Parisian Fashion Design from La Gazette du Bon Ton
(Minneapolis College of Art and Design)
This collection features original fashion plates from the Special Collections of the Library of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and is the result of a project undertaken by Allan Kohl, Visual Resources Librarian. The Gazette du Bon Ton provides a uniquely beautiful reflection of the elegant realm of Parisian fashion and high society from the last years of the Belle Epoque to the dawn of the Art Deco era in the midst of the Jazz Age. Publisher Lucien Vogel intended the Gazette, a self-proclaimed journal of “art, fashion [and] frivolities,” to be a luxury publication for an elite audience, available only by subscription. As its most distinctive feature, each issue contained 10 unbound, high-quality, hand-colored pochoir prints, the work of top artists and illustrators such as Georges Lepape, Pierre Brissaud, Georges Barbier, and Bernard Boutet de Monvel. Seven of these prints depicted the latest haute couture designs from the great Parisian fashion houses, including couturiers such as Doeuillet, Doucet, Paquin, Redfern, and Worth. These “portraits of dresses,” which showed clothing and accessories worn in implicitly narrative settings, helped to advance the claim that fashion design was worthy of being considered on an equal footing with the other arts. Additionally, three prints in each issue presented wholly fanciful designs spun from the illustrators’ imaginations, in which they both interpreted and commented on the latest styles and the lives of those who wore them.
Over its 70 issues, from 1912-1915 and (following the interruption of World War I) from 1920-1925, the Gazette du Bon Ton not only documented the changing styles promoted by the great design houses, but served to advance fashion illustration to a new level of refinement and sophistication. These selected illustrations also offer fascinating glimpses of upper class life, manners, social environments, and leisure pursuits.
Allan Kohl, Visual Resources Librarian
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
See all of our Gazette du Bon Ton images at MCAD Library on flickr.