Renée Perle, was a Romanian Jewish girl who moved to Paris. She became a fashion model and in 1930 she met famous French Photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894-1986) who is considered to be one of the leading photographers of the twentieth century (and my personal favourite). Renée became his muse and lived with Lartigue as his girlfriend.
As you can see from the photographs Renée had a great sense of style. Lartigues fabulous photographs of her capture the essence of 'The Jazz Age' and at the same time they are so classical that they have a timeless quality to them. These photographs continue to inspire fashion designers and stylists today.
Renée passed away in the South of France in 1977.
From Jacques Henri Lartigues Diary, Paris, March 7, 1930.
“Half past five at the Embassy. I wait for my “parasol” from last night. I need a whisky. I’m very shy deep down, and ready to be furious if she doesn’t show up. It’s my curiosity that would be most disappointed…Five thirty-five. There she is! Can it really be her? Ravishing, tall, slim, with a small mouth and full lips, and dark porcelain eyes. She casts aside her fur coat in a gust of warm perfume. We’re going to dance. Mexican? Cuban? Her very small head sits on a very long neck. She is tall; her mouth is at the level of my chin. When we dance my mouth is not far from her mouth. Her hair brushes against both.
“Romanian. My name is Renée P… I was a model at Doeuillet…” Delicious. She takes off her gloves. Long, little girl’s hands. Something in my mind starts dancing at the thought that one day perhaps she would agree to paint the nails of those hands…”
John Galliano calls Renée Perle, the inspiration behind his fall show (2007), "a kittenish Parisian coquette." Jacques Henri Lartigue, who immortalized her in his pictures, had another term: angel. The revered photographer met his muse in 1930 on the Rue de la Pompe. He thought she was Mexican, but he guessed wrong; Perle was Romanian, and a model once employed by the French dressmaker Doeuillet. "She is beautiful," Lartigue told his diary. "The small mouth with the full painted lips! The ebony black eyes. From under her fur coat comes a warmth of perfume. The head looks petite on her long neck." The pair spent two years together, cavorting as if on eternal vacation in Cannes, Juan-les-Pins, and Biarritz, with Lartigue's camera always at the ready. In the "shadowless heaven" of his photographs, glamorous women, including his first and second wives, Bibi and Florette, abound, but Perle's lacquered hair, slender silhouette, modern T-shirts, armfuls of bangles, and talonlike nails shone the brightest. "Around her," Lartigue wrote, "I see a halo of magic."
There are plenty of books chronicling Lartigue's work.