Chicagoan J. Allen St. John would become known by many as the “Godfather of Modern Fantasy Art,” but the romantic cover he created for Vogue’s March 18, 1909, Dress Specialties & Textiles issue hewed closer to reality than might be expected (aside from the pet peacocks, perhaps). As readers flipped through the pages of the magazine, they were informed that “the mediæval in dress is gaining ground in many trifling ways—for, as the fashions progress, it is seen that the designers are getting their inspiration almost daily from middle Europe of the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, and even back into the tenth.” This time traveling, noted Vogue, “is of more than historical interest . . . it is of real value . . . to one who aims not only at being dressed smartly, but also with real distinction, with ‘style’ instead of ‘fashion’”—the holy grail of the bon ton.
Vogue Cover by Artist J. Allen St. John, originally published on March 1909