Music, Fashion, and Modernism
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: University of California Press
Title page, Copyright, Dedication
List of Illustrations
This book was inspired by my mother, Dorothy Davis, who loved music, fashion, and all life’s pleasures. As a scholarly project, it began to take shape when I was a graduate student at Harvard University writing a dissertation on Erik Satie, which to my surprise revealed meaningful connections between composition and haute couture in the early twentieth century. ...
1. Magazines, Music, and Modernism
In the June 1923 issue of French Vogue, an unusual portrait of an unlikely subject appears amid the fashion plates. Accompanying a story about the adventures of a fictional Parisian named Palmyre, the drawing is fashion illustrator Eduardo Benito’s sketch of the “good musician” Erik Satie, “bearded and laughing like a faun.” ...
2. Paul Poiret
So chic was the Russian ballet that the line between stage and couture salon collapsed: in 1912 Diaghilev’s designer, Léon Bakst, offered his first fashion collection to the public. Working with couturiere Jeanne Paquin, Bakst created “street dresses” that recalled key Ballets Russes productions, evoking the mythological past of L’Après-midi d’un faune ...
3. La Gazette Du Bon Ton
“A new era, with new methods, needs new pages.” So declared La Gazette Du Bon Ton in its inaugural editorial, published in November 1912, and from this date until its demise in 1925 the magazine set the standard for elegance and luxury in the fashion press. Announcing on its masthead a devotion to “arts, fashions, and frivolities,” ...
4. Germaine Bongard
On an evening in late May 1916, a select group of Parisians gathered at fashion designer Germaine Bongard’s boutique on the stylish rue de Penthièvre. Like her more famous brother, Paul Poiret, Bongard maintained a gallery on the ground floor of her atelier, and on view were modernist paintings by Picasso, Léger, Matisse, and Modigliani.1 ...
5. Vanity Fair
Cocteau and Satie set to work on Parade almost immediately after their encounter at the Bongard fête in the spring of 1916, launching a stormy partnership that would last for nearly seven years. The fruits of this collaboration were few in number but bold in intent: the duo proposed to demonstrate that modernist art could be entertaining, fashionable, and fun. ...
6. Coco Chanel
“Fashion must come up from the streets.” So declared Coco Chanel, articulating a philosophy that would revolutionize style and change women’s dress forever. In an age when ornate embellishment and rigorous body control still set couture clothing apart from lesser modes of dress, Chanel dared to propose a radical new look based on simplicity and body-conscious naturalism. ...
In May 1924, fashion was the focus at the Théâtre de la Cigale, a slummingly chic Montmartre music hall. Count Etienne de Beaumont had commandeered the venue for a series he billed as the “Soirée de Paris,” and he promised “choreographic and dramatic shows” with new works by some of the most sought-after artists of the day, ...