Engraving from the women's magazine "Journal des Demoiselles et Petit Courrier des Dames Réunis" showing two richly adorned ladies in formal dress, conversing on a terrace by a balustrade.
The magazine, published between 1833 and 1922, was dedicated to women's and children's fashion, menus and recipes, gardening, embroidery and other types of needlework with highly detailed patterns, accessories, etc. Since they were illustrated it meant that the women of the bourgeoisie could copy the models and begin what we now know as fashion. Given their abundance in the 19th century, the aim of these publications was to instruct women in areas based on different ideologies and political stances.
The designs published tended to be drawings or prints in which the ladies were depicted elegantly and attractively. The most common techniques for the printing plates were lithography and woodcuts. These magazines were also copied in Spain and helped to spread French fashion to other countries.
The women appeared, alone or in groups, against interior backgrounds -opera, visits, social events...- or outside -romantic landscapes, the beach...-strolling, enjoying a show at the theatre or even, in the last few decades of the 19th century, playing sports. While the magazines showed ladies how to dress, the pictures were used to dictate forms and modes of life, feminine conducts and attitudes, which also changed their habits, since the designs and drawings were accompanied by information in captions that detailed terms such as day dresses, evening dresses, reception dresses..., and short descriptions of the fabrics or colours with which to make them.