09 July 2012

Sisters-and Saints- of Cellophane


the photographs of Cecil Beaton are often referred to here-and beloved & none more so than his cellophane draped ones. I took note when the colossally talented Lauren Tannenbaum came out with these cellophane fantasies. Lauren writes indecorous taste, along with her painting-this young stylemaker creates some of the most fantasy driven fashion I've seen about. Her work has been featured in Italian Vogue. Each piece Lauren designs with a twisted edge.

So-you see-it's easy to make the leap.

Beaton's take on Cellophane Soap Suds
Baba Beaton,Cecil's sister, with Wanda Baille-Hamilton and Lady Bridget Poullett,1930.

These new materials are expressive of our own age. They speak in the vernacular of the twentieth century. Theirs is the language of invention, of synthesis. Industrial chemistry today rivals alchemy! Base materials are transmuted into marvels of new beauty. Paul Frankl, Form and Reform 

a  Sister as a Shooting Star, Nancy Beaton,1928.

Jacques E Brandenberger was the MR. Cellophane.
By 1900, Brandenberger's invention Cellophane was wrapping packages -Whitman's candies got wrapped- and cellophane was also used in making gas masks.

I asked Lauren about her thing for cellophane and she mentioned Florine Stettheimer as her "cellophane Ideal".

Artist, wealthy socialite, Stettheimer hosted a salon of intellectuals between the two world wars. Her New York studio overlooked Bryant Park and was a full out expression of her aesthetic. Florine hung billowing cellophane curtains in the place and used the material copiously in designing sets for Virgil Thompson and Gertrude Stein's Four Saints in Three Acts. Ms. Stein had to approve of the 1500 square feet of sky-blue cellophane swathing the stage with bright white lights glowing underneath it. A triumph at the time.

Florine, the Studio & the Stage

Is it no wonder Beaton embraced this most modern of modern materials?
Beaton was photographing the most beautiful young women of the day. The Coterie & the Beautiful Young Things were being draped in the clear wonder left and right!
The New Generation and the newest thing-together forever bound in celluloid.

Beaton's Clear Eyed Cellophane Beauties

 Norma Shearer

 Tallulah Bankhead

Lady Louis Mountbatten 1932

Paula Gellebrand

Princess Natalia Paley

Nancy Beaton swinging on a star

& another swinger- from the the 1990s, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, taking an Act from Beaton's play-

showman-Warhol getting in on the latest thing, a little Late in the Sixties.

mastering the Art of see through with a most modern take -Martin Margiela, 2012.

things come-things go-but Inspiration
-clearly- keeps on giving.

more Stettheimer here, there is also a play developing devoted to Stettheimer, see more of her art and life here

Lauren here 
Lauren's  pieces in VOGUE Italia here





    did not mean to yell!!

    You know everything about everything (yes, she does)

    A friend of Hutton's did some amazing "photo portraits" of me; and my teenage daughter........

    I forget his last name!

    I will scan and do a blog post on "timeless photogrqphs" Keith picked out the clothes we wore........they are beautiful.....I was never really "into"
    portrait photography......now I am very grateful to have them!


    I am quite sure (which I knew nothing about at the time) his "inspiration" was Cecil Beaton! "Timeless" "portrait photographs"

    I will scan them and post them......you tell me!!

    1. Do! I would love to see them. I know what you mean a bit about portrait photographs-but I really do Love them -especially as they date. PGT

  2. I forgot to say! these pictures were taken in 1985! But I will bet you would not know.....when they were taken.

    The whole point!

    I cannot wait to scan and send! Please give me your opinion.......(always honest)

    I love this new topic!!


  3. Love those photos and the elegant details of those women!
    It makes me remember this brand... inspiring in luxourious ladies. http://www.bykoket.com/

  4. Fascinating post, beautifully composed as only you can do. Loved it.

  5. Fascinating post, beautifully composed as only you can do. Loved it.



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