11-10-1892

Erté (Romain de Tirtoff)

Russian designer, ERTÉ, born (d: 1990); born Romain de Tirtoff, Erté is perhaps most famous for his elegant fashion designs which capture the Art Deco period in which he worked. His delicate figures and sophisticated, glamorous designs are instantly recognizable, and his ideas and art influence fashion into the 21st century.

His costumes and sets were featured in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1923, many productions of the Folies Bergere, and George White’s Scandals. In 1925, Louis B. Mayer brought him to Hollywood to design sets and costumes for a film called Paris.

There were many script problems so Erté was given other assignments to keep him busy. He designed for such films as Ben-Hur, The Mystic, Time, the Comedian, Dance Madness and La Boheme.

Erté is virtually synonymous with Art Deco, which is unfortunate as his work represents the extreme of the style and not the style itself. It’s perhaps not an exaggeration to say that Erté’s creations made the most outrageous clothing designed by MGM’s Adrian look like nuns’ habits. Erté’s name can safely be added to that small list of gay male favorites – Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury, Bette Midler – that either sends one swooning with rapture or jumping for cover behind the nearest sofa.