La Mode Illustrée, February 1900. Courtesy MoMu, all rights reserved
The image shows the cover of an issue dated 18th February 1900 of La Mode Illustrée. The magazine was first published in 1859 in Paris. It was one of the most important French magazines of the late nineteenth that carried on well into the twentieth century. It was published on Sundays, with illustrations and description of Victorian attires and accessories, in the form of fashion plates that could be framed and used for display.
In the second half of nineteenth century, the fashion market underwent a huge expansion both in America and Britain, where numerous fashion engravings and patterns were being printed and sold. Paris, however, was the center of it all, and La Mode Illustrée was the unrivaled leader of the fashion engraving during this period.
From 1860 to 1872 La Mode created some of the finest fashion plates of the era. Its engravings were larger, more detailed and much more artistically hand-coloured than any of its competitors in England, France or America. By 1872, however, the high cost of publishing these original works were too prohibitive, and La Mode was shut down.
For years these original engravings have been avidly sought by collectors. The appeal of these works, in fact, has been so strong that photomechanical reproductions have been made since the early 1920’s.
The europeana fashion archive, thanks to the MoMu holdings, has an extensive number of issues of the magazine that can be browsed entirely online.