Merikay, Magazines, and ‘Magnétisme!’

posted in: Fashion, Paean, Work 5
A slightly earlier ad, and from France. But they’re always ahead, those French people, when it comes to creams, etc. Image: Wikipedia.



I’m in Knoxville with Merikay Waldvogel. There, I said it.

Yes, here to visit the legend herself for a research project I’ve got going. This blog post, in fact, is brought to you by the Wald, as I like to call her: I left my laptop at her house and she brought it to me at my hotel. While we can all appreciate the Wald for her tireless research and quilt scholarship, we can love her eternally because she is a woman willing to hop in her car at 8:30 p.m. and bring this girl her laptop. She is a pathetic creature without it. Thank you, Merikay.

While I was waiting for La Wald to deliver the package, I leafed through an issue of NeedleCraft Magazine. Merikay lent me a few issues to look at tonight before we meet back up tomorrow.

“Hm,” you say, “NeedleCraft. No, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of NeedleCraft. Sounds intriguing. Is it new?”

In fact, the magazine is quite old. The publication was founded almost 100 years ago and closed around the start of WWII. If Merikay was with me right now, she could tell us specifically, but I can tell you that NeedleCraft was (is) beautiful. It’s bigger than your standard tabloid (11” x 17”), for one thing; I don’t have a tape measure, but I think this sucker might be as big as 13” x 20”, which is pretty freakin’ big. The font style on the coated newsprint is delicate, exact. The printing is fine; all the illustrations clear and crisp. The cover is the best part: full-color, lavishly illustrated, on glossy paper. And of course the content is what you’d think it would be: items, articles, patterns, news, etc., all related to various needle arts, e.g., embroidery, crochet, crewel, beading, and quilts, naturally.

There are also ads, and one of them is just too, too great not to share verbatim. I can only share the copy, of course; you’ll have to get the September 1928 issue of NeedleCraft and turn to p. 18 to see the visuals for yourself. Just look for the Art Nouveau illustration of a woman putting face powder on herself in a mirror … that a man is holding, I think? It is very sexy and weird. For now, ladies, I ask you: Do you have … Magnétisme???



Now … she is gay, fascinating!

WOMEN marveled — men were intrigued. Overnight the pale calla-lily had turned flaming peony! Now she was gay, enchanting, magnétique!

She had discovered the allure of a fragrance. Now her talc, her toilet water, her sachet, her face powder, all breathed the parfum of love … of romance … of melting moods — Djer-Kiss the unforgettable fragrance — the parfum that adds to mere prettiness the charm and mystery of magnétisme??


At your favorite beauty counter

5 Responses

  1. Sandi Johnston
    | Reply

    Remarkable, I just recently found 3 issues in a box of old pictures. A November 1925, February 1927, and June 1934, each only 10 cents each (no price increase in almost 10years. All the ads made me giggle, become a nurse for $25 to $35 per week. Good tips to set a welcoming table. The 1934 has instruction for some amazing cutwork (by hand of course)

  2. Jen
    | Reply

    This is funny…all the copy sounds to me like it’s describing a calla lily-charm, mystery, magnetism. Peonies may be gay, but they’re too…bright and flashy to be mysterious! Different sensibilities for different times.
    I enjoyed reading the ads, Mary, both in English and French! Thank you

  3. Linda Duff
    | Reply

    Darn! I am shopping for a new fragrance as my long-standing favorite one has been discontinued. (of course!! )
    Too bad this isn’t a current product because I might have checked it out!
    Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in your next post!

  4. Cathy
    | Reply

    Needlecraft sounds like a wonderful magazine! I don’t think I’ve heard of it either! I love the expressive ad and a man holding a mirror for his woman?!? Too funny! Thanks for your fun posts! Always interesting!!

  5. Betty Elliott
    | Reply

    I feel like I have seen copies of that magazine. Perhaps my grandmother had it? She did a lot of crocheting in her lifetime.

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