Fashion Publications and Children's Fashions: Belgian Publications


Figure 1.--

Belgium is a bilingual country. Both French and Dutch is spoken in Belgium. Fashion magazines and other publications with fashion information have been published in both languages. Belgium is a small country. Dividing the potential market into separate language groups significantly reduces the potential customer base for these publications. We only know of two publications at this time. The Belgian fashion magazine Journal des Dames et des Demoiselles was published in French during the mid-19th century by Bruylant-Christophe et Comp., Brussels. The Belgian magazine Vrouw en Huis ("Woman and Home") was an important source of fashion information for Belgian and Dutch mothers. We have some issues from the early 1950s. It was a weekly magazine and as it was in Dutch for Flemish readers, was also sold in the Netherlands. I'm not sure how popular it was among French readers.

Two Primary Languages

Belgium is a bilingual country. Both French and Dutch is spoken in Belgium. Actually there is also a small area in eastern Belgium where German is also important and German is also now an official language in Belgium. Fashion magazines and other publications with fashion information have been published in both languages. Belgium is a small country. Dividing the potential market into separate language groups significantly reduces the potential customer base for these publications. We do not know to what extent the various publications crossed the language barrier. The publications do not appear to have made any great effort to appeal to readers using the other languages. Of coorse the French publications could be sold in France, but they would face stiff competition there. The Dutch (Flemish) publications could be sold in the Netherlands. We are unsure as to how national trade restrictions may have affected such sales.

Individual Publications

At this time we only know of a few Belgian fashion publications. We also have found some sore catalogs. We believe that after World War II that there were also mail order catalogs, but have little information at this time.

Dme des Halles

We have little information on this catalog. The example that we have seen is for Winter 1900-01. It appears to be a Belgian store, perhaps a department store. The name of the store is Dme des Halles. It also has "Charlesleroi" under he name. We wonder if this might be the street address. We know nothing about the store including when it operated, other than we know it was in business at the turn of the 20th century. The catalog offered clothes for men, women, and adults. The page on boys' clothing heavily stressed sailor suits.

Femmes d'Auhourd'hui

A Dutch reader tells us, "I'm pretty sure there was a Femmes d'Auhourd'hui in Belgium during the 1959s. There was a French edition and a Dutch one, the latter being called Het Rijk der Vrouw ('Women's Realm'). I don't know if they were an originally Belgian publication or a French publication adapted for Belgium. The Dutch language edition was very widely read in Flanders but never got quite popular in Holland. My mother's maids and cook were avid readers, there was always a supply of recent and back isues in the servants' quarters, but my relatives in Holland didn't know it. I think this goes to show that, as I've written before, although Belgium and Holland share a language, their life styles were noticeably different in the 1950s and 60s and that this was especially true for clothing. Holland was already very receptive to American styles whereas Belgium still very much looked south to France for its fashions."

Journal des Dames et des Demoiselles

The Belgian fashion magazine Journal des Dames et des Demoiselles was published in French during the mid-19th century by Bruylant-Christophe et Comp., Brussels. This was primarily aimed at ladies' and girls' fashions, but also included information about boys' fashions, especially younger boys. While we know theu published in the mid-19th century, we do not know when they began publishing and how long they published.

Vrouw en Huis

The Belgian magazine Vrouw en Huis ("Woman and Home") was an important source of fashion information for Belgian and Dutch mothers. It was a ladies magazine with all sorts of home and family artocles, but fashion was an important element. They commonly publisghed patterns. We have some issues from the early 1950s. It was a weekly magazine and as it was in Dutch for Flemish readers, was also sold in the Netherlands. I'm not sure how popular it was among French readers. We do not know when it began publishing or how long it published.






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Created: January 5, 2002
Last updated: February 17, 2003