André Malraux, Anti-Memoirs
“Culture is the sum of all the forms of art, of love, and of thought, which, in the course of centuries, have enabled man to be less enslaved.”
André Malraux, Anti-Memoirs
Image Credit: The Face of the World
“The truth is I don’t like realities. I like dreams and plans for the future and storybooks and music and jokes.”
Lady Diana Cooper, Darling Monster: The Letters of Lady Diana Cooper to Son John Julius Norwich, 1939-1952
“[London between the Wars] was lax and casual and hard and bright . . . the clubs and bars were thronged with Bright Young People, and oh, how bored they all were! Bored with living, bored with loving, bored with their hang-overs, and bored, more than anything else, with boredom itself.”
Howard Greer, Designing Male
Read about the London's Bright Young Things era as it unfolded via Cecil Beaton's Diaries, The Wandering Years, 1922-39.
“Who does not love to travel? We are all Marco Polos under the skin, dreaming of far-flung voyages with all the fervour of a nineteenth-century romantic.”
Cecil Beaton, The Face of the World, An International Scrapbook of People and Places
Image Credit: Society in Vogue
“We may live in California, but eat every night in France.”
Elsie de Wolfe, via Cecil Beaton, Memoirs of the 40s
Elsie de Wolfe, Lady Mendl, was one of the more fortunate refugees of World War II. Fleeing her beloved home in France, she eventually made her way to Beverly Hills, where she quickly adapted to (conquered?) the Beverly Hills social scene.
“One of the immediately striking things about Beaton’s personal behavior is the manner in which he creates an illusion of time-without-end. Though he is apparently always under the pressure of a disheartening schedule, one would never suppose he wasn’t a gentleman of almost tropical leisure.”
Truman Capote, The Best of Beaton
The above portrait of Cecil Beaton by his friend Rex Whistler was one of the lots in a 2008 Sotheby's London sale, "Pruskin: Decorative Art 1880-1960."
"Nowadays, one says 'lesbian' doesn't one?"
Cecil Beaton, Beaton by Bailey
“[O]ne reason it is pleasant to live in Palm Beach is the sharp sense of containment: it is an island with very rigid rules, almost like a jail, but the inmate has a greater sense of freedom than in the wilds of Montana.”
John Ney, Palm Beach, The Place, The People, Its Pleasures and Palaces
“The more I saw of Tina [Chow], the more convinced I was that she was the best-dressed woman I had ever met. Her tastes were subtle, minimalist, and utterly refined, yet alleviated by the most charming touches of humor.”
Grace Coddington, Grace: A Memoir
See Also: Antonio's Girls
"At a costume ball in which Schiaparelli was dressed as a surrealist tree, Chanel colluded to have her put on fire."
Meryle Secrest, Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography
The house of Chanel, the sensation of the 1920s, was still going strong in the next decade, but the white-hot center of the zeitgeist had moved on to Chanel's upstart rival, Elsa Schiaparelli. One of the elements that made Schiaparelli's designs so admired was the clever way in which she collaborated with surrealists such as Salvador Dali.
In the late 1930s, Schiaparelli herself dressed as a surrealist tree for a costume ball also attended by Chanel. According to Horst, Chanel typically refused to so much as utter her rival's name. Yet, on this occasion, Chanel asked Schiaparelli to dance with her. Alas, it was not to initiate a truce. Chanel intentionally steered Schiaparelli's flammable costume into a lighted candelabra. Schiaparelli caught fire, but it was quickly put out with soda water. The contretemps was Topic A in Paris for the next few days, but like much gossip, it soon was buried by more serious matters—in this case, Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland.