Tag Archives: fashion

Constantin Guys – A Grisette and Other Watercolours

19 Sep

M.C.G.[Monsieur Constantin Guys]loves mixing with the crowds, loves being incognito, and carries his originality to the point of modesty.” 

(Charles Baudelaire, The Painter of Modern Life)

Constantin Guys, A Grisette, 1859, Pen and ink with ink and watercolor washes on wove paper

These watercolours and drawings by Constantin Guys have caught my attention these days. I just love how brilliantly they capture the vibrant and busy social life of the mid-nineteenth century rich and posh Parisians. Guys is almost like a precursor to a paparazzi, capturing every move, every laughter, every nuance of what is going on. These works were mostly made during the Second French Empire times; from 1852 to 1870, and lucky for us viewers, those decades were the decades of the sumptous and extravagant fashion for women, mostly because of the crinoline which made the skirts excessively wide thus making the women look like giant lotus flowers walking around. These sketchy and quick yet so vivid and detailed pen and ink drawings with watercolour washes give us a sneak peek into the era that is gone by. But Guys doesn’t just paint the wealthy ladies. His drawing of a grisette from 1859 can vauch for that. A grisette is a flirtatious coquettish working class woman. Guys stunningly captures the flounces of her dress and the way he painted the black fabric makes it appear like waves on the dark waters of Venice. His use of blue is equally thrilling in the drawing “Leaving the theatre”. Guys seems always to be walking on the tightrope between sketchiness and brimming with details.

I imagine these ladies and gentlemen are the characters from Gautier’s stories, from Chopin’s concerts, maybe one of these beauties is the fatal mistress of Mr Rochester from Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre, stepping out of the carriage and giving a kiss to her other lover while Mr Rochester awaits her on the balcony, hidden by the roses, heartbroken and disappointed. I imagine these are the kind of ladies that Balzac wrote about in Father Goriot, the kind of ladies who know every little gossip and secret of Parisian budoirs and bedroom, they are the flies on every wall and no one is safe from their watchful eye. But little do they know that all along Monsieur Guys is gandering at them from afar, his eyes catching scenes like the camera, his hand drawing on its own. It is for a reason that the decadent poet Charles Baudelaire called him “the painter of modern life” in his essay of the same-name. In that essay he especially praises Guy’s endless curiosity about life and the world around him, the same curiosity that children have and which makes them ecstatic about everything. This curiosity, tied with perceptiveness, artistic skill and a flaneur lifestyle make Guys the brilliant painter that he was. Here are some interesting passages from Baudelaire’s essay:

“Today I want to talk to my readers about a singular man, whose originality is so powerful and clear-cut that it is self-sufficing, and does not bother to look for approval. None of his drawings is signed, if by signature we mean the few letters, which can be so easily forged, that compose a name, and that so many other artists grandly inscribe at the bottom of their most carefree sketches. But all his works are signed with his dazzling soul, and art-lovers who have seen and liked them will recognize them easily from the description I propose to give of them.

Constantin Guys, Leaving the Theatre, 1852, Pen and brown ink, brush and black, gray, red, blue, and yellow wash

M. C. G. [Monsieur Constantin Guys] loves mixing with the crowds, loves being incognito, and carries his originality to the point of modesty. (…) when he heard that I was proposing to make an assessment of his mind and talent, he begged me, in a most peremptory manner, to suppress his name, and to discuss his works only as though they were the works of some anonymous person. I will humbly obey this odd request. (…) M. G. is an old man. Jean-Jacques began writing, so they say, at the age of forty-two. Perhaps it was at about that age that M. G., obsessed by the world of images that filled his mind, plucked up courage to cast ink and colours on to a sheet of white paper. To be honest, he drew like a barbarian, like a child, angrily chiding his clumsy fingers and his disobedient tool. I have seen a large number of these early scribblings, and I admit that most of the people who know what they are talking about, or who claim to, could, without shame, have failed to discern the latent genius that dwelt in these obscure beginnings.

