Vogue Cover March 1912

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Fig. 3 (1912) US Vogue Cover Archive. [online] Available at http://forums.thefashionspot.com/f78/us-vogue-cover-archive-56486.htmlhttp://forums.thefashionspot.com/f78/us-vogue-cover-archive-56486.html [accessed 11 Nov 2014]

Extract from a thesis written by Sofia Arvanius for her final year studying for a BA in Visual Communication titled How has the image of women changed over time in the fashion magazine industry in America, looking specifically at the covers of the US magazine, Vogue,between the years of its first publication in 1892 until the present day?

The image in figure 3 is typical of a Vogue cover of the 1910’s – 1920’s. At this time the magazines were exclusively illustrated rather than photographed, with covers differing in illustration styles. The woman in fig. 3 is draped in an elegant outer cloak with rich colours and fur. Flowers accompanying a woman are common imagery on magazine covers around this time and can be seen in fig. 3. Women and flowers were often juxtaposed to each other due to the thinking of the time that women were supposed to be like flowers; delicate and pretty. The furnishings around the woman appear expensive. The lady is seated on a coach leisurely reading an issue of Vogue. Overall we get the impression of a woman who enjoys the finer things in life; fur, beautiful clothing, expensive furnishing and, of course, Vogue. Vogue is giving an impression of their consumers. Women who read Vogue live privileged lives of luxury. Even the many who were unable to afford this type of lifestyle of luxury can, through this image, fantasize about this dream lifestyle. They may not be able to afford the beautiful furnishings and clothing adorned on the cover, but they can afford Vogue!

Vogue. (2014). From the Archives: Vogue Looks Back at 120 Years of Covers. Available: http://www.vogue.com/869450/from-the-archives-vogue-looks-back-at-120-years-of-covers/. Last accessed 20 Nov 2014.

Vogue. (2014). Vogue Archive. Available: http://www.vogue.com/archive. Last accessed 20 Nov 2014.

First Cover of Vogue, 1892

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Fig. 2 (1892) The 10 Most Groundbreaking Covers in the History of Vogue [ONLINE] Available at: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/vogue-magazine-list-10-most-groundbreaking-covers-in-the-history-of-vogue/?_r=0 [accessed 10 Nov 2014]

Extract from a thesis written by Sofia Arvanius for her final year studying for a BA in Visual Communication titled How has the image of women changed over time in the fashion magazine industry in America, looking specifically at the covers of the US magazine, Vogue, between the years of its first publication in 1892 until the present day?

Jeff Oloizia, in ‘The 10 Most Groundbreaking Covers in the History of Vogue’, explains the changes that have taken place on the covers of Vogue over the more than 120 years that the magazine has been in publication in America. It features an image of the first cover from 1892, which can be seen in figure 2 (Oloizia, 2014). Like figure 1, the cover is far from what we would expect of a magazine cover nowadays. There are no air brushed models on the front cover. There are no bright colours, no eye-catching type or no glossy finish to the cover. The woman in the center is dressed in a long dress covering her arms, but quite low over the chest region. She seems to be picking flowers in a garden. She is posed in such a way that she is looking out towards the viewer with a closed mouth smile. The two women towards the top of the cover on either side of the title are leisurely relaxing; one is looking at herself in a mirror and the other reading what looks like a newspaper. The imagery is very classical in the poses.

The image of the woman that appears from this cover suggests that women were quite happy to spend their days relaxing in an idealized world of flowers and beauty which is similar to the image that is portrayed in the first image, in fig. 1, of the first cover of Harper’s Bazaar. These women appear idealized. The woman in the center is fashionably dressed for the time, but the other two look like they are from a classical muse. According to Appell in her article ‘The Influence of Society’s Ideals on Victorian Relationships’, women at this time were expected to stay at home taking care of their husbands and children. They were rarely educated and it was unusual for a woman to seek employment unless they were forced to do so by poverty. The publisher Arthur Baldwin Turnure says that the aim of the cover was to attract ‘the sage as well as the debutante, men of affairs as well as the belle’. (Appell, 2006) This is different to the aim of women as a target market, which Vogue is now known for. The image of the woman here is a man’s classicised impression of how a woman of that period spends her time. This idealized world of the woman would be an unusual lifestyle at that time but was a common feature on the covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar at this time.  (Appell, 2006) (Oloizia, 2014)

Appell, F. Victorian Ideals: The Influence of Society’s Ideals on Victorian Relationships. (2006) Available: http://www.mckendree.edu/academics/scholars/issue18/appell.htm. Last accessed 10 Nov 2014.

