Dunbar, Ruth. Influence of Bakst's Art upon Fashions

The New York Review.1915/1915

The State Tretyakov Gallery

The State Tretyakov Gallery
Moscow, Russia

A Russian revolutionizes the women’s dress.
Why it is the time for Oriental influence. A few years ago, a magician came from the East and flicked his wand near the sacred borders of Rue de la Paix, presto! and changed the fashion of the entire world. The effect was as if a butterfly emerged from a dull cocoon.
That magician’s name was Léon Bakst, and the wand that he flicked was the ballet Cleopatra, which Sergei Diaghilev presented with his Russian dancers in Opera Comique in the spring of 1909.
There is no fashionable outfit created by Paris, London, or New York couturiers that has remained unaffected — directly or indirectly — by that prominent artist. Interior décor —both private and public — is currently under an unbelievable influence of his talent, and when it comes to the stage, his works are truly revolutionary.
Genuinely Russian means half Eastern, and it is to the East that Bakst refers most often to draw inspiration for his sketches — not to the Japanese or Chinese East, but to the East that is much closer, almost within Europe. These are romantic towns of Tiflis, Samarkand, and Trebizond with bazaars for travelling merchants with their priceless silks and fabrics, which can still be found there.
Drawing from this bottomless source, Bakst processed materials that are used to create women’s clothes until they acquired all the shades and colors of the costumes from Joseph. The source of images in his creative work is the same — the mysterious East, of which he himself is part.
While Bakst used to have an incredible influence upon the design of clothes, his impact on women’s choice of color was even more profound. His color combinations were virtually beyond the possible, and couturiers followed him. Anyone with their eyes wide open will see that our streets have become so much brighter in the past few years, due to the buoyancy of women’s dresses. If this were not so, Bakst would be the one responsible.
Caption: Costume for Thamar

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  • Title: Dunbar, Ruth. Influence of Bakst's Art upon Fashions
  • Creator: The New York Review.
  • Date Created: 1915/1915
  • Location Created: USA
  • Provenance: The New York Review.
  • Type: newspaper
  • Medium: Orange silk, vermilion red velvet, golden ornament, pearls, gold, glass, light-blue stone, red velvet