I realize it's been a while since my last post! This was not intentional; I've just been out and about doing other things. Most recently I was in Paris for half a week with my friend who flew out from the US. I dragged her to the St. Ouen flea market, where I found this beauty:
It is Madrigal, a French ladies' weekly periodical with sewing, knitting and embroidery patterns, plus juicy stories. I believe my particular copy comes from 1953. There is no date listed anywhere in the magazine, I'm just estimating 1953 based on dates for other issues that I found on-line.
Here's a site where you can look up and purchase old journals, magazines, and such-like, called Journaux-Collection. I have edition no. 227; the link shows similar editions for sale at 15 euros; I got mine for 3 euros. Of course, my edition does not come with the sewing pattern supplement. I can look at the pattern illustrations but that's all.
Here's the back cover: Oh, Polka Dots!
While I originally bought this to look at the fashions, now I'm really fascinated by the stories in the magazine. Here's an example of what they look like: Je Défends Mon Amour.
In this particular story, Daria is an lawyer who is defending a childhood friend accused of pushing his wife to commit suicide. She falls in love with him (Maxime) and breaks off her engagement to Geoffroy, a judge. In this scene, Geoffroy is perhaps trying to black-mail Daria into coming back to him by giving her damning evidence about Maxime.
While the storyline is a typical love-triangle, I find it noteworthy that Daria is a criminal lawyer in 1953!
The format is like a cross between films and comic strips and each story lasts over many magazine issues. Apparently this genre emerged in post-WWII Italy and is called (in Italian) fotoromanzi. Sophia Loren (then known as Sophia Lazzaro) was a big star in this genre before starting her cinema career. You can see an early picture of her here.
I had never heard of this; I found a couple sites discussing this format, here's one in French and here's the French Wikipedia page. Sorry, I don't know what this is called in English so I don't have any English language sites. Maybe somebody knows? In French it's apparently called le roman-photo sentimental and existed in periodicals up until the 1980's.
For those of you who are interested, I will scan the rest of the stories for this issue and put them up in a later post.
And now back to the fashion, here are some of the styles represented in the magazine.
The tom-boy style (or garçon manqué, in French), which only seems masculine to me because the women are wearing (gasp!) pants:
Some tops and skirts:
But this magazine wasn't only about sewing. There's knitting and embroidery too. Here are some embroidery motifs so you can decorate your hankies:
Here are some handy instructions if you want to knit your daughter underwear (culottes):
And that's not all. For those of you who like to do home-dec projects or are into cooking, there's something for you too: you can reupholster kitchen chairs and read Maria's explanations for preparing fish.
I am really kicking myself right now for having only bought one issue. There was an entire store dedicated to this type of magazine and I could have easily bought the entire store. For a while I was tempted to get one magazine from each decade represented, but then I told myself that was not reasonable. So I only got one. I think that too wasn't not reasonable! Clearly I will have to go back. I feel an obsession developing...