Oloizia, J. (2014). The 10 Most Groundbreaking Covers in the History of Vogue. Available: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/vogue-magazine-list-10-most-groundbreaking-covers-in-the-history-of-vogue/?_r=0. Last accessed 10 Nov 2014.

First Cover of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine

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Fig. 1, Carla Rioux, (2014), Magazine First Cover Harper’s Bazaar – 1867 [ONLINE]. Available at: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/8936899233948158/ [Accessed 25 February 15].

Extract from a thesis written by Sofia Arvanius for her final year studying for a BA in Visual Communication titled How has the image of women changed over time in the fashion magazine industry in America, looking specifically at the covers of the US magazine, Vogue, between the years of its first publication in 1892 until the present day?

According to its website, Harper’s Bazaar is the oldest, continuously published fashion magazine in the world. (Bazaar, 2006) First published in 1867, it celebrated its 140th birthday in 2007. It was initially set up by Mary Louise Booth as an illustrated journal which was produced weekly and talked about fashion, gardening, the world of art, polite etiquette and other domestic wonders, with the first ever issue being dedicated to fashion and literature. Booth sought to publish a journal that was to act as ‘a repository of fashion, pleasure and instruction’ as the Harper’s Bazaar tagline read. Ali Basye wrote in his article ‘The Stories Behind the Styles’ about how Harper’s Bazaar arrived on the newspaper stands quietly without fuss and was sent out in the mailboxes of select ladies of society. In those early years, the magazine featured many different styles of the logo with a slightly shorter spelling of the name; Harper’s Bazaar. In the first few decades of its existence, the journal wrote about everything from avant-garde fashions to running a country home, where to get the best gowns, the social season and how to behave, and the art of facial expressions. As a magazine targeting women and writing about popular cultures of the time, it offers insight into the values and the role of women of that time. (Bazaar, 2006) (Basye, 2010)

In figure 1 (fig.1), we see the first cover produced by the magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, published on Saturday, 2nd November, 1867 in New York. It was printed with black ink on white paper, as printing technologies at that time did not yet allow for coloured printing. The cover is broken up into three sections; the top, where the logo is situated, the middle where a series of head decorations are shown, and the bottom of the cover, where two women are dressed in long flowing wedding dresses. The magazine is clearly targeting a female audience, with its illustration of bonnets and wedding dresses, as described on the cover. Furthermore, under the heavily decorated logo we see the Harper’s Bazaar tagline ‘a repository of fashion, pleasure and instruction’. This tag-line hints at what was considered to be entertaining for woman of this time; housekeeping and domestic tasks, gardening, sowing, being presented with good etiquette, looking well and social status.

According to a Cliff Notes article, ‘Changes in American Society’, the legal role of women in society in America in the 1860’s was largely the same as it had been in the colonial period. Women were still expected by society to stay at home and create a clean and nurturing environment, while men went out to work, brought in an income and dealt with the outside world. (Notes, 2014)

The women in the middle of the magazine cover are presented wearing various types of hats as part of the ‘Fall bonnets’ trend. The bonnets are decorated with lace, floral details and decorative bows. This magazine is clearly targeting middle and upper-class women who would have been the type of people who were able to afford magazines at the time since less well-off women of the 1860’s would not have the disposable income to spend on magazines. The two women towards the bottom of the cover are gracefully posed to show off their wedding dresses which have the long sleeves and high neckline fashionable at the time. According to the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Massachusetts, the practice of a white wedding dress would not become standard until the late 19th century. Overall we are given an image of a middle- to upper-class woman whose place in society is within her household. The image of the woman portrayed here has a sweet and elegant persona who enjoys leisurely pursuits such as gardening and household tasks, as well as being up-to-date on the latest fashions. (Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, 1999)

 

Basye, A. (2010). Hang Onto Your Pearls: The Little Black Dress is Born. Available: http://onthisdayinfashion.com/?p=6210. Last accessed 10 Nov 2014.
Cliffs Notes, (2014). Changes in American Society . Available: http://www.cliffsnotes.com/more-subjects/history/us-history-i/economic-growth-and-development-18151860/changes-in-american-society. Last accessed 25 Feb 2015.
Harper’s Bazaar Staff. (2006). The First 30 Years: 1867-97. Available: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a9517/bazaar-140-0107/. Last accessed 25 Feb 2015.
Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Massachusetts. (1999). Wedding Dress. Available: http://www.memorialhall.mass.edu/collection/itempage.jsp?itemid=15807. Last accessed 25 Feb 2015.