Romain de Tirtoff also known as Erté was famous illustrator and designer. Erté was born in 1892 in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. He was born torich aristocratic family. His parents wanted him to become a naval officer as his father. But Erte wanted absolutely different career. He was literally captivated by fashion, arts, dancing and design. “I came to the conclusion that I could live without dancing but could not give up my passion for painting and design”, recalled Erté years later. At the age of 19 Erte left Saint-Petersburg for Paris. Finally his parents allowed him to pursue his dream. Actually he promised his parents he would become an architect. But he lied. In fact he never wanted to be an architect. He was interested in illustration exceptionally. But Erte had to do something to make his parents let him go.

Paul Poiret, famous designer of the time invited young and perspective illustrator to work for him. It was an opportunity Erté couldn’t miss. Working for Poiret Erté designed theatrical costumes and stage sets. In 1914 Poiret shut down his fashion house. Erté began to design for Harper’s Bazaar. Thus it is well known that Erté “contributed over 2 500 drawings for the interior pages” of the magazine. He lived for some period of time in Hollywood designing for the movies.

When the World War II broke out Erté decided to stay in Paris. It was difficult time for him.

In the 1960s and ’70s his works were re-discovered. Some of them were displayed worldwide. People were interested in art deco era. At the same time Erte tried to use new techniques creating his works. He was even creating sculptures. But his actual passion was theater. Throughout his life he was designing mainly for the stage.

Erte had an energetic personality. Mr. Estorick described the last days of Erte, “He was doing very well. He had made a lot of money over the past 25 years and was building a home in Majorca. He was full of energy until the end”. Erte himself thought that he was living in a different world. “People take drugs to achieve such freedom from their daily cares”.

It is fair to say that his works constitute an essential part of art deco movement. His style is easily recognizable. The images he created are elegant and delicate. At the same time they were typical of the era.

Paul Poiret



Filed under Fashion

2 responses to “Erté

  1. NF Hannibal

    “I’ve never taken drugs. I’ve never needed them.” – Erté
    Love it.

  2. Pingback: Nom de plume | One quality, the finest.

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