A couple of weeks ago I visited a local antiques shop and found this baby, a September 1st, 1939 edition of Vogue (which coincides with the official date WWII started). At that point in time, Edna Woolman Chase was the EIC of American, British, and French Vogue. (And apparently back then American Vogue came out more than once a month!) In October 1895, Chase began at American Vogue in the mail room and worked her way up, not due to ambition, but because she sincerely enjoyed her job. By 1914 she was the editor-in-chief, and that year she made her largest contribution to the fashion sphere: she put on the first American fashion show. Paris couturiers were still dealing with the after-effects of WWI and had difficulty transporting their products across the Atlantic. Since most of Vogue’s editorial content was from France, Chase commissioned New York designers to create fashions for a show. The presentation and subsequent exposure gave American designers a prestige previously reserved for international attire.
The artist of the cover and the black and white illustrations is Carl Erickson. (He may also be the artist of the shoe page as well. The facing page was torn out from my copy, and with it perhaps the signature.) Erickson debuted his work in Vogue in 1916, and in 1925 became a regular contributor until the 1950s. He was renowned for his fashion illustrations, advertisement art, and society portraits, becoming a leading figure in his field. The fantastic color illustrations titled RBW, including the one directly above, are by Rene Bouet-Willaumez. Willaumez frequently submitted his work to the magazine in the ’30s and ’40s, often working side by side with Erickson.
Whenever I go to vintage or antique shops I always look for magazines. I’m mainly a collector of contemporary mags; I read them (99% of the time) and then use them for art/collages. But I love anything old, and being able to see fashion through the ages, as it was first presented, is so fascinating to me. I was so excited to find it—the only other older magazines I have are ’60s issues of LIFE—and I’ve scanned some pretty pages for all to see.