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The fashion magazine as cultural artifact: exploring Ariane

For this research seminar, Paulien Deboutte and Marthe Bonnez will take a closer look at the Belgian fashion magazine Ariane, which was published monthly between 1934 and 1935. The MoMu Fashion Museum in Antwerp recently obtained 17 editions of the magazine in their collection. We are among the first to be able to study it. Published in 1934 and 1935 and sold for 3.50 Belgian francs, Ariane reported on Belgian women’s wear trends, Belgian designers, and fashion stores advertisements. Paulien Deboutte and Marthe Bonnez will explore what kind of fashion magazines Ariane was, what it looked like, what it talked about, and for whom it was written.  


Exploring magazines such as Ariane is a wonderful way to see how trends were disseminated and re-fashioned for a wide range of Belgian women. Magazines encouraged women to transform what they saw in pictures and prints into reality. Therefore, not only did they give us a unique glimpse at earlier visions of femininity and domesticity, but they also offer multiple ways to rethink women’s agency during the 1930s and their approach to self-fashioning.

What impact did Ariane as a magazine have in Belgium? What subjects (re)appear? What was "the language of the fashion sheet" and who did it write? What elements stand out in a formal analysis? The UGent-based research project Fashioning Belgium strives to unravel some answers to these fundamental questions by analyzing an important Belgian contributions to the field of fashion journalism: Ariane, Revue de la Femme.

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