January 15, 2006
"Paris in the Fifties"
Has anyone read Stanley Karnow's "Paris in the Fifties"? He was an American who went to Paris shortly after WW2 and later became a correspondent for Time. His descriptions of life in France at that time are really wonderful. I especially enjoyed the chapters on food "The Prince of Gastronomes" andfashion "The Glass of Fashion". Of particular interest to me is his description of the couturier Paul Poiret and his immense impact on style in the early1900's. Hugely influenced by Diaghilev's Ballet Russe, Poiret was the creator of a very exotic look, and, amazingly was the first designer to free women from corsets. His costume ball "la mille et deuxieme nuit (the thousandand second night)" was one of the social events of the 20th Century. He lived life to the fullest, but sadly died without a franc to his name in 1944. However, his legacy continues and we are still blessed with his fabulous designs for theatre, costume and fashion. I encourage you to check out Poiret's fantastic creations, and to read Mr. Karnow's memoirs of a remarkable time.