May 23, 2013

Elle choisit l'été

I hope that's right... My French is rather poor.
Anyway, I think it means "she chooses summer". With the weather in the Netherlands more like autumn than (approaching) summer, the "summer state of mind" is much discussed. Can you believe we may get some frost tonight... 

Enough complaining about the weather. The French was supposed to be a little bridge to the topic of this post: French Elle magazine! The issue of 2 June 1955, to be precise. 

Back then, Elle was published weekly and from the ones I have, this is the issue closest to today's day and month.

It's immediately clear that this is not just another housewife's magazine. It's quite unlike my Dutch ladies' magazines and, come to think of it, rather different from its modern-day descendant as well...

Almost all adds are beauty or fashion related. The are no articles about childcare and most household ones are about care for one's clothes. There is a cooking page though and several stories.

There are some more serious general interest articles, like this one on a meeting of teenagers from around the world, organized by Unesco.

And there's showbizz. Like this report of filming a movie with Juliette Gréco in Saint-Germain-des-Pres (there she is, in the bottom left picture).

Or this snapshot of Brigitte Bardot being entertained at the Cannes Film Festival. 

And of course, there's fashion...

Model Bettina shares her foreign fashion finds...

And you could order the pattern for the suit she wears.

Then there's a choice of brightly coloured summer dresses...

I just love seeing period colour pictures. Although they are often less sharp and printed overly bright, they really add another dimension.

What about 6 pretty summer dresses with dots?

Or 6 with stripes? 

I just love this one.
Incidentally, this is that time in the mid-1950's when waist-lenght bodices and figure hugging longer ones are in fashion at the same time. You can see the evidence on all the dress pages.

On to practical fashion advice: how to use small bits of fabric and ribbons to give a fashionable accent to one's outfit. I think this is something the French are just naturally better at.

And there's a hat tutorial. Unfortunately, it's for a bog-standard beret but isn't that full page photograph for it glamorous?

There's even a garment pattern on scale. It's for a lovely blouse with a fold-over front. The picture is printed over two pages so I couldn't scan it but believe me: It's a simple fitted kimono sleeve blouse at the back but the front bodice is gathered onto a sleeve/yoke. Really nice. Maybe I should try and make it...

Oh, and of course there's a knitting pattern. With another glamorous full page picture. I have never seen a swimsuit knitting pattern like this before. It looks charming but this is not something I would care to try.

Hmm, summer dresses... Maybe I should just start on one...


  1. Really nice !
    Just a little note to say that your title is correct :-)
    Until now, I did not comment on your blog, but I love to follow it and discover your garments.

    Valérie (from France)

  2. How cool to be able to see that issue of Elle! Thanks for scanning it :) I really like the pictures of all these clothes, and that blouse looks very nice and a fun pattern to make.

  3. Thank you for sharing these pages! The dresses are so pretty -- perhaps if you make one, the weather will follow suit and summer will finally arrive?

  4. Gorgeous. The cross front raglan sleeved 'chemise' is my favourite. I'd love to make something like that up in very light knit-ignoring the fact that we're in the middle of winter here ofcourse..