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A look at early Vogue covers; The Art of Vogue Covers 1909-1940, by William Packer. New York: Harmony Books.

By Jane Anderson / June 4, 1980



A decade ago, Conde Nast Publications dug into its files and unearthed the early illustrated covers of Vogue magazine. Twelve were chosen out of hundreds and turned into posters. Recently, all the works published in the 1920s and samples spanning 1909 to 1940 were compiled into this nostalgic and appealing book.

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As examples of decorative art, the covers reveal the style, variety, and graphic ingenuity of illustrators such as Georges Lepape, Eduardo Benito, and Helen Dryden.

These artists and others engaged fashionably garbed women in equally fashionable activities: feeding an arrogant parrot, painting a mural in a sunny portico, braving winter blasts, skiing and motoring, or simply reclining on voluminous cushions. The covers from the Jazz Age are especially striking, with bold, simple silhouettes and rich, flat color.

A conversational narrative fills in fashion, cultural, and artistic background information, but the covers themselves speak the most vividly.