11 November 2017
South Tyrol tour, part 1: Castle hopping, the finding of fashion and women's magazines of the mid-19th century, and the comparison to nowadays' fashion communication
South Tyrol tour, part 2: After walking through nature, I relaxed while reading at mid-19th century fashion magazines about women's movement activities...
by Fashionoffice publisher Karin Sawetz
After walking through forests and meadows for reaching castles, I used the time for looking through fashion magazines which were once consumed by a woman in her 20ies 150 years ago in Tyrol.
fig. above: The picture shows me at Kehlburg in Gais; the snow covered mountains belong to the Zillertal Alps; nearby the mountain range lies the Hintertux Glacier where the new music video 'Perfect' by Ed Sheeran was filmed.
fig. right: The jacket with the coat of arms of Bruneck (tower of Bruneck castle) is from a special edition by the Italian label Robe di Kappa.
While reading the articles in the book-bonded magazine collection, I began to compare today's magazine journalism and communication of fashion, beauty (using therefore exemplary the new 'So Real' eau de toilette from the 'Cheap & Chic' line by Moschino) with the content I have found at the issues of the 'Damenkleider Magazin vereinigt mit Musterzeitung & Frauenzeitung' (could be translated as 'Women's Clothing Magazine united with Pattern Journal & Women's Journal') published by the J. B. Metzler'schen Buchhandlung in Stuttgart, Germany (publishing house belongs since 2016 to Springer Nature).
What can't be found at the samples are the big designer names which began to revolutionize the communication of fashion, beauty and perfumery decades later starting with the House of Worth (founded by Charles Frederick Worth), Paul Poiret and especially Coco Chanel; last mentioned delivered to the maison's iconic fashion style (comfortable dresses, jackets, skirts and trousers), the modern image of working women of the 20th century and in the early 1920ies the first designer perfume which is until today a bestseller - Chanel N°5 (history).
Mastering daily life as woman was already one of the core themes at the magazine sample from the years 1866 and 1867, even when the main content concerned practical instructions how to craft the latest clothing models and accessories. The making-of chapter is followed by the 'Allgemeiner Modebericht', the general fashion report about international trends, especially trends from Paris, the trend-setting city of 19th century fashion. The general fashion report communicated news with partly political and revolutionary content such as the story about a group of women who founded the organization 'Le Club de la Saint Mousseline' with the mission to oppose excessive luxury and promote a new simplicity. Proclamations of a more simple clothing and headdresses for enabling women to enter working life can be found at several issues. Fashion with a lot of decoration was seen as one of the reasons why women were not percepted as equal as the focus was set more on the appearance than on women's intellectual qualities.
After the 'Allgemeine Modebericht', the magazine published in the most cases of the sample novel sequels. 'Buntes Allerlei' (could be translated as 'All Kind Of Things') is the title of the next chapter. The content reached from beauty, health themes to anecdotes such as a young female philologist who worked seven years long in the scientific discipline costumed as man because women weren't allowed to study and work in the academic area.
fig. below: At the 'Buntes Allerlei' of the last issue (15 December 1867) of the magazine collection, the article 'Damen-Universität in Amerika' by the German daily newspaper 'Schwäbischer Merkur' about the first women's higher education institution with degree in America, the Vassar Female College in New York, is published. The report provides details about the amount of students, the architecture of the buildings, the infrastructure of energy solutions for light, ventilation, heating, or warm and cold water in the rooms, the teachers, library, art gallery, laboratories,... and expresses the disbelieve that such a high education will ever be available in Europe (the picture below shows the respective text passage).
Perfumery tips couldn't be found at the sample although recommendations for recipes concerning beauty, health belonged to the magazine's strategy. The perfumery or fashion industry as we know today didn't exist in the mid-19th century. Today, fashion and beauty goes in the most cases hand in hand. Fragrances created together with perfumers for accompanying fashion lines can be tracked back to the early 1920s when couturiers beginning with Coco Chanel began to fill the scent of a lifestyle into bottles.
Moschino's new eau de toilette 'So Real' from the 'Cheap & Chic' line captures the easy lifestyle and art director Jeremy Scott's wink on fashion and living by keeping on the ground of reality thanks to the image of the label and the designer who is known for critical views on today's society and environmental issues. Earlier this year, Associated Press published a video interview with Jeremy Scott on occasion of the presentation of the designer's own Jeremy Scott Fall/Winter 2017 collection presentation during New York Fashion Week where he spoke about the situation of women in US and the necessity of political engagement. The current Moschino Fall/Winter 2017 collection (shown at Milan Fashion Week) references the environment and relates to garbage and waste.
The lifestyle of Moschino is bottled as friendly citrus-orange invitation to enjoy life here and now. The moment it's spread to the body, the sun seems to shine warm and bright. 'So Real' from the 'Cheap & Chic' line doesn't burn up such as many other perfumes do; the fresh-warm top notes shine through the heart and base notes of the olfactory pyramid the whole day through; long-lasting scents are a criterion for working women.
Perfume descriptions such as olfactory pyramids didn't appear at the magazine sample from 1866, 1867; modern perfume concepts simply didn't exist at that time. But this fact doesn't answer the question if lifestyle of the early 21st century would be comprehensible for mid-19th century women.
South Tyrol tour, part 3: Women as drivers of cabriolets, the depiction of women in art,... - fashion themes in 1866, 1867 and the comparison of mid-19th century journalism and 21st century fashion, beauty communication by questioning if a mid-19th century Middle European woman would understand the intention of 21st century perfumery.