Bazaar Fellow

10/17/2008

As all who know me can attest, one of my greatest pleasures in life is “making things pretty.” No other artist has had a career in “making pretty” that I both admire and envy more than Art Deco diety Erté.

To decorator junkies Erté (né Roman Petrovich Tyrtov) needs no introduction. The Russian born French artist, who went by the French pronunciation of his initials R.T, created some of the most recognizable theatrical and fashion imagery of the early 20th century and continues to influence fashion until this day.

Erté designed his first costume at at the age of five and moved to Paris as a young man to pursue fashion illustration. He soon got a twenty-two year appointment to Harper’s Bazaar and went on to create some of the most spectacular stage sets and costumes for Paris’ Folies-Bergère, the Paris Opera, and New York’s Zeigfield Follies.

Erté was a true early century renaissance man, excelling in all things visual, from drawing to sculpture, to costuming, to environmental design. During his fashion career alone, Erté produced over 250 covers for Bazaar, innumerable drawings for the magazine’s pages, and fashion designs for some of the world’s most glamorous women. Personally, I would give my left leg to have his complete Alphabet Suite of A-Z rendered in his trademark style.

Erté died in 1990 at the age of ninety-seven, ending an era of brilliance in theatrical design. Find books on Erté HERE.

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