Constantin Guys, Two Gentlemen and a Lady, n.d., Pen and brown ink, brush and brown, green and blue wash, over graphite; touches of red chalk

Today, M. G., who has discovered unaided all the little tricks of the trade, and who has taught himself, without help or advice, has become a powerful master in his own way; of his early artlessness he has retained only what was needed to add an unexpected spice to his abundant gift. When he happens upon one of these efforts of his early manner, he tears it up or burns it, with a most amusing show of shame and indignation. In this context, pray interpret the word ‘artist’ in a very narrow sense, and the expression ‘man of the world’ in a very broad one. By ‘man of the world’, I mean a man of the whole world, a man who understands the world and the mysterious and legitimate reasons behind all its customs; by ‘artist’, I mean a specialist, a man tied to his palette like a serf to the soil. M. G. does not like being called an artist. Is he not justified to a small extent?

He takes an interest in everything the world over, he wants to know, understand, assess everything that happens on the surface of our spheroid. (…) With two or three exceptions, which it is unnecessary to name, the majority of artists are, let us face it, very skilled brutes, mere manual labourers, village pub-talkers with the minds of country bumpkins. (…)  Thus to begin to understand M. G., the first thing to note is this: that curiosity may be considered the starting point of his genius.

Constantine Guys, Reception, 1847, Pen and brown ink with brush and watercolor, over graphite, on ivory laid paper

Do you remember a picture (for indeed it is a picture!) written by the most powerful pen of this age and entitled The Man of the Crowd? Sitting in a café, and looking through the shop window, a convalescent is enjoying the sight of the passing crowd, and identifying himself in thought with all the thoughts that are moving around him. He has only recently come back from the shades of death and breathes in with delight all the spores and odours of life; as he has been on the point of forgetting everything, he remembers and passionately wants to remember everything. In the end he rushes out into the crowd in search of a man unknown to him whose face, which he had caught sight of, had in a flash fascinated him. Curiosity had become a compelling, irresistible passion.

Now imagine an artist perpetually in the spiritual condition of the convalescent, and you will have the key to the character of M. G. But convalescence is like a return to childhood. The convalescent, like the child, enjoys to the highest degree the faculty of taking a lively interest in things, even the most trivial in appearance. Let us hark back, if we can, by a retrospective effort of our imaginations, to our youngest, our morning impressions, and we shall recognize that they were remarkably akin to the vividly coloured impressions that we received later on after a physical illness, provided that illness left our spiritual faculties pure and unimpaired. The child sees everything as a novelty; the child is always ‘drunk’. Nothing is more like what we call inspiration than the joy the child feels in drinking in shape and colour.

Constantin Guys, Meeting in the Park, 1860, Pen and brown ink, brush and gray, blue, and black wash

I will venture to go even further and declare that inspiration has some connection with congestion, that every sublime thought is accompanied by a more or less vigorous nervous impulse that reverberates in the cerebral cortex. (…) But genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with man’s physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience, involuntarily amassed. To this deep and joyful curiosity must be attributed that stare, animal-like in its ecstasy, which all children have when confronted with something new, whatever it may be, face or landscape, light, gilding, colours, watered silk, enchantment of beauty, enhanced by the arts of dress.”

Spring Fashion Inspiration: It’s a Romantic New World…

23 Mar

The idea for the title of this post came from a 1968 fashion picture which you’ll see bellow where two girls are seen wearing floral-print dresses and the words “It’s a romantic new world” are scrawled over it. World in this moment is more a 1984-Brave New World one, but I still like to daydream about more romantic imaginary Arcadian worlds… Enjoy the pictures! 🦋🌷🌻

Picture found here.

Picture found here.

Larme Kei fashion magazine scans found here.

March 1977. ‘A feminine bouquet of soft pastels to embroider on a lovely, long white dress.’ Found here.

Found on: louiseebelpandora Instagram

Picture found here.

