La Vie Parisienne

January 04, 2022
By Rebecca Devaney

Considered by many as risqué and scandalous, La Vie Parisienne was a magazine with quite a reputation at the turn of the 20th century! It’s subscribers included Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and King Edward VII of England but it was banned by Belgium during WW1… General Pershing warned American troops against reading it. Needless to say it became wildly popular!

La Vie Parisienne was established in 1863, covering the arts, books, music and theatre. In the 1870s it began to include illustrations of fashion and the cabaret, employing only the best illustrators of the time. At the turn of the 20th century, the magazine was under new management and Charles Saglio changed the major theme to modernity and the modern woman.

There was an irresistible combination of wit, satire and frivolity, with short stories, veiled gossip, fashion banter.  They included discussions on subjects that varied from love, to the arts, to the stock exchange.



The weekly publication was illustrated by George Barbier, Chéri Herouard, Georges Léonnec, Maurice Milliere and my favourite, René Vincent. The influence of Art Nouveau and Art Deco makes the illustrations so evocative of Paris… I just love the sassy attitude of these Parisienne women! Hanging out lingerie topless, taking a bath with a parasol, flirting from behind an ostrich feather fan, receiving invitations to fabulous soirées and wearing the most stylish outfits to water their plants. The women seem fiercely independent and modern… driving cars, enjoying sports like swimming, tennis and horse-riding, reading in silk stockings, even smoking with men unchaperoned! When fully dressed, their wardrobes are so enviable, with gowns that seem designed by Paul Poiret or Madeleinne Vionnet.






If you would like to see more of René Vincent’s illustrations for La Vie Parisienne, there’s a fantastic, free to access collection at The Advertising Archive. Au Revoir!

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