Exhibition | New for Now: The Origin of Fashion Magazines

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 1, 2015

Opnamedatum: 2010-05-17

Magasin des Modes Nouvelles Françaises et Anglaises (1 Juin 1789), Pl. 1, 2 et 3
(Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum)

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Press release (20 May 2015) from the Rijksmuseum:

New for Now: The Origin of Fashion Magazines
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 12 June — 27 September 2015

From 12 June, the Rijksmuseum presents a major retrospective of its rich collection of costume and fashion prints for the first time. The change in women’s and men’s fashion from the year 1600 up to and including the first half of the 20th century, and the development of the fashion magazine into the fashion glossies we know today, can be seen in more than 300 prints. The exhibition was designed by designer and co-curator Christian Borstlap, in collaboration with fashion illustrators Piet Paris and Quentin Jones.

The publishers of fashion prints did everything to make their product as attractive as possible. They attracted skilled illustrators for this purpose, some of whom went on to become specialists in this area: true ‘fashion illustrators’. The trick was to portray the models on the prints as skillfully as possible and with a great sense of elegance. The printmaker was responsible for transferring the design sketches onto an engraving that could reproduce the design. A so-called ‘colourist’ subsequently added colours to each individual image by hand.

New for Now shows prints by fashion designer Paul Poiret, among others. His ‘Fashion is Art’ statement marked the beginning of a new era. He presented his designs in two artfully designed series of works in bright opaque colours, which served as an inspiration for a number of artistically high-quality fashion magazines.

Many of the prints shown are from two important collections acquired by the Rijksmuseum in 2009: The Raymond Gaudriault Collection and The MA Ghering-van Ierlant Collection. All 8,000 prints from these collections can be seen online from June 2015. This is the result of a multi-year project in which the prints were catalogued, described and digitalised.

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The catalogue is available from the Rijksmuseum:

Georgette Koning and Els Verhaak, New For Now: The Origin of Fashion Magazines (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2015), 204 pages, 20€.

14789Fashion changes constantly, but the desire to be ‘in fashion’ is eternal. For centuries people have eagerly followed the latest fashion trends. But how did one keep up in an age without internet, fashion blogs, Pinterest and glossy fashion magazines? New for Now explores how trends were spread before Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar appeared on the shelves. From the costume book in the 16th century by way of individual, hand-coloured fashion plates to the first fashion magazine to roll off the presses in 1785: Cabinet des Modes. There was no stopping after this, and one fashion magazine appeared hard on the heels of the other, reaching an absolute high point in the Gazette du Bon Ton in 1912, full of magnificent art deco illustrations.

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