Suzette, Bleuette, Couture et Prêt à porter
Continuation and End
Some Bleuette cameget their favorite newspaper, " La Semaine de Suzette " at Hachette Kiosk
( White skirt " Biarritz " and its red Basque beret  G./L. 1920 )

 The cycle of seasons will return the biannual catalogs more and more beautiful and supplied until 1960 with a sad interruption in the forties.

 In spite of this big innovation, the chapter "Nous habillons Bleuette " continues. But we notice a radical change of style in 1920, after the death of aunt Jacqueline. It is her daughter, Suzanne Rivière, who takes up the torch. She is young, and the women became emancipated. The fashion is simpler, more practical and more looked for at the same time in the sim plicity.

  It is the beginning of " the Art deco " that makes a privileged place to the purity of lines.
 The models of these patterns are completely "young girls" and of this fact more well-to-do . Begin then this period of the twenties, when I shall call
" the golden age " of Bleuette.


The influence of "Arts deco" suits her perfectly. Catalogs do not propose it more for the same period and in the same spirit. The influence of "Arts deco" suits her perfectly. All the refinement of this time lies in the choice of the materials which want of most high quality. Silk and woolen stripes, lace of silver, georgette, silk velvet. The page " Nous habillons Bleuette " - which modernized its title goes from peer with catalogs. I counted between 1920 and 1930 no less than 72 small quite simple dresses but "Chic ". Catalogs do not propose it more for the same period and in the same spirit.

 But the results obtained by "Suzette" are rather disappointing. We find in the secondhand trades and the public sales of lots  clothes of this period executed by the small readers. In spite of the simplification of the patterns, the clothes "house" of time are not perfected, and if they are, be sure, whom the grown-ups are for many there. It is rather moving to find these small clothes so many years later, even if the cutting is a little of fault, or the evaded finishes

Against  " Aurore " G./L. Winter 1920/1921

 But let us be realistic and say yourselves, please, that if the readers of the Semaine de Suzette wanted a beautiful coat or an attractive dress for their Bleuette, the surest was to order them at Gautier's Languereau's, if they had no grandmothers or no good aunts to pull the needle on their place. I lived this period and read the Semaine de Suzette during a decade between 1928 and the war of 39-40.

 We had, my sister and I regularly very serious courts of sewing at the school. But the clothes who we made for our dolls could not compete with the preparation for dolls. Nevertheless, the girls are incited to work and it is the looked for purpose by the team of the newspaper that always wants educator.

 Nevertheless Gautier-Languereau which, does not forget it, is a commercial company, makes everything to tempt its small customers. In the Semaine de Suzette, every week bring a new publicity, with incitement to come to see the exhibitions: Christmas, Day of the Year, Shrove Tuesday, Middle-fast, Easter, the holidays, the start of the school year are so many pretexts to complete the wardrobe of Bleuette. Catalogs sent to the subscribers or to the readers in the number, on simple demand, are more and more attractive. The editors appeal to illustrators of great talents and nothing is more charming than the small scenes in which Bleuette appears with her novelties. How to resist it ?

 The thirties come. The chapter " Nous habillons Bleuette " continue, but with less and less numerous models and no making duplication with clothes sold by the newspaper. Very few dresses and coats, many lingerie: a series a year until the war, the fancy dresses, the sporting costumes, the furniture in matchbox. It seems obvious that this change in the choice of the proposed models for the sewing avoids the competitors and forces the readers to dress their Bleuette at Gautier Languereau.

 During this new decade, the ascendancy given to the clothing business to the sewing "house" is more and more net. While between 1920 and 1930 we counted so many dresses in both possibilities to dress Bleuette, between 1930 and 1940 Suzette needlewomen see proposing 27 models against 120 for Suzette customers. This imbalance is blatant and no doubt can remain on the end of the company Gautier Languereau. They are storekeepers whose support Bleuette moves us so much later.

