Edited by Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com
Fashion History -
Marie Claire History
Cover Page Hat &
Magazine covers are a rich source of information about hair styles, hats and
make up as so often they focus on a headshot of the model. Back in the
late 1930s when the now well known magazine Marie Claire was first published,
this is exactly what happened.
Visitors often write to me with interesting bits of information. No one could ever today hope to read every word written on even their
favourite subject, so I was very interested in the story about Marcelle Auclair
that Dorothy wrote and told me more about. She also sent me these lovely
pages from the late 1930s which show both hats and hairstyles of 1937, 1938, 1939
The Marie-Claire story that goes with them is printed below the images.
Marie Claire Fashion magazine hats and hair from
cover and pages from 1937, 1938, 1939 and 1940.
Images courtesy of site visitor Dorothy Nixon
Today anyone interested in fashion is well aware of the magazine Marie Claire.
It's not been around in UK anything like as long as in some other countries.
At a guess I think its been on UK newsagent shelves for about 25 years. I
certainly recall it in the early 1980s.
Marcelle Auclair co-founded the magazine Marie Claire. Dorothy Nixon has
done extensive research on Auclair since all her books including autobiography are
available in French, where Dorothy lives in Montreal.
Dorothy wrote to tell me about Marie Claire and the co-founder. She went on
to tell me that ...
<<... Marie Claire Magazine today doesn't give Auclair ANY credit, but it
could be said she created with Jean Prouvost, the modern women's magazine format
- and according to Marcelle Auclair, the idea was hers in the first place. >>
Dorothy wrote and read out an essay on Marcelle Auclair for Canadian CBC. Here
is the story she told me...
<<Marcelle Auclair got the job working for Prouvost (writing a beauty column)
because Collette didn't meet her deadline. According to her autobiography
she was the one who proposed a women's weekly to Prouvost who only agreed when
she offered the idea elsewhere.
She and Prouvost visited the USA because she wanted Marie Claire to combine American
Style features, with French Fashion Sense. The Magazine became an instant
sensation. Lore has it they had to bring police in to keep women from
overrunning kiosks each Wednesday in Paris.
Auclair wrote ALL the features in first 12 or so magazines, eventually keeping
beauty and health. She and her husband writer and editor Jean Prevost were
athletic, hence all the modern looking exercise features. They hobnobbed
with St. Exupery and mingled with Sartre and de Beauvoir (whom she describes as
a couple even poorer than her.)
A woman who was comfortable in a man's world, Auclair admits Prevost abused her
during their relationship, especially when she was editing Marie Claire.
She divorced him. They had three children, one of whom was a movie star,
Francoise Prevost. He died working for the resistance during the war.
She was raised in Chile, born in France, Auclair wrote the definitive biography of St.
Theresa of Avila and of other people and a lot of new age books about happiness Livre de Bonheur, which are still in print. Her editorials all have a new
Age slant, she was into yoga and meditation in the 30's! She says she read
every letter sent to Marie Claire for the advice column. Some of the advice she
doled out was ironic, considering the state of her marriage. I believe she
died in 1980.>>
Dorothy told me in another email that she liked the Auclair story and continued
<<.... because Marie Claire is still around and I believe,
although I am not certain, that Prouvost's granddaughter still owns a lot of the
French one. And on their website they mention nothing of Auclair as if
Prouvost did it all himself. (He was indeed active in the publication...
He also chose the name. Marie Claire was a novel, I believe. The magazine
also features a number of stories by Academie Francaise writers, friends of
I once contacted a grandson of Auclair, who is much more interested in mounting
a documentary about his father.... He was perplexed about why Marie Claire
didn't acknowledge her contribution. Plenty of people on the web do.
I'm interested because she was such an intellectual, first rate journalist, but
she said her favourite kind of writing was beauty writing. I think someone
should make a movie about this couple, their story has all the elements. By the
way, Francoise Prevost was a NEW WAVE actress; I temporarily forgot the name of
the genre.... >>
My sincere thanks to Dorothy Nixon for this information and use of the lovely
images she collects.
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