This book is a beautiful, color presentation of Erte’s theatre costume designs. Each costume is given a full page treatment with a title at the bottom. There’s a 3 paragraph small introduction and that’s it for the text – so there are no analyses of the costumes or influences despite this spanning 50 years of Erte’s work.
Since these are theatrical costumes, they are best suited for the theatre industry and not necessarily for fashion historians. Most are quite exotic or elaborate and designed with a very specific purpose in mind. But that said, they are all quite fascinating and very robust. Certainly, well worth the read just to enjoy a master designer at his craft.
In the modern age of fashion design, we often get called out for making designs that are too ‘costumey’. But Erte proves that costumes can transcend their original identity and take on a role of art in and of their own self. I would have loved to see actual iterations of any of these costumes as a result.
In all, a decent sized volume in beautiful color. Although heavily influence by the deco period, they are not necessarily art deco designs. But they are the very best one could want from a costume designer and quite fascinating to study or just enjoy. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.