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“Incontestable Seduction”

January 11, 2008

We’re in a very French spirit here at the moment. We’re just full of joie de vivre and esprit de corps and savoir faire. It must be something to do with this issue of Nouvelle Mode magazine from 29 December 1912.


Mademoiselle Dastry flashes a neatly turned ankle on the cover while indulging in a spot of croquet. (A little investigative googling does not turn up much on Miss Dastry, apart from the fact that she is probably Huguette Dastry, who seems to have been an actress.) What a demure but slightly cheeky pose! I remember reading somewhere (although where exactly escapes me at the moment) that croquet was looked on as being simultaneously ever so slightly scandalous and great for flirting, as it presented the opportunity for flashing an inch or two of leg…
As well as offering the usual advice of dubious usefulness on how to achieve pearly teeth, softer hands, whiter skin and shinier hair (sounds familiar….) the magazine showcases the latest trends.


I love the richness of embellishments and fabrics that went into fashion of the post-Edwardian period, and the clever draping that turns the body into a column or a Greek statue (although it must have been a bit of a bore to be effectively restrained by the “hobble skirt” into taking tiny steps). I always think that this period was the first time that layering in the sense that we know it now really began to reach its potential. There’s a lot going on in each of the costumes in these pictures, and yet in each one the layers really enhance the overall effect.

The ensembles in the pics above are titled “Incontestable Seduction” and “Exquises Visions”. Some things definitely do sound better in French.

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