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1930s Magazine Marie Claire History

Cover Page Hat & Hair Images

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Fashion History - 1930s Magazine Marie Claire History

Cover Page Hat & Hair Images

Magazine covers are a rich source of information about hair styles, hats and make up as so often they focus on a headshot of the model.  Back in the late 1930s when the now well known magazine Marie Claire was first published, this is exactly what happened.

Visitors often write to me with interesting bits of information.   No one could ever today hope to read every word written on even their favourite subject, so I was very interested in the story about Marcelle Auclair that Dorothy wrote and told me more about.  She also sent me these lovely pages from the late 1930s which show both hats and hairstyles of 1937, 1938,  1939 and 1940.  The Marie-Claire story that goes with them is printed below the images.


1930s Magazine Marie Claire History

Cover Page Hat & Hair Images

Marie Claire Magazine 12 March 1937 Marie Claire Magazine 1 October 1937 Marie Claire Magazine 2 June 1939 Marie Claire Magazine 12 April 1940
Marie Claire Magazine 3 June 1938 Marie Claire Magazine 3 June 1938 Marie Claire Magazine 9 June 1939 Marie Claire Magazine 16 February 1940
Marie Claire Fashion magazine hats and hair from cover and pages from 1937, 1938, 1939 and 1940.
Images courtesy of site visitor Dorothy Nixon

Today anyone interested in fashion is well aware of the magazine Marie Claire.  It's not been around in UK anything like as long as in some other countries.  At a guess I think its been on UK newsagent shelves for about 25 years.  I certainly recall it in the early 1980s.

Marcelle Auclair co-founded the magazine Marie Claire.  Dorothy Nixon has done extensive research on Auclair since all her books including autobiography are available in French, where Dorothy lives in Montreal.

Dorothy wrote to tell me about Marie Claire and the co-founder.  She went on to tell me that ...

<<... Marie Claire Magazine today doesn't give Auclair ANY credit, but it could be said she created with Jean Prouvost, the modern women's magazine format - and according to Marcelle Auclair, the idea was hers in the first place. >>

Dorothy wrote and read out an essay on Marcelle Auclair for Canadian CBC.  Here is the story she told me...

<<Marcelle Auclair got the job working for Prouvost (writing a beauty column) because Collette didn't meet her deadline.  According to her autobiography she was the one who proposed a women's weekly to Prouvost who only agreed when she offered the idea elsewhere.

She and Prouvost visited the USA because she wanted Marie Claire to combine American Style features, with French Fashion Sense.  The Magazine became an instant sensation.  Lore has it they had to bring police in to keep women from overrunning kiosks each Wednesday in Paris.

Auclair wrote ALL the features in first 12 or so magazines, eventually keeping beauty and health.  She and her husband writer and editor Jean Prevost were athletic, hence all the modern looking exercise features.  They hobnobbed with St. Exupery and mingled with Sartre and de Beauvoir (whom she describes as a couple even poorer than her.)


A woman who was comfortable in a man's world, Auclair admits Prevost abused her during their relationship, especially when she was editing Marie Claire.  She divorced him.  They had three children, one of whom was a movie star, Francoise Prevost.  He died working for the resistance during the war.

She was raised in Chile, born in France, Auclair wrote the definitive biography of St. Theresa of Avila and of other people and a lot of new age books about happiness Livre de Bonheur, which are still in print.  Her editorials all have a new Age slant, she was into yoga and meditation in the 30's!  She says she read every letter sent to Marie Claire for the advice column.  Some of the advice she doled out was ironic, considering the state of her marriage.  I believe she died in 1980.>>

Dorothy told me in another email that she liked the Auclair story and continued that...

 <<.... because Marie Claire is still around and I believe, although I am not certain, that Prouvost's granddaughter still owns a lot of the French one.  And on their website they mention nothing of Auclair as if Prouvost did it all himself.  (He was indeed active in the publication... He also chose the name. Marie Claire was a novel, I believe.  The magazine also features a number of stories by Academie Francaise writers, friends of Auclair.

I once contacted a grandson of Auclair, who is much more interested in mounting a documentary about his father.... He was perplexed about why Marie Claire didn't acknowledge her contribution.   Plenty of people on the web do.  I'm interested because she was such an intellectual, first rate journalist, but she said her favourite kind of writing was beauty writing.   I think someone should make a movie about this couple, their story has all the elements. By the way, Francoise Prevost was a NEW WAVE actress; I temporarily forgot the name of the genre.... >>

My sincere thanks to Dorothy Nixon for this information and use of the lovely images she collects.

I hope you find that information as interesting as I did and also enjoy the lovely Marie Claire covers above on this page.  For more 1930s hair and hat images check out my other pages.

Page added 9 September 2005.

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About 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 also contribute to lifestyle trends, which in turn 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.Fashion History can take no responsibility for any information on the site which may cause you error, loss or costs incurred from use of the information and links either directly or indirectly.  This site is owned, designed, written and developed by author: Pauline Thomas and Guy Thomas. This site is designed to be viewed in 1024 X 768 or higher.

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