On a recent flea market shopping trip I picked up a few McCall’s magazines from the 1930s. Inside were pages of stunning fashion illustrations that captured the essense of the Art Deco design aesthetic of that era, which was referred to as Art Moderne or Streamline Moderne.
The earlier 1920s Art Deco style characteristics were geometric with emphasis on the vertical and elaborate surface ornamentation, while the style of the 30s emphasized horizontal, graceful flowing lines, and paired down ornamentation. Edges and angles vs. roundness and curves. It was design for the Machine Age. Aerodynamic, sleek and sexy.
Which brings me back to the fashion illustrations in the magazines. Just as in every era, design trends show up everywhere. The fashion and art of the 1930s was influenced by the Art Moderne design of buildings, cars, planes, ships etc. Unlike the fashions of the flapper era, which de-emphasized a woman’s figure, the fashions of the 30s were all about celebrating the female form. Flowing curves, an important hallmark of the Streamline Moderne look, was interpreted by fashion designers, particularly with the creation of the bias cut dress.
In 1934 Vogue reported that a fashionable woman’s profile would have to be the “windswept fleet lines of a speedboat or airplane. ” Now that’s streamlined!
Here are some of my favorite images. McCall’s Magazine hired illustrators, such as Jean Des Vignes, Blanche Rothschild and Marian Blynn to depict the outfits you could sew from their patterns.
These patterns were replicas of designer gowns that you could sew yourself! From left to right, Mainbocher, Patou, Lanvin and Paray designs.
The gowns on the left are Lucile Paray designs. The ones on the right are by Rober Piguet.
Beside the curve flattering bias cut, cutout or plunging V backs were a popular trend in the 30s.
I don’t know about you, but these fabulous drawings made me wish I had a closet full of these dresses!
Till next time…..