La Mode Illustrée

When we moved into Les Fragnes nearly five years ago now, the loft of what is now our gite, Notaire’s House, was stuffed with treasures – clothes, tools, toys, books and journals. One of these journals is La Mode Illustrée. We have copies dating back to 1876. It’s a large format newspaper, obviously aimed at well-to-do ladies, and packed full of detailed black and white drawings of the latest fashions. Most issues include a detailed paper pattern and stories – and, as mentioned yesterday, a rebus! even sells a book of 1,000 illustrations from this journal:


La Mode Illustrée was delivered to the homes of elegant ladies around France every other Sunday. Why one was delivered here is an enticing mystery I’m longing to solve. We think that a young lady called Genevieve, whose home was at nearby Les Combes, a very fine house, married the Notaire who lived here, possibly Marcel Beaufils. We have snippets of information amongst the things we found but not the whole story. I really must get down to the archives at Guéret for a lengthy browse through any relevant records.

So for now some pictures from this wonderful old newspaper. However, I am incredibly grateful that we don’t still wear clothes like that. I can’t believe they were comfy, and I certainly can’t see myself mucking out the llamas in one of those outfits!

Double page spread
This fortnight's pattern
Another double page spread and pattern - what sleeves!

0 Replies to “La Mode Illustrée”

  1. I am so envious, all there was in this Breton cottage, a very small pair of bellows, a roll of naff wallpaper, a few empty beer bottles.

    1. I think every house comes with bottles! We had thousands, but we used them along with hardcore to fill the huge space below the wooden floor before we put concrete down. Waste not, want not!

  2. What a fascinating find! Thank goodness for Women’s Lib; I can’t imagine trogging round in clothes like that.

    Anything interesting was removed (and probably disposed of as junk) when our house was restored in the early 70s. All our finds have been outside.

    1. All the baby and children’s clothes we’ve found are white linen. Imagine the trouble they must have got into if they got those dirty, poor things! I’m so grateful for modern clothes!

  3. Hello-I have just been reading about your wonderful find! I collect these magazines and sew items from the patterns and I am desperate to find Mode illustree no.16 from 1915 as I have its pattern with lingerie items on it-I long to see the illustrations! I am also looking for Mode pratique from 1927….If you are interested in selling any of the magazines please get in touch. Thanks Mary

    1. As soon as I can I’ll go through the ones I have, Mary, and let you know. I don’t know if mine go as late as 1915. I could probably spare a few of the ones I do have. I’m pretty sure there are some duplicate copies too. Bear with me and I’ll see what I can do. Kind regards, Stephanie

  4. Ohh, what an amazing find! A friend and I are looking for images/patterns of swimwear from the June 1876 and June 1881 editions. Is there any chance that those might be in your possession? I’d be more than happy to pay for copies!

  5. What a fabulous find! I have about 200 La Mode magazines myself, mostly from the 1890s with a smattering of them from the 1870s, 1880s, and 1900s. Nearly all of my 1890s have their patterns but the rest mostly don’t. Like Mary, if you’re ever interested in selling some of them please let me know. I’d love a more complete set of the late 1870s – I make costumes and that’s one of my favorite periods. I think La Mode published into the 20s – the latest one I have is about 1921.

    1. Hi Carolyn, I will get in touch if I decide to sell some. I should really since they’re just sitting around doing nothing and it would be nice for them to be used and appreciated.

  6. If anyone would consider making photocopies of your issues, I would be more than happy to pay for them. I’m working on a book, and I would give you credit. LMK if anyone’s willing!

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