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The Invention of Chic: Therese Bonney and Paris Moderne Hardcover – November, 2002
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About the Author
Lisa Schlansker Kolosek studied decorative arts at the Parsons School of Design and has worked on the Therese Bonney Archive at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York.
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Teresa Bonney (1894-1978) traveled from California to Paris to study French at the Sorbonne. Graduating in 1921. Paris was the artistic and cultural centre of the world. Bonney felt at home there, translated for her name in the French and remained living in Paris. Often she traveled to and fro by ship to New York to Louise Bonney, her sister and business partner. Both sold the photo's and articles to American magazines, trying to change the conservative taste. Despite the specific American streamline-style in product design and architecture there hardly existed fully modernist interiors.
Bonney worked initially as a kind of cultural correspondent teaching gherself to make photo's The first time she photographed the Parisian street scene with delicious looking Art Déco advertising posters, storefronts and shopwindows.
Beiong asked inside she photographed "trendy" night clubs, shop interiors, window displays, fashion and luxury accessories; ranging from jewelry, walking sticks, perfumes and hairstyles. Clients were in the beginning only the American mags, but later also the Parisian designers and architects themselves. Early 1930s Bonney was a kind of stylemaster. She wrote columns and tips with best-selling guides where the (American) nouveau riche in Paris could buy bijoux and couture. With her sister Louise, renowned art historian in New York she was invited as an advisor for the New York World's fair of 1939.
With the threat of the second world war Bonney donated her photo collection to the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum in New York. In retrospect she made a significant contribution to the post-war romantizing image of the "American in Paris".