Fashion | 28.07.2009
100th birthday anniversary of German "Queen of patterns"
The war was over, people were beginning to enjoy themselves again, and women were keen to wear pretty and fashionable clothes. But where to get them in the struggling bombed-out grey cities of post-war Germany? Ready-made and off the rack weren't yet available, Paris Haute Couture was too expensive and too extravagant.
Aenne Burda had the right idea at the right time: a magazine with sewing patterns for women who wanted to be fashionable. "I wanted to offer not sophisticated but wearable fashion," Burda said.
The daughter of a railroader, Aenne Burda was a rebellious child with a mind of her own. At the age of 17, she chopped off her braids, and wore her hair cut short; she didn't like her name Anna-Magdalene, so she changed that to Aenne. In 1931, she married publisher Franz Burda, and had three children.
But that was not enough for the energetic, beautiful and ambitious Aenne. Hubert Burda, Aenne's youngest son, remembers that his mother had a vision: "She was driven by the desire to give elegance to women who, like her, had survived the war."
"I will prove that miracles are possible" Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Burda-Moden: worldwide success
Aenne's chance to fulfill her dreams of wearable and affordable elegance came in 1949, when her publisher husband handed her a small, ailing publishing company. Franz was trying to appease his wife, who had only just found out that he had been having an affair.
The first edition of Burda-Moden hit the streets in 1950. The magazine started off with 100,000 copies. Then, in 1952, sewing patterns for clothes were added – an instant success. Copies printed skyrocketed to four million.
In no time at all, women in more than 120 countries were following Aenne's patterns. In 1961, Burda-Moden, which was printed in more than a dozen languages, was the world's most widely published fashion magazine.
Aenne Burda headed her publishing house for 45 years. At the age of 85, the business woman stepped down; she died in 2005 aged 96. Her patterns, though mainly on the internet, live on to this day.
Author: Benjamin Wüst (db)
Editor: Neil King