“The journal of elegance, good manners and everything of interest to gentlemen”: distinction was the hallmark of Monsieur, a monthly magazine launched in Paris in 1920 in an exclusive numbered edition of 100 copies signed by the publisher, and featuring a series of original engravings.
Monsieur quickly became the essential reference “not for dandies, but for the elegant gentleman”: the distinguished, timelessly stylish male whose “prestige comes at the price of a certain languid pace and an apparent scorn for time”. It covered all aspects of life, manners and dress, and aimed to identify the quintessence of distinguished living: which hat, tie, suit and jacket one ought to wear, which faux pas one must avoid, the fashions and cocktails one needed to know about to gain international prestige, and the right way a gentleman about town was to furnish his lodgings and charm the ladies with due decorum.
Published by Jacques Hébertot, the magazine bore the signature of Paul Poiret, the prophet of good taste and master of style in Roaring Twenties Paris, who worked regularly with Devambez and whose tireless quest for le bon ton reached its zenith a few years later with PAN. Annuaire du luxe à Paris.
The best illustrators of the time, most of whom also worked for Devambez (André Dignimont, Boutet de Monvel, Maurice Taquoy, Pierre Mourgue, Pierre Brissaud, Guy Arnoux, et al.) designed the covers and rich illustrations for the magazine, whose fifty-seven issues made style a point of honour and refinement a constant endeavour.
The writers and dandies of the time provided delightful articles in which Monsieur vied with Madame in the elegance stakes: A Short Handbook for the Idle Parisian; A Dandy: The Prince de Sagan; Grooming Tips For Gentlemen; Sport Has Transformed Dandyism; The Art of Wasting One’s Time; Moustaches Through the Ages; True Chic; What to Wear to Gala Openings; The Art of Being Brilliant; The Right Choice of Line.
Monsieur. Revue des élégances, magazine collection, Paris, 1920-1924
Paul Poiret, PAN. Annuaire du luxe à Paris, 1928, Paris, Devambez, 1928