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Antique Fashion & Costume Plates
Part 6 - Fashion Plates - 1840+
Fashion History

By Pauline Weston Thomas for


Antique Fashion & Costume Plates - Moniteur de la Mode

Part 6 - Fashion Plates - 1840+ Fashion History

Moniteur de la Mode

The Moniteur de la Mode was first published in 1843 and fashion plates entered a new age where they were made more scenic and became conversation pieces. It is an important Paris magazine in that most artwork was done by the artist Jules David. It was David who developed the fashion plate into a composition with interesting backgrounds.  He placed the models in settings such as garden or against rose trailed pergolas.  He also used carefully studied interiors from bedroom to dining room to drawing room. We are able to observe ladies taking afternoon tea or strolling at the racecourse and at the same time get a good idea of the  surrounding style of the day.

For the British fan of fashion plates, the artist Jules David is particularly important as The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine (a Beeton publication) imported French engravings to use instead of struggling to create inferior artwork.  Many British households have access to copies of The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine and they can often be found in antiquarian bookshops.

Jules David always signed his fashion plate designs and all were used initially for Moniteur de la Mode.  Later the original engravings were sold on and found their way into both German, French, Spanish and American publications.  This meant that in what were then distant places like America, fashions could be up to a year out of style as designs were kept in seasonal line. 

The American version of this magazine was the Monitor of Fashion which ran 1853-54 in New York.

Below are two very different fashion plates from the publication.

Moniteur de la Mode

Moniteur de la Mode Mantelets.

The total of plates David produced for the Moniteur de la Mode was 2600 and he died in 1892, after half a century of work for the magazine. The one below shows the signature of David.

Le Moniteur de la Mode

Moniteur de la Mode 1889

G. Gonin succeeded in 1892 as the main artist and the magazine continued until the early C20th.


Les Modes Parisiennes

Les Modes Parisiennes was another important magazine born in Paris in March 1843, but initially as a larger format magazine. The size was reduced to quarto in January 1944 because the originally oversized magazines were being damaged in the post. So the magazine was redefined and copies of plates after 1844 were quarto.

The prime artist was François-Claudins Compte-Calix.  Compte-Calix was a watercolour artist of repute. He also executed the illustrations for several costume history books of his day.

Le Petit Messager des Modes began also in 1843.  Competition was high that year!

Le Petit Messager des Modes 1864

Le Petit Messager des Modes Fashion Plates 1864.

This 'aged' reproduction image is courtesy of alldressformsand available for purchase from there.  

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This Fashion Plates Page Added 8 Oct 2005

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To Top of Page looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era. Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values, homelife and politics have all contributed to lifestyle trends which influence the clothes we wear. These are the changes that make any era of society special in relation to the study of the costume of a period. can take no responsibility for the information above and any outcome which may cause you error, loss or costs incurred from use of the information and links either directly or indirectly from this website or other websites.

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