Fashion and the Art of Pochoir

Cassidy Zachary and April Calahan co-authored Fashion and the Art of Pochoir, a book celebrating the mastery and extraordinary beauty of the pochoir stenciling technique as it was used in fashion publications from 1908 to 1925, a brief, albeit prolific, Golden Age of fashion illustration.

In the first quarter of the twentieth century, a centuries-old hand-stenciling technique known as pochoir, was reimagined and innovatively integrated into the world of fashion publishing. Pochoir, the French term for “stencil,” had been used in Europe even as early as the Late Stone Age, but the adoption of pochoir by the realm of fashion was something entirely new. The painterly qualities of the technique—achieved by hand application of watercolors or built up layers of gouache paint—appealed to couturiers and publishers alike who were disenchanted by the machine-printed, mass-circulated fashion publications that dominated the period, such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazar. They employed the labor-intensive—and in turn, costly—pochoir process in luxury, limited-edition publications intended for an elite clientele. modes-1914

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