French Fashion Plates from Journal Des Dames et Des Modes (1912-1914)

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 to Paris from Italy in 1910. Designed for lovers of rare editions, the Journal aimed to appeal to an audience of connoisseurs and aesthetes. It was meant to be a reflection of the intellectual and artistic atmosphere of Paris as well as 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 the thousands and illustrated by photography. The Journal, by contrast, included rich and vivid pochoir prints, drawn by the leading graphic artists of the day and created by applying hand-colored stencils over etchings. By making the illustrations works of art, the creators sought to equate fashion, and their publication, with the worlds of high art and culture.

The first issue appeared on 1 June 1912, the last on 1 August 1914 due to the outbreak of World War I. Subsequently the publication not only showcases Parisian culture of the time, it unwittingly reflects the end of the golden Belle Epoque, and the beginning of another very different time in world history.

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