Welcome to our new blog series, ‘Designer Desire’, where we’ll feature one designer per week whose work we love. We’re kicking off with Lefor Openo who we’ve mentioned once or twice before.
Lefor Openo comprised of two French women, Marie-Claire Lefort and Marie-Francine Oppeneau. They met while studying at Lycée Claude-Bernard Paris, and collaborated from 1955 to 1967. They were primarily poster artists; their designs were used extensively by Loterie Nationale (the national lottery of France). They designed posters for Charles de Gaulle – for the 1958 constitutional referendum and again for his 1965 presidential election campaign. They also produced advertising artwork for other organisations and brands such as Electricité de France, Kodak, Singer Sewing Machines. They designed a poster for the 1959 film Babette s’en va-t-en guerre, (Babette goes to War) starring Brigitte Bardot. Apparently, she is the one upon whom they based most of their ‘models’.
As well as posters, very occasionally you’ll come across postcards and tea towels bearing their designs on Etsy and eBay. We’ve also seen evidence of a doll and a couple of pin dishes from the era and we have a tin in our shop which we believe to be one of their designs – we’ve never seen another!
Marie-Claire Lefort died in 1971 and Marie-Francine Oppeneau is now 81 years old. Once upon a time, there was a basic website with information and images of some of their designs but it seems to have been allowed to expire. If you know (or want to find out) anything more about them and their designs, please leave a comment below.
This is our favourite item of the week.
We don’t think we’ve nominated an enamel sign previously.
It’s a vintage French sign advertising Valentine paints. We like the colours and absolutely love the graphic design.
We put it in a vintage industrial corner of the lounge to photograph it – oh no, it looks quite good!
Bonjour! We’ve hopped across the channel to France in our World Dolls Series tour.
Illustrations for this edition are by Janet Meeson from the Birmingham School of Design.
Are guides for this trip are Marie & Pierre – resplendent in their traditional costumes.
A bit of gentle sun on our faces – we’re all relaxed and mellow – so the large shillelagh stick to keep order on the coach that Patrick had in Ireland has been dispensed with!
Marie & Pierre have joined us from their toy shop window in Paris.
All the classic Parisienne sights. Wide, tree-lined avenues…
…colourful cafés, classic architecture, beautiful bridges, the River Seine….
…and of course – the Eiffel Tower.
We then head into the idyllic countryside to take a look at the vineyards & orchards.
Then onto the coast for a spot of sunbathing – where we can all get very brown! 🙂
And finally we take in a festival – the Blessing of the Boats.
We just love the illustration below.
Join us next time when we’re in Germany.
We bought some vintage metal filing drawers at auction last month – these lovely vintage travel maps were stored inside.
The covers immediately caught our eye, with illustrations by French artist Jean Colin. Born in 1912, he’s best known for his advertising posters from the mid 20th century. In addition to Shell, he did artwork for many prominent companies such as Cinzano, Air France, Kiwi Shoe Polish, Marchal and Perrier – and won many awards for his designs.
These Shell guides for various regions of France date from the 1950s/60s.
The maps inside are very attractive too – colourful & detailed, but clear to read.
We’d spied them inside the drawers, but a nice little bonus all the same!
We picked up this rather lovely biscuit tin this week. It dates from the 1960s and is on just the right side of kitsch for us.
The tin was produced in England, but features a very cute, Continental flower girl – she must be in Britain though, she’s selling her wares at 2 shillings & sixpence a bunch!
We’ve long admired the work of Lefor Openo – the French design duo of Marie-Claire Lefort & Marie-Francine Oppeneau. They’re mainly known for their poster designs – lots of them featuring beautiful mademoiselles – and this girl is definitely one of theirs! One of their most famous illustrations must be the sultry Francia, a Gitanes “fumeureuse”.
photo credit: Lamarde
There are always Lefor Openo posters, postcards and other illustrations available to purchase on eBay – and at very affordable prices too!
We bought this pile of fabulous vintage French lifestyle magazines this week.
L’Echo de là Mode or ‘Echoes of Fashion’.
They all date from the mid 1950s.
Sometimes magazines from this date have very enticing covers, but can be a little drab inside… not these!
They’re full of wonderful colour illustrations featuring lots of ‘New Look‘ fashion articles.
They really conjure up images of a spring weekend in Paris or sunny holiday on the Cote d’Azur… very ironic as we bought them on a cold, wet Thursday morning in Todmorden!
Also, there are lots of cookery articles and interior features…
…and not forgetting all the advertisements which are often stunning in magazines from this period.