Abstract: Nineteenth-Century Fashion Illustration: A Genealogical Approach to the Marketing of Lifestyle

Jillian Taylor Lerner


The creation of new concepts of "lifestyle" marked a pivotal moment in the emergence of modern marketing and consumerism. I trace the origins of these related phenomena in nineteenth-century Paris, focusing on the key role of artists as both agents in the business of fashion and pioneers of new trends and techniques in marketing. This paper touches on three seminal moments in an archaeology of modern lifestyle, all of which transpired around 1830. The first case study is a new type of fashion illustration that announces the origins of a consumerist notion of lifestyle. The second node of analysis is the articulation of an alternative lifestyle in the artistic subculture that was formed around Victor Hugo. Finally, I conclude by discussing a genre of artistic city-guides that manifest an early example of the demographic profiling of lifestyles; these guides' attempts at social typification are equal parts aesthetic, sociological and commercial, but they can be seen to foreshadow techniques of market segmentation that are in use today.