What’s Black and White and Red All Over?
Perhaps Valentine’s Day inspired the Ladies’ Home Journal to illustrate these Vogue patterns in black, white and red, back in February, 1936. In the 1930’s, the LHJ didn’t use as much color illustration as the Woman’s Home Companion. When the LHJ stopped selling its own patterns, it began to feature Vogue patterns, just as the WHC had begun selling “Companion-Butterick” patterns in the thirties. (Butterick’s own magazine, Delineator, suddenly ceased to exist in 1937.)
For a while in the twenties, Delineator had abandoned full color illustrations in favor of using black, white, and just one color.
(I wonder if Edward Gorey had a stash of 1927 Delineator magazines?) Here are closer views of this illustration:
These Vogue dress illustrations from Ladies’ Home Journal use the same method, but in a less distinctive drawing style. What’s black and white and red all over? These pattern illustrations.
You can see the dress without its jacket in the alternate view, above. (And the text reveals a shortcoming of black and white illustrations: the fabric is really red and navy blue.)
Butterick suggested print dresses for February 1936, too; left, a solid sheer; and right, a sheer floral print.
We can get an idea of what 1930’s dresses looked like on a real woman from this photo:
This evening dress, in a large-scale butterfly print, is Butterick 6666.
Elsa Schiaparelli showed a large-scale butterfly on this bathing suit in 1929 …
… and made butterflies even more popular in 1937:
I’m all a-flutter! And I seem to have strayed from red and white and black prints.
P.S. In the nineteen fifties, the answer to the children’s riddle “What’s black and white and ‘red’ all over?” was “A newspaper.” Gee, I’m feeling old today.