My Inspiration for February 2021

28 Feb

My biggest discovery this month was the Symbolist painter Gustav Adolf Mossa and I am still smitten with his fascinating watercolours of skeletons, passion, blood, saints and flowers, I also enjoyed the beautiful, vibrant and dreamy flower paintings by Odilon Redon, Jean-Louis Forain’s paintings of ballerinas and their admirers, theme of transience which I explored through the art of Juan de Valdés Leal’s painting “In ictu oculi” and let me quote Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s play “Life is a Dream”: “What is life? A madness. What is life? An illusion, a shadow, a story. And the greatest good is little enough: for all life is a dream, and dreams themselves are only dreams.” As you have seen from my fashion inspiration post, I have been into the 1990s fashion and that’s mainly because I’ve been watching (again) the show Beverly Hills 90210 but only the first four seasons, I don’t care for the show after Brenda leaves. Early in the show Brenda sometimes annoys me, but in season four she is just wonderful. Here’s a poem by Jack Grapes that Dylan recited in the show in season four at a poetry reading class:

“With you, the earth was a bed of grass
We slept in it like two seeds
With you, I was more than I am
Your mouth, the sun
Made everything possible
I burn with the love that I lost
When I lost you.”

“You know, it’s quite a job starting to love somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment, in the very beginning, when you have to jump across a precipice: if you think about it you don’t do it. I know I’ll never jump again.”

(Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea)

Los Angeles, picture found here.

Picture found here.

Los Angeles, 4th July 2020, picture found here.

Picture found here.

Watercolour found here.

Vladimir Mayakovsky, A Letter written to his sister Ludmila, 1905

liberty.mai instagram

 

 

Fashion Inspiration: Early 1990s – Velvet Dresses, Dark Colours, Hippie Revival

18 Feb

Majority of pictures found here.

Inspiration: Castles, White Gowns, Roses and Snow

20 Dec

Cardinal in snow by Molly Dean.

Rose by Rein Nomm.

Picture found here.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany by 📸 Joonas Linkola

Picture found here.

Picture found here.

Frosty days...🦉niiloi

Lake Bled island in Slovenia

Fashion Inspiration for Autumn 2020 II

11 Oct

Awhile ago I made a post about my fashion inspiration for autumn and well, I found many more pretty pictures that I thought I’d share and here we are!

Pictures above are by Petra Collins.

Tavi Gevinson.

Picture by Laura Makabresku

Two pictures above by Natalia Drepina

Fashion Inspiration for Autumn 2020

25 Sep

Picture by Cari Ann Wayman.

Picture found here.

Two pictures above by Sara Waiste.

Picture by Evelyn Cormier.

Wa and Qi Lolita Styles

19 Mar

These days my senses are ravished by dreams of the East; moss gardens, glowing lanterns and cherry blossom petals carried by the soft spring breeze, exciting Ukiyo-e prints, strange and thrilling music of Toru Takemitsu, old haiku poems… To go along with the theme, of course these gorgeous Lolita dresses caught my attention because they combine the classical Lolita clothes elements; silhouette, cuteness and modest appeal, with the elements of traditional clothes. Wa Lolita is a style of Lolita that combines the classic Lolita style with elements of traditional Japanese clothing (kimono), and Qi Lolita is a very similar style which takes inspiration from the traditional Chinese clothing (qipeo). I love the diversity that Lolita style is capable of and these eye-candy dresses bellow are just a joy to look at, I love the colour palette, lots of red and purple, the intricate patterns, and I love that the head-wear and the accessorize are also inspired by the traditional styles, it just looks stunning all together.

Most pictures found here.

