You cannot deconstruct unless you know how to construct. - Alexander McQueen

archive for the 'History' department

Ton Almighty

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

The velvet rope. In or out. I am puzzled by the folks that stand outside clubs hour after hour, eager to get in or have their name on a magic list. Bouncers part the crowds to make way for the chosen coterie. What is the x factor for cool? At one time there was an equation to solve for whether you have enough of “it”, or bon ton, to belong to the fashionable circle. The equation for ton was well-guarded by, ‘that Most Distinguished and Despotic CONCLAVE, Composed of their High Mightinesses the Lady Patronesses of the Balls at ALMACK’S, the Rulers of Fashion, the Arbiters of Taste, the Leaders of Ton’. (Ellen Moers. The Dandy: Brummell to Beerbohm Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1960)

Princess Lieven, 20, lady-patroness of Almacks dukesofbuckingham-org.jpg
Princess Lieven, lady patroness at Almack’s by Sir Thomas Lawrence, circa 1805


Remembrance of Design Past: Erté

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

When Romain de Tirtoff Erté was asked to put together a few lines about himself for the March 1919 issue of Harper’s Bazar, he was hesitant to reflect on his body of work at that point in his life: ‘Those things told by an old master might interest the public, but I prefer to give your readers my work, for at my age my art, which is my life, is the only language through which I speak with the world.’ (Stella Blum. Fashion Drawings and Illustrations from “Harper’s Bazar” New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1976) When considering the constant wellspring of fresh designs produced throughout his long life, perhaps there never was a time in which he would be comfortable speaking any other language.

erte cover jan 1918.jpg
Erté for Harper’s Bazar, January 1918 Blum