Magazine of the Week

Hi, everyone!


This is a fashion/culture magazine. We have holdings from several of its different titles. Special Collections has holdings for the earlier title, Depeche Mode de la Couture et la Mode de Paris and the next title, Depeche de Couture. Up in PERS, we have the more recent title, which is became La Depeche de la Mode sometime in 1966, and finally Depeche Mode. This title began as a weekly fashion newsletter. It was published in Paris, and written in French. As the earlier titles show, it always focused heavily on couture and the couturiers producing it (cute shot of Gaultier, isn’t it?). It evolved into a monthly, and through the different formats I’ve pictured here.

The title “Depeche Mode”, which means “Fashion News” or “Fashion Update” was chosen as the name of a band 1980, by a group of electronic musicians from Basildon, U.K., thus confusing the issue and making it tough to look up the magazine.

The magazine ceased publication with their December 2001/January 2002, citing the difficult financial times just after the September 11th tragedy at the World Trade Center in New York.

I thought it would be interesting to look at how much the magazine changed over the years we have issues of it.  Here is the cover for the November 1966 issue:


The title doesn’t even have a photo on the cover. In fact, the entire magazine is illustrations not photographs, giving it a more newpaperish feeling than it’s magazine competitors Vogue Paris and L’Officiel de la Couture.








This looks a lot more like WWD (which in the 1960s and ’70s had illustrations by our own FIT Professor, Steven Stipelman) or another interesting title we have in our Open Stacks, ADigest.


By the 1990s, the title had become a glossy magazine, much like Vogue, L’Officiel, or Linea Italiana, and Elle. It was still focused heavily on couturiers, but it also had a popular culture flavor that was more in tune with a younger audience and the music scene. This youth appeal included some interest in crafting and do-it-yourself projects, like this article on lace:


This early 1990s issue has a distinctly playful feeling, even when addressing fashion and accessories:









By the 2000s, the title had gotten more serious and more like it’s competitors in the field, as seen in this 2001 issue. The photography is cutting edge and well styled, but so were the other titles in the field.




You can take a look at this title and many others on the 6th floor of the library.

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Woman Written Back Into History


One great event from the opening of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture is that designers of color now have public acknowledgement of their famous work. One such woman is Ann Lowe, who created Jackie Kennedy’s iconic wedding gown in 1953.

Jackie Kennedy in her wedding gown, September 12, 1953


Lowe was born in Clayton, Alabama in 1898, and learned design in her family’s custom dressmaker shop. She moved to Tampa in 1916, then to Manhattan in 1927, with the desire to develop a business making gowns for society women.

Although she worked for other designers through the Depression, by 1950 Lowe had established her own attalier at 540 Madison Avenue, second floor.

Her heyday coincided with that of the debutant ball, and in the 1950s and ’60s, she dressed many of the most prominent New York debs. In several families, her work was so respected that she dressed two and three generations of young women. The wedding gown and bridesmaids’ dresses she did for Jacqueline Kennedy, nee Bouvier, were just one set of many items she designed for the women of the Auchincloss family. Jackie’s step-sister Nina, wore a Lowe gown for her debut, as pictured below in Vogue.

Debutant Nina Auchincloss in her Anne Lowe gown, in Vogue, August 1, 1955.



In the Saturday Evening Post, in 1964, she described how “I like to have my dresses admired. I like to hear about it – the oohs and ahs as they come into the ballroom. Like when someone tells me ‘the Ann Lowe dresses were doing all the dancing at the cotillion last night.’ That’s what I like to hear.”

Ann Lowe worked into her 70s and died in her home in Queens in 1981.




Although Lowe has been written about in a number of places, e.g. the National Archive blog, Hidden Fashion History blog, The Huffington Post, the New York Post, and the New York Times (11/17/1967 among others), her name has not (yet) become well known. Inclusion of her work and her name in the National Museum of African American History and Culture will hopefully put her name back into the history of American design.




The Metropolitan Museum of Art has ten gowns by Lowe, including the one pictured on the left.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ first wedding dress is in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, along with an array of other clothes she wore as First Lady.




Elizabeth Keckley, modiste to Mrs. Lincoln
Elizabeth Keckley, modiste to Mrs. Lincoln



I wrote about another designer of color/dressmaker to First Ladies last winter: Elizabeth Keckley worked with and for both Mary Todd Lincoln and the Confederate First Lady, Varina Davis in the 1860s.

We also have her autobiography, Behind the Scenes: Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House.

Happy reading and dress-gazing!


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Magazine of the Week

Hi, everyone!


Today we look at another oldy-but-goodie, Art in America. This title was founded in 1913 by Frederic Fairchild Sherman, who was a noted collector and art critic of this era. The focus of the magazine was originally on old master paintings (think Rembrandt or Titian) in American collections. More recently the title has covered the art market that feeds into museums of modern and contemporary art and the art criticism that feeds that market.


Like most current magazines, this one has a website.

Like other titles I’ve written about, the website expands on the original print concept considerably. In this case, the online version includes more theoretical discussion of the place of museums, how the digital universe has changed them, and changes in the ideas of what “art” is.





The Art in America magazine website continues to review art exhibitions at major world museums and galleries, as well as write about the projects of contemporary artists and art galleries.

The website also has digital versions of the magazine going back to 1980.

It’s at the PERS desk on the 6th floor of the library. Come take a look!



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