 But for the moment, it is necessary to the editors to balance their budget, to pay off expenses (catalogs, supplies, manufacturers), thus to sell and for it to limit more and more the sewing section. Never mind, Suzette is going to learn to knit, not for her Bleuette, but for herself.

 The war of 40 interrupts the publication of La Semaine def Suzette but the " Veillées des Chaumières ", the newspaper of the moms, takes over and, until 1943, in spite of the difficulties, propose the last models of the thirties until exhaustion and some new clothes, as far as the possibilities, with  a net attachment in the new slogan of France: " Work, Family, Homeland ". We have " Retour à la terre (Return in the earth) ", " Paysannerie (peasant ", " Savez-vous planter les choux ?  (Do you know how to plant cabbages ?) ", " Restrictons ( Limitations )". Any catalog naturally, but small advertising leaves.

 After the hostilities, the Semaine de Suzette reappears in 1946, but the first years are difficult. No still of supplies for the clothing business. The newspaper tries hard to take back the pre-war quality - articles, historical novels, news. We find agin the associates of the thirties: Madam Languereau, who creates the models, the aunt MAD, editor-in-chief, the known illustrators: Pécoud, Manon Iessel, Maggie Salcedo, and some "news".

 For lack of possible clothing business, for lack of raw materials, the rubric " sewing house " would have been able to start again with more importance. But it seems good that we prefer to make the readers wait with messages of hope for return in the "ready-to-wear clothing" which would not know how to delay, because the difficulties become level naturally with the months which pass. Suzette sews little for Bleuette, for herself and knits, but especially she turns to the outside life: journeys, cinema, future. From time to time we announce some ready-made clothes difficult to authenticate however the collectors we are, for lack of documentation.

Against  " Excursion"  G./L. Summer 1933

 The fifties come. Catalogs reappear at first little supplied but very quickly present more and more clothes. More than 125 dresses against about 20 under the  "sewing rubrique". Do not believe that it is due to the coeducation which will come later, or neglected of the cours, of sewing in schools.

  In 1963, my daughter will still have hours of sewing at the high school Hélène Boucher in Paris. But as before the war, "Suzette" has so many difficulties ending a correct work.

 Furthermore, clothes “ couture house “ are presented in a little attractive way while catalogs present models to kink the readers. Way, tissues, cup, execution, everything is impeccable.

 In 1955 appears Rosette who is certainly a essay to renew the interest of the readers. The doll is  a little bigger, easier to dress, but in 35 cms, exactly the replica of Bleuette of 29 cms: the same material, the china and the composition for the head, even typical of body and members, the same wardrobe, not really a modernization. We find little "Rosette" and some more of her clothes. "Suzette" who begin to lose interest in "Bleuette" is not seduced by a similar doll.

Rosette wearing a garrment  GL.1958 " Indispensable "

 In 1958, another doll tries her luck at Gautier Languereau. More modern, in a new unbreakable material, looking like the other dolls on the market, she should have pleased. Why do we find her so little? Maybe because she does not differ of all Bella, Gégé, and also because she lived only two years. She even has no name for her only. " Bleuette 58 ", does it mean that she tries to take the place of the former or to walk from peer ?

But let us return to the sewing and to the clothes.

 La Semaine de Suzette got modernized, but not for the better. The patterns become scarce and present only well not enough interest. The clothing business Gautier Languereau, offered in catalogs always presented well although remains not being in color, what amazes being given the progress made by the edition in these years. Doubtless of a cost too expensive for a company which is sinking. For this period 1950-1960, we matter have less than 125 dresses, quite very beautiful and very attractive, in this fashion Dior so becoming. Concerning patterns, only 20 dresses. And it is the end. The last collections are magnificent.

Bleuette goes away in beauty:
“ Her swan song "
 She leaves free the place to Barbie and Skipper
who will have not less clothes so beautiful.

 But this is an other story.

March 1994
Congress LILLE


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