2008.487.77 Fernand Toussaint
Grand Magasins de Nouveautés,1895, lithographic promotional fan
Author: Maeve Collins
The growing popularity of department stores led to the production of Fernand Toussaint’s Grand Magasins de Nouveautés promotional fan. Toussaint emphasizes the promotional value for the department store through the use of color and lines on the woman and the sign that reads “Offered by Novelty Department Stores.” The intensity and brightness of the colors used in the fan draws the viewer’s attention. The trees and grass have simple lines in the background that lead to the focal points. Both the woman and the billboard are defined by thick lines, making them stand out against the background. The reverse side of the fan promotes the name and address of the department store. Promotional advertising fans such as this one played a pivotal role in promoting a culture of consumption within French society.
The woman’s modern sartorial style underscored the increased availability and visibility of new forms of women’s fashion. Late nineteenth century standards of beauty for women rejected plain garments, bare faces, and the corseted silhouette and inaugurated more choices of clothing, accessories, and styles. A number of new, large department stores – including the Bon Marché, Printemps, and others – sold a wide variety of clothing to middle class women with increased buying power. Beautifully curated displays of dresses, shoes, and hats greeted visitors and changed with the seasons. Additionally, the department store, along with the theater and other forms of entertainment, became a place where women could venture out to see and be seen. Advertising fans catered to a newly visible consumer class and reminded the holder and her audience to shop.