Anatomie de l’élégance



“She is beautiful,” Lartigue told his diary.

“The small mouth with the full painted lips!

The ebony black eyes.

From under her fur coat

comes a warmth of perfume.”




As recently as last year, fashion designer John Galliano attributed the inspiration behind his fall creations to Jacques Henri Lartigue’s muse — Renée Perle — calling her “a kittenish Parisian coquette.” Kittenish? Forgive him his transgression.



Renee Perle striking a pose for Lartigue, 1930


The famed photographer and heartfelt suitor, Lartigue, who immortalized Perle in his avalanche of photographs, however, described her simply as an angel.




The story goes that the revered photographer met his muse, a Romanian model once employed by the French dressmaker Doeuillet, in 1930 on the Rue de la Pompe. It was most assuredly, lust at first glance.



In Juan-les-Pins, 1930, shortly after Lartigue and Perle met.


The pair spent two years together, cavorting as if on eternal vacation in Cannes, Juan-les-Pins, and Biarritz, with Lartigue’s camera always at the ready.



In the “shadowless heaven” of his photographs, glamorous women, including his first and second wives, Bibi and Florette, abound, but Perle’s lacquered hair, slender silhouette, modern T-shirts, armfuls of bangles, and talonlike nails shone the brightest.

Around her,” Lartigue wrote, “I see a halo of magic.” And we see enduring perfection.




~ by eaesthete on 05/04/09.

8 Responses to “Anatomie de l’élégance”

  1. Oh, the jewelry.

  2. Stunning photos. Every time I visit the errant aesthete, I feel refreshed and revived and creatively reinspired.

  3. yes, in agreement with Mrs Trefusis. Wishing there were more sites like this.

    • Kate, Mrs. Trefusis, and my very reliable Mrs. Blandings,

      I am heartened by your praise and/or comments. In truth, EA is a very eclectic mix, not unlike my own interests, curiosities, musings, etc. Perhaps, I’m too easily enchanted and, yes, the simplest compulsion will find its way to my blog to the dismay or delight of readers. And most are readers. Not exactly a chatty blog this.

      There are days when I wonder if this effort is as lonely to others as it, oftentimes, seems to me. So when notice is taken or inspiration served and you are kind enough to take the time to tell me so, it (in the words of Mrs. Trefusis) refreshes, revives and reinspires me as well.

  4. Looking for some quotes and photos, I’ve discovered this inispiring blog. What a beautiful, esthetic vision of the world. Thank you for sharing it. It really inspires.

  5. She was truly an icon, before the word became so overused. The world she lived in – all swept away in the wake of WW2. But at least we still have Lartigue’s ‘shadowless heaven’ of photographs.

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