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Beauty in Exile: The Artists, Models, and Nobility who Fled the Russian Revolution and Influenced the World of Fashion Hardcover – November 1, 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This unique, first-of-its-kind treatment of the influence of Russian migr s upon women's fashions during the early 20th century is breathtaking in depth and scope. Enhanced by over 840 black-and-white photographs and illustrations, the text describes successful accomplishments of dozens of Russian houses of couture prolific during the 1920s and 1930s in Paris, Constantinople, Berlin, and Harbin in far-off China. Forced to support themselves, noble Russian refugees employed what they knew best: elegance, style, and good taste. One, Valentina, found success in the United States, dressing Garbo and other film actresses. Characteristic Russian decorations and embroideries derived from Slavic and Eastern sources excited wealthy clientele who had been primed for things " la Russe" even before the Revolution by the dazzling exports of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and Art Moderne, the Russian version of Art Nouveau. Erte, the fashion illustrator, and beautiful and elegant women who modeled added to the richness of culture contributed by Russians to the modern history of fashion. The author is himself a costume and set decorator and fashion historian. This absorbing book is essential for all public and academic fashion and design collections and will be of interest to Slavic and Russian studies students. Very highly recommended.DTherese Duzinkiewicz Baker, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Before and after the Russian Revolution, thousands of Russian emigres fled for their lives to the European capitals. The wealthiest and most cultured of this very wealthy and cultured set arrived (and usually remained) in Paris, often bringing with them pieces of the lavish life they led in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and beyond. Their exotic patterns, often inspired by oriental themes, sometimes in the form of curtains and sofa covers, were the last vestiges of the court life they once held so dear. Many of these emigres had to find work for the first time in their lives, and they turned to what they knew best--the world of fashion. This comprehensive work shows in astonishingly beautiful photographs the fashion and influence that the emigre communities had on the rest of the world and on what the rich and famous would wear for decades. Vassiliev's work not only chronicles the world of their fashion but also is a comprehensive look at emigre communities themselves. Michael Spinella
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First Edition edition (November 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810957019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810957015
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1.2 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,600,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book covers the now vanished world of Russian exiles from the Revolution till the 1950-60's. It covers such areas as the influence of the Ballets Russies in Paris prior to the revolution, the clothes the exiles bought with themselves, and the importance of the Kokoshnik to Russian fashion design.
We are also given the history of the now vanished Russian émigré communities in Constantinople in Turkey, Berlin in Germany and Harbin in China, with a smaller amount of discussion of the communities in Paris and London.
London and Paris mostly get discussed in context with fashion, as many émigrés, both noble and poor made a living in the various parts of the fashion industry in exile. There is a whole chapter devoted to the house of Kitmr with its exquisite embroideries and beading, which was run by Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna the younger in the 1920's.
The author has also unearthed other Russian émigré fashion houses which were well known and respected in the 1920's but are mostly forgotten now, houses such as Anely, Mode, Paul Caret, Tao, Yteb and Irfe which was run by the Youssoupoff family.
The majority of the book concentrates on fashion, but there is also discussion of the theatre, cafe's and other craft oriented activities which the Russian communities produced, especially in the 1920's. Many years of painstaking research as been conducted by the author to reconstruct this lost world. The book is full of black and white photos, which I imagine would not have been easy to find. However, if you are looking for nice colour photos of Russian costume, you will not find it here, but if you are trying to find something out on the background on émigré communities or the Russian fashion industry in the 1920's this book will be the standard work for many years to come.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved Beauty in Exile. A friend told me about it. I was researching my aunt, who was a model in Paris. I discovered her world through the information this book contains. I had no idea to what extent fashion was dominated by Russian emigres in the 20s and 30s. I knew they were seamstresses and models, but had no idea they started fashion houses as well. Anyone interested in the history of fashion should own Beauty in Exile. The photos are sensational. I bring the book out to show friends who come over. I tell them to get their own, rather than borrow it. This book is too precious to risk lending. I might not get it back!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found my high school history courses boring as the teachers gave us a rough outline laced with "politically correct", unwanted worship of the then formation of the United Nations; though the term "politically correct" hadn't been formulated yet, the concept was buried in the heart of history teachers of the time, Im sure. Since then I've found history compellingly interesting and this book is a prime example as it tells us what happened to the Russian intelligentia some of whom fled for their lives, often leaving vast fortunes behind and surviving on their wits alone. A lot of the book is devoted to the Russian fashion designers whereas my interest had been spurred on by the possibility of reading more about "Lud", a fashion model who made it out of Russia and ended up posing for the American industry and specifically for the photographer, Horst. It's Lud that appears on the dust cover. A few more models were covered; but I was a bit misled by the title, there isn't enough "beauty" in this book. In spite of this, it's still a "Keeper".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought there would be more value in this book than what there was. I would not recommend at that price.
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By A Customer on April 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
An appraisal of European culture from an old maid somewhere in Western Kentucky knits a ludicrously inappropriate Horatio Algerish review to satisfy her puritan work ethos, that went out of date with the blue collar culture of 50's America, Honeymooners, Flintstones etc. She could be Pat Buchanans speech writer.
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