'Fantaisie sur le costume moderne': Two female haute couture figures
Léon Bakst (Russian, Grodno 1866–1924 Paris)
Graphite, brush and watercolor and bodycolor
12 3/4 x 9 3/4 in. (32.4 x 24.8 cm)
Drawings, Ornament & Architecture
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1961
Not on view
Drawing with two female figures, dressed in haute couture garments designed by Léon Bakst in 1910. Although better known for his costume and stage designs for the Ballets Russes directed by Diaghilev and the performances of Ida Rubinstein, Bakst was also influential in fashion design during the early decades of the 20th century, and designed garments himself. The designs in this drawing show the bold, sensuous color, characteristic of his style, with geometric patterns and rich textures.
On the left, a woman with an asymmetrical dress with 3/4 sleeves and deep, open V-neck, made up of brown fabric with black ovals, its skirt bordered with gray fur, the sleeves with a sheer yellow fabric, and the Empire waistline marked by a red and green belt with two hanging, black tassels, over a long, tubular, blue skirt. She holds a small, dark blue statuette on her hand, covered with long, white gloves, and her hair, tied up, is covered by a brown and blue turban with yellor and green decorations that match the colors of her belt.
To her right, another woman stands looking towards the left, wearing a white, empire-cut jacket with a deep, U-shaped neckline, decorated with a small, yellow brooch under her bosom, over a long, tubular, blue skirt with an apron, colored with yellow and blue vertical stripes, and framed to the sides by two blue strips with two tassels. From the bottom of her skirt peek the round-toed shoes, worn with red socks. Her tall hat is also colored with yellow and blue vertical stripes; the brim is blue, and it is decorated with a blue rosette on the right side. Her hands are covered with yellow gloves, one of them holding a closed, white parasol with green geometrical motifs.
Signature: BAKST 1910
Inscription: Lower right: "BAKST / 1910"
Charles Spencer, Léon Bakst Leon Bakst. New York, 1973, cat. no. Colour plate XXXI, 197.