“Since the end of the nineteenth century, Devambez was in the front line of the development of publicity”. As an author of promotional books for top hotels and railway companies and the exclusive agent for Leonetto Cappiello, Devambez played a leading role in the “advertising battle” thanks to his idea of “contemporary tradition”: giving beautiful objects and images from the past fresh energy using the power of modern style.
In 1928, Marcel Valotaire celebrated the avant-garde intuitions of Devambez, the publisher who had made publicity into a new art form, in the British magazine Commercial Art. The book entitled PAN. Annuaire du luxe à Paris, edited by Paul Poiret in 1928, was undoubtedly the foremost example of this modern art form.
This “sumptuous volume with over 100 plates” gathered together “all the most important advertising artists of our time and offers a selection of very instructive brands, whose excellence with probably exert considerable influence throughout the French advertising scene”.
All the great names in fashion and luxury were represented: Callot Sœurs, Worth, Madeleine Vionnet, Dunhill, Old England, Hermès, not forgetting Jeanne Lanvin’s legendary logo, designed in 1922. The signatures of Gus Bofa and Foujita appear on large black and white, colour or gilded plates, Edy-Legrand depicted the tailor Paul Portes, Lucien Boucher did an “Arabian” portrait of La Samaritaine de Luxe, Jean Cocteau and Raoul Dufy presented their favourite restaurants, and Roger de Valerio promoted Devambez with an astonishingly modern design.
PAN. Annuaire du luxe à Paris brought together top talents from the world of publicity and listed the essential addresses where Parisian luxury could be found. This combination made the book into an unchallenged reference work on advertising artwork from the 1920s and 1930s which, true to Devambez’s intuition, was growing away from mere product advertising and working towards the development of fully fledged brand images and values.
Paul Poiret, PAN. Annuaire du luxe à Paris, 1928, Paris, Devambez, 1928