1939 America Magazine Analysis

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Echo N. Fenner Dr. Pinder 12 February 2018 The Year 1939 Come On, VOGUE “My interest in society – at times so pronounced that the word snob comes a little to mind – derives from the fact that I like an immense number of things which society, money, and position bring in their train: painting, tapestries, rare books, smart dresses, dances, gardens, country houses, correct cuisine, and pretty women.” An apt summary of the ideals of the American-founded fashion periodical, Vogue, by the magazine’s then-editor, Frank Crowninsheild, though this quote may be, the “fashion bible” now serves as an invaluable glimpse into the political, social, and economical implications of the 1939 American elite. It is possible to analyze the historic institution of the magazine as ethnographical art history, as twentieth century gospel. As a pillar of American fashion, Vogue’s 1939 July-October issues emphasize the performative role of fashion in politics, society, and the economy. Politics, or “International Fashion” America is famous for its shameless appropriation of aesthetic cultural identifiers and the year 1939 was no exception, as Vogue visually defines in its late summer/early fall editions for the year. Two important aspects of fashion appropriation to consider when analyzing the outside influences on 1930s American attire are 1) Roosevelt’s Neutrality Acts of the 1930s; and 2) The omnipresent desire of Americans, and in fact most Eastern Europeans, to appear more interesting (read:

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