first issue appeared on 1 June 1912, the last on 1 August 1914 due to the outbreak of World War I. It was issued three times a month with from one to five illustrative plates inserted. The first edition was printed in an edition of 1,250 copies on quality hand-made Holland paper, plus 29 delux copies on Japan paper. Two other Parisien fashion magazines emerged in Paris in 1912 - La Gazette du Bon Ton (1912-1925) founded and published by Lucien Vogel and Modes et Manieres d'Aujourd'hui issued by Corrard and Meynial. All three magazines echoed in their titles, journals that had appeared in the 18th and 19th centuries. While the Journal used many of the same artists as La Gazette, it differed to La Gazette in that its plates of 1912 to 1914 signify the end of an era, 'La Belle Epoque', and the beginning of another. La Gazette on the other hand, which continued into the 1920s, evolved to embrace the new velocity of life by illustrating streamlined fashion against backgrounds that referred to the industrial, mechanised, 'moderne' world of railroads, cars and steamships.
The collection of 143 fashion plates from the Journal des Dames et des Modes is offered as a donation to the Powerhouse Museum by Alistair Roberts, a Sydney-based theatre and costume designer and tailor, who assembled the collection with dedication and enthusiasm over several decades.
Ricci, F.M., Costumes Parisiens Journal des Dames et Des Modes Vol 1 & 2, Italy 1979 (Introduction by Christine Nuzzi)
Parisiens Costumes plates in full colour (1912-1914), Dover Publications, New York, 1982
www.camrax.com: Camrax Beverley Birks Couture Collection
www.homestore.com: Alice Van Housen - French Fashion Prints make a statement.
Anne-Marie Van de Ven
Curator, 20 June 2002
Robert Pichenot, Paris
Executed Journal des Dames et des Modes plate nos 49 and 54.
Fashion plate created for the Journal des dames et des modes, Paris 1913