Historic Fashion Prints- L’Histoire du Costume Feminin Mondial

Another great offering of historic fashion text and prints is also from Paul Louise de Giafferri, and takes on the daunting task of creating a chronology the history of womens’ fashions around the world.

L’Histoire du Costume Feminin Mondial by Paul Louise de Giafferri. Published by Editions Nilsson, Paris. C. 1925

This set of three volumes by Giafferri takes a look at the history of women’s fashions throughout time and all over the world. Of the three volumes in this printing, the library possesses volumes one and three. Each volume is broken into sections, covering a geographical and sometimes a temporal area. Each section is broken into thirteen main aspects of dress and fashion, which are discussed after the overview of the area in the textual part of the section. Each section ends with ten pochoir plates depicting the thirteen main aspects of dress in that region- “Robes, Manteaux, Chapeaux, Corsage, Jupes, Manches, Broderies, Etoffes, Lingeries, Rubans, Chaussures, Parures, and Colifichets” – “Dresses, Coats, Hats, Bodices, Skirts, Sleeves, Embroidery, Lingerie, Ribbons, Shoes, Jewelry and Knicknacks.”

These volumes are important as a perspective on how the Francophile world was viewing both the historical and current fashion trends of the rest of the world during the 1920s. While not outright demeaning toward other cultures’ fashions, it does convey through prints several stereotypes regarding appearance. However, these stereotypes are likely little more than exaggerated truths, and can be seen as appropriate for a chronicle of the fashion history of global cultures written from a French perspective during the 1920s.These volumes are also important as illustrated histories to the fashion of the world and as plates to base costume design from. These color plates are beautiful examples of the hand-colored pochoir printing technique that was in its heyday in the 1920s.

Please enjoy the following pochoir section opening prints from the volumes in the library’s collection; volumes one and three.


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