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Apr 6, 2015

Vogue Spring Fashions -- of 1942!



As anyone who follows me on Pinterest already knows, I am a big fan of vintage department store display, Sixties hairdos, and -- most especially -- Forties fashion.  

So I was thrilled to stumble upon not one, but two vintage Vogue magazines at the Chelsea flea market last weekend, both from 1942.  Slightly water damaged in the lower right corner (though thankfully dry), they sold for a mere $5 each.  I had to have them.

The first is pictured above, from March 15, 1942.  The second is from June 1 (below).



There are so many things I love about these wartime Vogues.  It's not just the fashions themselves, so beautifully captured by photographers like Horst and Rawlings.  It's also the ads for gloves and shoes, for hats and hosiery.  I also adore the written copy, focused as it is on glamour, taste, and loveliness.  You don't see those words in print very often anymore.

The March issue covers spring fashions as well as Adrian's newly launched dress line.  There's even a section on the latest Vogue sewing patterns!













Please step back in time with me and experience more than sixty pages from the March 15, 1942, Vogue.

Just click here.

(All photos can all be supersized for closer examination.)

Have a great day, everybody!

Even the cigarette ads are chic!

17 comments:

  1. No wonder you had to have them -- a steal at $5 ea. There's too much to mention in a short comment but I found the text re. the Afternoon Dress very interesting, how it touches on the then feminine role, war and peace, time of day (today's transitional wardrobe), modernity, etc. and what really strikes me is the modesty of the clothing compared to today's magazines: there's a lot more fabric with which to do interesting things. Great photography -- the b & w portraits are dramatic and mysterious. The ads are charming, funny, and clever.

    Although way before my time, I feel like I relate to this aesthetic. Thanks for sharing these great magazines with us, taking to a more stylish time and place.

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  2. The March 15th, 1942 cover model is so chic, she even upstages the Afghan Hound.

    Thank you for all the pictures - if not lost, charm has been eroded from our world.

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  3. Thank you for sharing, Peter. Although I don't advocate a return to wearing a hat and gloves at all times, I do think it is a shame that so many people today don't make an effort to dress nicely even for special occasions.

    So, have these magazines provided new inspiration for a future Cathy ensemble? :)

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  4. $5 a piece, what a steal! Thanks for the inside look. My husband collects those old Vogues, and I love looking at the ads for things like girls' finishing schools. Since the oceanliners couldn't travel back and forth from Europe, it was the beginning of American-based fashion design. They did pretty well without things like rationed zippers and silk. The birth of the "American Look"!

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  5. Even though this was very early in WWII, the USA fashion industry was already under rationing. It would just get much worse as time went by. But the brits would have it much worse than we did, and they were still used to rationing from WWI.

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    1. Cloth and clothes rationing didn't exist during WWI and even in WWII it only reached a height during '42-'43. England is a cloth producing country (much more then too). Rationing for the first war ended in the early 20s, so there's a good 20-year gap. The war generation would not have been that accustomed to rations.

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  6. I was reading the text for the Under Twenty fashions and noticed that they were being offered at J.L.Hudson's in Detroit. An absolutely wonderful store, my family shopped there from the mid forties until they closed in the late 1970's. Many tears were shed when that historic building was razed.

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  7. Lucky find! Wonderful pics. I, too, love the 40's fashions.

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  8. What's amazing is the color in some of these fashions as well as the amount of fabric in some (fuller skirts, coats, etc.), as there was a lot of rationing at the time which pretty much precluded anything that took a lot of fabric. It was the predominant Elsa Schiaparelli silhouette that was so huge because it didn't take much fabric, but had great style. It lasted almost 3 decades (almost as long as the Grunge has today), which is pretty phenomenal for a fashion trend. But then back then good style and fit was key. Today it's just quantity and price. :-|

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  9. It's fascinating to see these pictures a few days after visiting the "Fashion on the Ration" exhibition at the Imperial War Museum here in London. Clothes rationing became very strict in Britain in 1941 with the introduction of the Utility Clothing regulations. The maximum amount of fabric per manufactured garment was strictly limited, as well as the amount of thread used to sew it, the number of buttons (maximum 5) etc. Details such as the size and number of pockets were strictly stipulated and men's trousers had to be made without turn-ups (cuffs). A number of the American Vogue designs, for example that gorgeous red dress with multi-layered sleeves, would have been out of the question. Fortunately the Government was wise enough to involve leading fashion designers in producing "patriotic" garments and some of those on display were very stylish and would be wearable today (by the very slender). All the film clips and photos demonstrated how slim people were on their boring, restricted but oh so healthy wartime diet. The most interesting items for a sewist were the homemade garments inspired by the "Make Do and Mend" movement, including some beautiful dresses, blouses and a jumpsuit made from novelty or furnishing fabrics.

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    1. Thanks for such a detailed description of this show. I've been very curious about it and am looking forward to seeing it on a London visit in June. I've long admired the items of utility clothing on exhibit at the V&A.

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    2. I saw it too and it is interesting although I thought the entrance fee was quite expensive for what it was because it really is a very small exhibition. Some lovely victory scarves at the end too (although they didn't seem to be able to do a rolled hem on a victory scarf which was a bit of a let down!!). If you're in Paris, check out the exhibtion Déboutonner la Mode at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (next to the Louvre) _ amazing garments throughout the ages each one of which has a shape or turn moulded by buttons. There is also a big section on the New Look with some of the original pièces by Dior that are just sublime. There's also beautiful tailoring from, among others, Balenciaga and YSL including his toiles which you could wear in the street, no problem! They're perfect garments in themselves.

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    3. PS Here is the link to the website for anyone who's interested http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/en/exhibitions/current-events-1322/musee-des-arts-decoratifs/deboutonner-la-mode/

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    4. I don't know if there is a display of utility clothing at the V&A this summer (I didn't check but I thought they had the McQueen exhibit at that time) but there is an exhibition of wartime fashion at the Imperial War Museum which seems very interesting: http://www.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-london/fashion-on-the-ration

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  10. These were my mother's fashions in her heyday! I remember in the 1970's, there were a glut of 40's fashions in the thrift stores, for pennies. I wore a midnight blue velvet dress from that period until it literally rotted off me!! Thanks for the great post, Peter.

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  11. beautiful photography and the fashions were elegant and ladylike. Many could be worn today

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  12. Those are so incredibly glamorous!
    My entire magazine collection (apart from one item: a bound quarter of Vogue magazines from 1915) is European. I have a sewing magazine and half a year of ladies' magazines from 1942: All make-do-and-mend and how to make the most of your rations. Very interesting from a social history point of view, but never glamorous. And a bit depressing if you realize the worst was yet to come...

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