Thursday, March 08, 2007

Krasny: The New Russian Note in the Rouge of the Modish Parisienne


A new vogue--a new fashion in Rouge! Product of the gorgeous color-sense of Russia's banished beauty and the infallible taste in Paris!

It came about in this way. When the aristocracy of Russia, the court of the Czar, the most brilliant society in Europe, fled before the sans culottes of the Revolution, Paris became their hope!

And there the most of them are today, the Russian Coterie, the most glowing color-note in the fashionable life of Paris.

Nothing was more captivating than their gorgeous make-up, their thrilling use of rouge! Glorious shades, mircaulously harmonious with the coloring of these barbaric beauties. Paris, who lives to be conquered by beauty, by chic, of coure made this make-up her own! Krasny!

But nowhere in the world does Krasny belong as in America, with its splendid, fearless, gorgeously healthy women! So we brought Krasny to America for you, and here it is today.
The New Yorker, July 9, 1927


Anonymous said...

Russian "Coterie": Unless you were a Russian writer who was forced to give language lessons in Berlin, where your father was struck down by an assassin's bullet, and you had to publish your works in emigre journals under the pen name Sirin.

You would end up in Paris later, because your wife was Jewish, and then have to flee to the United States when the Nazis invaded France. But that was a happier chapter for literature and a worse one for American butterflies.

e, who is neither splendid, fearless, nor gloriously healthy

Adam Thornton said...

The real question is: what sort of rouge did Vera Nabokov use?

I found it funny that the court of the Czar were "the most brilliant society in Europe," but their wives and daughters were "barbaric." Huh?

Anonymous said...

Rouge? "Red Admiral."

Brilliant yet barbaric? The Ballet Russe's program tonight is "Swan Lake" followed by "The Rite of Spring." What's that, Serge? Excuse me--"Le Lac des Cygnes" and "Le Sacre du Printemps."

e, avec pantaloons and definitely sans culottes

VanillaJ said...

Okay, I'm totally. lost. wtf?

Anonymous said...

Barbaric in the sense that they had visible foundation lines...

Anonymous said...

The advertisement implies that Russians living in Paris were an elegant part of the upper crust. My initial comment was to point that the greatest of Russian emigre writers, Vladimir Nabokov, virtually starved in Berlin after the Revolution.

Muffy caught that right away, and asked about his wife's rouge. My facetious answer was to give that mythical rouge the name of a butterfly, since Nabokov was famous for his lepidoptery and the butterfly allusions in his works.

Then Muffy rightly pointed out that the ad implied that Russian society was "brilliant," while their women were "barbaric," which seems at the least to be cognitively dissonant, if not sexist. I tried to point out that the Russians were always known for their adoption of French manners and passions (the first words of "War and Peace" are French, spoken by a Russian), including the ballet. Tchaikovsky wrote the best-known Russian ballets, but Igor Stravinsky was infamous for the 1913 Paris premiere of his "Rite of Spring" by the Ballets Russes, led by Serge(i) Diaghilev. Its music, with its dissonances and unfamiliar rhythms, and its subject matter, the sacrifice of a girl in primitve Russia, caused a near-riot to break out. I thought that might have been why the ad writers might have linked elegance and barbarism. I gave the French names for the ballets to give a whiff of snobbery--of which that ad reeks.

"Sans culottes" refers to the revolutionaries of 1789 France, who did not wear knee-breeches, an aristocratic habit, but pantaloons--pants.

e, who hopes this helps

Adam Thornton said...

Oh, you bet those emigres had visible foundation lines! They had to bury their GOOD foundation before they fled the estates. I bet they had disordered underwear too.

Adam Thornton said...

I hope that the special edition of this blog comes with running commentary!