Gazette du Bon Ton was a legendary Paris fashion magazine that provided inspiration for designers and dressmakers all over the world from 1912 until 1925. Each month, a group of major Paris fashion houses, including Worth, Lanvin, Poiret and Vionnet, collaborated on a monthly portfolio of up-to-date designs for dresses, hats and outerwear.
Lucien Vogel, the director of the magazine, assembled a team of regular illustrators and gave them carte blanche to interpret the fashions in their own way. Each artist developed his own style, often using witty titles to suggest a story behind each drawing.
A method called pochoir was used to create these images. Metal stencils were cut for each color required and gouache paint was used with each stencil to apply color to the blank paper. Under expert workmanship, a remarkably rich color print was produced. This technique was expensive and extremely labor-intensive, but it preserved the liveliness of the original drawing in a way that a mechanical process could not. The intention of this magazine was to be exclusive and showcase the most luxurious examples of high fashion in the most impressive way, regardless of the cost.
Each issue contained a small collection of these beautifully colored images. Brief stories or articles augmented these images, the illustrations of which subtly emphasized elements of costume that might inspire designers outside of France and also provide a vivid snapshot of Paris’ current couture and social scene.