Lonely Birthday Pictures – A Pretty Doll in a Victorian House

3 Mar

I recently discovered these fashion pictures taken by Louis Park for Vogue Korea, March 2006 called “Lonely Birthday”. The model is Sophie Buxton. The mood and the aesthetic of these photographs is fun, whimsical and dreamy and fills my mind with ideas and fragments of stories. I wonder who this doll-like girl is and what is she like? I imagine she lives all alone in that strange brick Victorian house with a grand entrance and decaying flaking walls. I imagine this girl lives in her own strange Alice in Wonderland kind of world with porcelain dolls, old floral wallpapers, fallen chairs, cake and tea, and no intruders. I imagine her as a childlike creature who feeds birds with cake-crumbs, listens to murmur of the trees and befriends mice from the attic of her lonely Victorian mansion, I imagine that she lives in a perpetual tea party to which none but her porcelain dolls are invited. I also imagine that I would like to be her.

“Lonely Birthday”, Vogue Girl Korea, Photographer: Louis Park, Model: Sophie Buxton

1970s Fashion: Real romantics let longdresses set the mood

14 Feb

Some fun 1970s fashions, mostly from the first half of the decade, which I enjoyed looking at recently. And also the amusing descriptions from the original magazines!

October 1973. ‘Real romantics let longdresses set the mood.’

May 1973. ‘The good time begins when you step through the doorway and hear the beat of the band.’

August 1973. ‘He calls and says, “Let’s see a flick.” You say, “Fantastic,” then wonder what to wear.’

March 1977. ‘The soft prom look.’

March 1970. Skinny Bones by Thermo-Jac

April 1973. ‘The outfits that give you the best mileage, even when you’re not on the road, are the ones that mix well with each other…’

June 1973. ’…Splashy summer mixers, sunny little dresses, accessories you punch up in your own clever way…’

April 1973. ‘Here, sister-models Cindy and Lorraine try out long dresses. The kind that can stay home now, go to summer parties later.’

July 1972. ‘Crisp days call for easy pieces with plenty of options.’

September 1975. ‘How long has it been since you gave your jeans a rest and dressed up in something soft and pretty?’

August 1973. ‘What’s going over big in those good-looking school classics? Coats with neoclassic touches.’

February 1975. ‘The color of lipstock and the shine of gloss in one sheer, creamy lipstick.’

September 1975. ‘Challis charm in print with a streak of solid blue…’

May 1973. ‘How do you tie your prom look together…? You add little things here and there that say a lot about your personal style.’

June 1972. ‘Mix it up in a cling-top dress that goes anywhere.’

December 1970. ‘Natural Wonder by Revlon. For pretty young things.’

May 1970. ‘Puckering hug-tops bloom into ripply skirts and bring spring to full power.’

June 1972. ‘Get around in a puff sleeve T that stops short so your midriff can tan.’

July 1972. ‘Take a long skirt in a clan plaid that wraps to the side.’

December 1970. ‘Fresh. Free. Natural. That’s the feeling you get with Cover Girl.’

August 1973. ‘Getting back into dresses? Try a good two-piece plan…’

May 1973. ‘Summer whites get you into the good times, fast.’

May 1973. ‘Fabulous fashions bright-on for summer’

May 1973. ‘Forget the real world and dance the night away; celebrate, enjoy, tonight is for you!’

March 1970. ‘Wide-eyed slink. Come-on innocence. It’s marvelous to have it both ways with Aziza Smoke-Rings.’

January 1973. ‘Now’s the time to get sewing for spring, to stitch up dresses in just about the prettiest, girl-test prints ever.’

September 1973. ‘The fantasy feeling brings together color, shine and really romantic hair.’

October 1973. ‘For the traditionalist, the heirloom look of a Victorian dress in delicate white-on-white striped satin.’

January 1973. ‘Soft lines, feminine patterns – that’s what gentle dressing is all about.’

January 1973. ‘Inside Clairol’s beautiful new creme rinse is the breathtaking fresh essence of mysterious green herbs and enchanted flowers.’

January 1970. ‘Softly, prettily projected…’

November 1977. ‘Bold, gilded accessories add a glamourous touch t a very special evening.’

All the pics found here.