December 9, 2012

Blast from the past

I saw this picture in my book of 1951 Beatrijs magazines and I thought this would be a great one to share with you. I should add that it's not typical for images in this publication.

Beatrijs used its back cover for pictures (they did this in 1941, 1951 and 1954, so I guess it was a long-standing habit). These could be seasonal (little girls picking flowers), religious (a nun at a window, Beatrijs was a catholic magazine after all) or cute (small child with toy) but mostly, they were full page fashion pictures. 
In the 1950's 'edgy' posing hadn't been invented yet. Models tended to be narrow waisted but healty women in their mid twenties who positioned their bodies in natural or elegant ways, depending on the type of garment they were wearing. They were always perfectly groomed and their poses seem designed to display the garment clearly and accurately. 
That is where this image is different. Bearing the simple title of "striped in black and white" is does show an elegant lady, wearing a diagonally striped swagger to perfection. However, between the loose style of the coat and the stripes all you really see of the lady is a little bit of face and a pair of ankles in cuban heel stockings. This, in itself, gives the image an unusual, graphic quality but there is another unusual element as well. At the right side of the page, you can see (Oh, please ignore the weird line above it, that's a tear in the paper) the nose of a car. It's a little out of focus and yet, instantly recognizable, even today: it's a Volkswagen Beetle.
The Beetle was (I learned from Wikipedia) first designed in the late 1930's but real production started after the Second World War, making it available in Europe in the late 1940's (although it wasn's sold in the UK until 1953). It owed its lasting popularity to its reliability and sturdiness but also to the iconic advertising campaigns made for it (mostly in the US) in the 1960's.
I was aware of that last fact. To be honest, I was so well aware of the popularity of the Beetle in the 1960's that I wasn't even sure it could have been around in the early 1950's. That's why I looked it up in the first place.
With that particular power of hindsight, that makes this fashion picture incredibly fashion-forward for 1951 and maybe even a touch futuristic...

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating! It's a striking image to start with. It is always interesting to get some context about these things.