November 11, 2011

Style Inspiration: Renée Perle

Renée Perle & Jacques Henri Lartigue

"Tall, slim, a long neck, a shining lock of hair caressing her mouth. I see the reflection of Renee’s beauty in women’s eyes and men’s glances... Beside her, other women look like farm girls." -Lartigue’s Diary: Paris, March 10, 1930

"Jacques Henri Lartigue, who immortalized her in his pictures, had another term: angel. The revered photographer met his muse in 1930 on the Rue de la Pompe. He thought she was Mexican, but he guessed wrong; Perle was Romanian, and a model once employed by the French dressmaker Doeuillet. "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. The head looks petite on her long neck." 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." -Laird Borrelli

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