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.