Tag Archives: Mademoiselle

Mademoiselle, June, 1941

Even though this is the cover of a June issue, the photo reminds me more of this time of year.  The stores and magazines are now full of clothes for cold weather, but here in the South there will be at least another month of warm weather.  Women in the South (and the southern parts of the West) have long known to transition to autumn clothing slowly.  Put away the whites and the light pastels and rely on warm, golden colors in cottons.  Add a sweater on chilly mornings.  The coats won’t really come out of the closets until late November.

I finally had a chance to sit down and thumb through the massive Vogue September issue.  At 856 pages, this issue fell short of the 916 page record, but still it is heavy and bulky and full of things to buy.  It is another season of asking who in their right mind would wear a certain shoe, in this case a particularly ugly Dior model that looks like three different shoes were thrown into a blender and mishmashed together.

And while I didn’t sit and count the pages, it sure seems to me that most of the big fashion houses are really in the business of selling accessories.  For the most part, the shoes look ugly and difficult to wear, whereas handbags are generally sleeker and not as tricked out as in previous seasons.

But the only company whose ads really made me wish I had thousands to spend was Louis Vuitton.  The clothes have a nice uncluttered mod vibe, and there is a little handbag that is like a miniature Vuitton trunk.  There is also an article about the new designer at Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquiere.

Like I said, living in the South means that our clothes are lighter.  I have several coats, all vintage, none of which I wear more than a handful of times each season.  Maybe that is why I find the over-abundance of fur in Vogue so odd.  There were three editorial features on coats, and the majority of the ones shown were either made from fur or trimmed with it.  And many of the other features also had furs.  I don’t get the emphasis on a product that many women can’t wear because of their climate, and that many will not wear because they feel wearing fur is wrong.

UPDATE:

I decided to add a photo of the ugly Dior shoes, taken from one of the many Dior ads in the Vogue September issue.  The pink part is actually molded rubber, like the sole of an athletic shoe, and the name “Dior” is embossed there near the heel.  Note also that the very tip of the black part is red, which extends under that cute little over-hang.  In some photos it looks like a tongue.  And finally, I do hope that heel is steel reinforced, as I can see that really narrow part snapping right off.

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Mademoiselle, September, 1957

Navy takes a turn at fall, thanks to the addition of a fur collar.  I love navy all year long, even though it is not exactly a “fall” color.  It looks especially great with the red stairs.

The blue suit is by designer Anne Klein.  In 1957 she was a young designer and was working at Junior Sophisticates.  In this issue other young American designers were featured, some of which are familiar names to fashion history lovers:  Donald Brooks, Rudi Gernreich, and Anne Fogarty.  The photographer took all the shots of the young designer feature in his studio, where the spiral stairs were located.

The “Paris Extra” was interesting, because fall 1957 saw the spread of the infamous “Sack Dress”  which had seen its debut in the spring of that year.  You can see the influence in a lot of the clothes in this issue, with a less fitted silhouette and that awkward just-above-the-calf length.

Really shocking are the prices of the suit and the accessories.  The suit was $125 and both the handbag and  the hat were $15 each.  That sounds pretty good until the prices are adjusted for inflation.  In the 2013 dollar, the suit would be $1005, and the accessories would be $121 each.

Photographer:  George Barkentin
Model:  Not credited
Copyright:  Condé Nast

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Mademoiselle, April 1943

This year’s young bride has a new style – as simple as the wood violets she carries, as fresh as the wood violet cologne she chooses.  Her wedding dress, designed by MLLE, with no train, no veil, and a look of utter innocence, is of imported organdie,  floor length all around, over a rayon taffeta slip.

I chose this cover today partly because of the cap the young bride is wearing.  It is a form of the Juliet cap, which poster Bonnie mentioned she wore to the prom in the 1960s.

As in the 1960s, the 1936 film version of Romeo and Juliet triggered a fashion for the Juliet cap, or calot.  Juliet was portrayed by Norma Shearer, who did justice to the little cap.   It was considered to be a romantic hat for weddings or evening wear, and was often made of lace or mesh.  I know so little about hats that I always turn to Susan Langley and her excellent Vintage Hats & Bonnets 1770-1970, and so thanks to her for the nice information about the Juliet cap.

Photographer:  Jerry Plucer
Model:  Not credited
Copyright:  Condé Nast

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Mademoiselle, September, 1941

Mademoiselle: The Magazine for Smart Young Women

And so as to prove the subtitle true, there she stands in an art gallery.  There is so much going on in this photo that it would be hard to focus on the smart young woman if she were any less dramatically attired.  What a museum-going ensemble!  It makes going to a museum or gallery somehow, special.  That’s something to think about.

Today we dress any old way and say we want to be comfortable, but one look at the shoes of most women today throws that argument out the window.  Unfortunately we cannot see this smart young woman’s shoes, but this is 1941, and I can pretty much bet she is wearing a pair of pretty but sturdy shoes with a two inch heel, meant for walking and possibly even in a green leather to match her suit.  After WWII started, that would no longer be possible, as leather colors were limited.

Photographer:  Paul D’Ome
Model:  Not credited
Copyright:  Condé Nast

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Mademoiselle, October, 1957

I love this image, though I’ll admit I’m a bit fuzzy as to the symbolism.  It seems to be saying “Here’s a happy, urban career girl kicking up her heel while clutching her massive handbag.”

Or what am I missing?

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Mademoiselle, August, 1953

It’s August, and that means time for the Mademoiselle college issue.  There was a time when this issue was as important as the Seventeen Back-to-School issue.  Today we think of the big Vogue September issue, but for their demographics, the August issues of Mademoiselle and Seventeen were just as big.

I can’t imagine a more perfect image of a 1950s college girl.  Cashmere twin set?  Check.  Plaid kilt? Check.  Just add a neat pageboy and a fresh face, and you are set.

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