Vintage Muse du Jour: The Queen of Mars
December 29, 2017 5:48 PM   Subscribe

Outlandish and stupendous costumes from the 1920s for stage and screen. Many of these designs were by Erte, the quintessential Art Deco designer. Here's a link showing his fashion designs for everyday, which are almost as outre as his designs for movies. Erte Haute Couture. Everything is a feast for the eyes and also illustrates the rapid changes in women's fashion from the corseted years to the flapper era and beyond.
posted by MovableBookLady (10 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
Nice. People who find this interesting might also like looking at some of Joseph Urban's stage sets from about the same time period.
posted by praemunire at 8:49 PM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by bongo_x at 9:01 PM on December 29, 2017

Beautiful, but also illustrates neatly how the flat, 2-D style of Erte did not quite translate to the 3-D reality of an actual woman's body.

Fashion still has that problem but now just demands women starve themselves as flat as possible. Which is also why so many of these women look plump next to a modern fashion model.
posted by emjaybee at 9:23 PM on December 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

Beautiful and unreal. I don't think anyone ever thought high fashion was about what real women wear. But recently this look was carried off superbly on "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" from Australia. I don't care that I could never wear 1920's fashions, I still love seeing them.
posted by mermayd at 5:52 AM on December 30, 2017

I have to say, while I find Erte's work fascinating and can look at it a long time, these costumes and the styling of the women head straight for the uncanny valley, and this is the kind of thing that gave me nightmares and made me slightly afraid of certain people when I was a kid.

They're kind of like clowns in that way: their emotions and humanness are sufficiently hidden that they seem like they probably are some kind of existential threat, yet they are looking at you demanding to be treated as human.
posted by amtho at 6:55 AM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have to add: the young models are naturally sweet and vulnerable-looking by virtue of being young. When that look is aged up, though, a more smart, reserved older woman in these looks ---> Nora Desmond. I'm _not_ older women shouldn't dress this way, just that this kind of otherworldly effect can be multiplied.
posted by amtho at 7:06 AM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I’m dying to know the colors.
posted by double bubble at 8:32 AM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

These are beautiful, and I think the women look beautiful in the costumes - and I do like the 3d vs the 2d. I'm not a costumey person, but I would love to have an excuse to recreate one of these.
posted by maggiemaggie at 10:07 AM on December 30, 2017

I'm with maggiemaggie; I expect Erte knew that women had volume, and at the time quite a lot of people liked looking at rounded women. So I see the costumes as showing off their curves by draping the 2D cuts.

(Also, I look at them and think "Silk! And a heck of a lot of hand sewing!")
posted by clew at 4:34 PM on December 30, 2017

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