Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Take a Look: Vintage 1920s Ads

Postmodern consumerism tells us, You are what you buy. Well, are we?


“Greetings, people of 2010”, a photo taken in 1910

One hundred years, or a century, could pass faster than we feel; but although 100 years is just a blink in our long history, there are certainly a lot of moments to value. (Before Hallmark even told us so.) Let’s see two products the world was being marketed – and/or what they were buying – in the 1920s.

1. Cigarettes


Lithographed cigarette advertisements pictured demurely sexy Chinese “belles


The French advertisements for cigarettes went full-out artistic and exotic


While American cigarette companies hired physicians and doctors – even Santa – to reassure on cigarette’s healthy-by-association goodness. Hello, Don Draper!

2. Make-up


Chinese ads seemed to emphasize the “Snow White” ideal – jet black hair, sleek eyebrows, rosy cheeks, and red lips: innocent, but knowing



Ads for L’Oreal and Vivaudou (the latter a slight cheat, it’s an American company founded by a Frenchman): Art Deco exuberant joie de vivre in one campaign, and seriously sensuous in another


Maybelline taps old – then, new – Hollywood glamour

Classic and elegant, these are the distinctive features that advertisements from the 1920s have shown. Some ideals of beauty never fade with time.

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