Monday, June 7, 2010

Renée Perle


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."
—Laird Borrelli

 There are plenty of books chronicling Lartigue's work.


  1. what a radiant, beautiful creature! I must start wearing a signature set of bangles. Ravishing. Thanks for the introduction; I think I'm in love!

  2. Dear Dash, how interesting, what a beautiful woman,love her hands and rings and bangles, looks v modern, long to find out more about her and Lartigue now Bx

  3. There is something quite compelling about her. You wonder what a woman like that would be like raised in a more modern era. Would she still be a muse? model? trendsetter? Would she be fearless and free? hmmm ...

  4. What an interesting, beautiful woman. She is quite mesmerizing.

  5. What a fantastic set of images. She is utterly captivating!

    She oozes class and style from every pore. That's a really interesting thing that she's done with her top lip - the lippy seems to be applied like two wings, rather than a single flash and it makes her cupid's bow really stand out.

    Gorgeous creature! So unlike the manufactured blands that we have today!

  6. I love these images Dash..especially the one of her sitting in the window. You always find the most interesting things. I have learned so much from you..opens another world for me :)


  7. what fabulous photos, perhaps a Marcel Wave could be the way forward!!

  8. Wonderful post...the photos have such a modern feel to them, and what a lovely muse! So elegant and exotic.

  9. She has a very contemporary look. Beautiful!

  10. It is the unabashed lust resonating in these photographs wherein the art lies.
    No artifice, the photographer was clearly seduced by and enamored of her, as was the indifferent lens of his camera when held in his hands.
    I long for the days when airbrushing, photoshop and elective cosmetic surgery did not exist.
    These subtle yet sexually charged moments between photographer and model could be deemed obscene if not for the loving intimacy, sadly, this is something we will never likely see again.
    I was aware of the photographer but not the model, thank you for the introduction.
    I would just like to mention the recent passing of the artist Louise Bourgeois which has not received much notice in the press.
    I think you would have liked her.
    X David

  11. I love these photos and her style, all the bangles etc. It has to be my favourite era of style xx

  12. Thank you very much for sharing these beautiful pictures!

    By the way, I have had the same Henri Cartier-Bresson picture on my wall as you have on the right side of the blog since 14 years. :-)

  13. she certainly inspires....and, she was quite photogenic

  14. What a gorgeous woman! I adore her style.

  15. Love her bangles. She reminds me of Nancy Cunard. . .

  16. There is a photo of Renee Perle in an Assouline book I have (about the French Riviera) and I always wondered who she was. What an incredible beauty! Such style -- I love those massive sailor's pants -- they are so haute-couture; difficult to wear, I'm sure, unless you had her body and were cavorting around the Cap d'Antibes. Also, the marcelled hair, the darkened bee-stung lips, the tank tops, the bangles -- it's too much! I would have loved to have sat next to her at a twilight alfresco dinner in the South of France and just been a silent observer as the night unfolded: I'm sure there was never a dull moment!

    I think this might be the start of a new obsession.

  17. Dear Dash, I was sure I'd left a comment here. I loved this post. Renee was beautiful. It is by far my favourite era xx

  18. What brilliant quotes and incredible photos. She was so incredibly beautiful, and I love the painted nails! Thank you for sharing!

  19. Wonderful post Dash!
    I've always thought the resemblance of former British supermodel Gail Elliot & Renée Perle was striking!

    Gail Elliot next to Cindy Crawford
    (hope the link works)

  20. Magnifique! Plus pleines des images que j'ai jamais vu. Thanks Dash!

  21. What a wonderful post with so many amazing pictures! Wasn't she just beautiful? I've seen pictures of her before, but never so many and never with all this wonderful information! Thank you. I'll be following your blog.


Thank you for visiting French Sampler, I hope you come back soon. I love to read your comments and will reply as soon as I can.