La Gazette du Bon Ton

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Cover of a 1920 edition of La Gazette du bon ton.

La Gazette du Bon Ton was a leading fashion magazine that was published in France from November 1912 to 1925.[1] Founded in 1912 by Lucien Vogel, the magazine covered the latest developments in fashion, lifestyle, and beauty, and was distributed by Condé Nast. In the USA, the magazine was issued as the Gazette du Bon Genre.[2] Both titles roughly translate as "Journal of Good Taste"[3] or "Journal of Good Style."[2]

Elitism and arts focus[edit]

The magazine strove to present an elitist image to distinguish itself from its many competitors.[4] It was available only to subscribers and was priced at a steep 100 francs per year, or $425.61 in today's money.[5] The magazine was published on fine paper.[1] The magazine signed exclusive contracts with seven of Paris's top couture houses – Louise Chéruit, Georges Doeuillet, Jacques Doucet, Jeanne Paquin, Paul Poiret, Redfern & Sons, and Charles Worth – so that the designers' fashions were shown only in the pages of the Gazette.[5] After World War I, a select group of designers were added – Étienne Drian, Gustav Beer, Kriegck, Larsen, and Martial & Armand. The magazine's title was derived from the French concept of bon ton, or timeless good taste and refinement.[3]

The magazine also aimed to establish fashion as an art alongside painting, sculpture, and drawing: according to the magazine's first editorial, "The clothing of a woman is a pleasure for the eye that cannot be judged inferior to the other arts."[3]

To elevate the Gazette's literary status, the magazine featured essays on fashion by established writers from other fields, including novelist Marcel Astruc, playwright Henri de Regnier, decorator Claude Roger-Marx, and art historian Jean-Louis Vaudoyer.[5] Their contributions ranged in tone from irreverent to ironic and mocking.[5]

Fashion illustrations[edit]

A George Barbier illustration of a Jeanne Paquin gown, published in the March 1914 Gazette

The centerpiece of the Gazette was its fashion illustrations.[6] Each issue featured ten full-page fashion plates (seven depicting couture designs and three inspired by couture but designed solely by the illustrators)[6] printed with the color pochoir technique.

It employed many of the most famous Art Deco artists and illustrators of the day, including Georges Barbier, Erté (Romain de Tirtoff), Paul Iribe, Pierre Brissaud, André Edouard Marty, Thayaht (Ernesto Michahelles), Georges Lepape, Edouard Garcia Benito, Soeurs David (David Sisters), Pierre Mourgue, Robert Bonfils, Bernard Boutet de Monvel, Maurice Leroy, and Zyg Brunner, who all, rather than simply drawing a mannequin in the outfit, like most previous fashion illustrators, depicted the model in various dramatic and narrative situations.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Davis, 48.
  2. ^ a b Antique Print Club, Gazette du Bon Ton : "Etes-vous pret?" (1913), re: "Gazette du Bon Ton ..., published by Lucien Vogel in Paris between 1912 and 1925... and distributed by Condé Nast. Distributed in the U.S. as Gazette du Bon Genre, both titles translate roughly as Journal of the Good Style."
  3. ^ a b c Davis, 49.
  4. ^ Davis, 50-51.
  5. ^ a b c d Davis, 50.
  6. ^ a b Davis, 56.

Works cited[edit]

  • Davis, Mary E. Classic Chic: Music, Fashion, and Modernism. University of California Press: 2006. ISBN 0-520-24542-3.