The Library Archives contain samples of historic fashion from all over the world – and from many different eras. While Harper’s Bazar and La Mode de Illustree are two of the more well known publications that catered to women who wanted to make their own garments – there were many, many others that mirrored their form and format. (If not quite often stealing their designs!)
La Salon De La Moda was such a publication, that featured a 11 X 17 format folio and an over size pattern sheet from which the pattern were traced. While there is not a broad depth of information on this magazine, the publishers were Montaner & Simon – one of the most important publishers in Spain. The magazine was published from about 1884 through 1913.
The mast head reads (in my not so good Spainsh!) – “A biweekly journal, indispensable for families, with a profusion of black and white illustrations of the latest fashions from Paris.”
The issues contained in the archive are noted as follows:
Volume 5 – no date
Volume 6 – Jan. 14, 1889
Volume 6 – Feb. 25, 1889
Volume 8 – July 14, 1890
Volume 9 – July 13, 1891
And one mystery issue which is noted as Volume 5 – but with no publication date. If it follows the system as above – volume 5 would be from 1888.
The pattern sheets are of an interesting type of paper. Rather than the same newsprint as the magazines (which Harper’s and La Mode used) the paper is a semi-transparent red – with a waxy or glossy finish on it. Heavier than onion skin – but not as heavy as newsprint.
The pattern sheet is printed both sides as is usual with these sort of publications – with a cutting guide to the pieces, but no instructions for sewing. A template of all the pieces on the sheet is provided. Pieces for bodices are given but no patterns or diagrams for skirts are included.
In general the art work and fashions depicted are not as elegant or as well defined as those in La Mode Illustree from the same period – though it is clear that the target audience for this publication would have been the same as that of La Mode or Harper’s.
This odd little booklet came from the “Misc. Fashion” files. One of those items that is somewhat difficult to actually pin a label on. At first glance one would suppose it would be chock full of all sorts of hints and information about clothing yourself or your family on a budget.
Despite the title, it appears to be an advertising give-away, most likely from a tailoring shop, as on the second page we find: The magazine is eight pages in length, with black and white illustrations through out – except for the color front and back covers. The box on the front cover is imprinted with the Berry-Ball Dry Goods Co. Which indicates that this was a magazine that was ordered from a central clearing house, where it was imprinted with the purchaser’s company name.
However, despite the title – there is very little about Dressing Well For Little Money. A few of the written pieces exhort men to consider purchasing their suits of “good taste and quality” ready-made. And there is very sound advice regarding the “Whole Cloth Back Suit” – wherein the back of the jacket is made in a single piece, in order to avoid ” . . the breaking of the stripe or check”.
The majority of the page space is filled with light humor in the form of jokes, short tales of about two paragraphs long, and some pithy observations on the nature of life. Such as:
A Few Buts
A man demands that a woman shall always be well dressed. He is a perpetual victim to the click of high-heeled shoes and the frou-frou of silk skirts, and to his private code, considers mother hubbards and curl papers as suffcient grounds for divorce. But - he expects his wife to achieve the miracle of first-class clothes on an eighth-class income.
EVERY man demands that a woman’s heart shall be an ice-bound fortress, diffusing a cold storage atmosphere that will give every other man who approaches her frosted feet. But - he wants her to turn into a seething volcano of red-hot affection when he draws upon the scene.
All in all – it’s an odd little bit of printing. If you’d like to take a look at the magazine in it’s entirety – you can download it in full (for a small fee) – by going to this link: DRESSING WELL DOWNLOAD.