Looking out to sea

Vogue US July 1937

Don’t get me started on modern magazine cover design. Instead let’s hark back to the days of 1937 old, when, more often than not, magazine covers had an image on them, a title on them, and not much more.

This is one of my favourite magazine covers and one of my favourite Vogue covers. It’s also one of my favourite fashion illustrations. It all adds up to be a little bit of graphic heaven from where I sit.

This is a US Vogue. I don’t really collect them, preferring British editions. But it’s a rare cover bought in the earlier days of eBay when old Vogues were still almost affordable. And it is in beautiful beautiful condition. In the first half of the 20th century the same covers often graced both US and British Vogue, and probably French Vogue too. I always wanted to research this and see if it was always or ever in the same month. Thinking about the commissions, the artists, the editors and how it was all negotiated.

However it was negotiated, those Vogues were beauties. The cover title often integral to the illustration. And hardly any trite copy to mar the impact of the cover image. This illustration is by Eduardo Garcia Benito, an old friend to Vogue covers. His style was mutable as perhaps a proper commercial artist’s should be. But more often than not his paintbrush was loose and he used just enough strokes, and no more.

And this July 1937 cover is some of the best of that. I love the back of the model (with just a flash of red lipstick) and the dog, looking out to sea. The sense of space, peace, privacy and inimitable, effortless chic.


Katherine C. James

What a wonderful post. This is beautifully stated. You are right, and sometimes I forget this: modern magazine covers are a dreadful, overloaded mess. The typographically dense covers remove all possibility of artistic beauty, and that is a shame. Our modern magazine covers are the equivalent of the overloaded 24-hour news screens I purposely avoid seeing by having no TV.

shelf appeal

Glad you like it. I’d be buying magazines just for their covers in the 1930s, the content is a bonus.


Fabulous illustration – of course you are right, old Vogues are completely out of the average admirer’s price range but at least there are the postcard repros. Thanks for sharing this on what is to be a perfect day for the beach – wish I was there too!

Katherine C. James

Curses. I did not need to know that a box of Vogue cover postcards exists.


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