Today’s post on fans was suggested by my BFF, Stephanie Lake, those of you who have followed nenasnotes from the beginning remember the week long postings I did on Stephanie and I call upon her when I am doing my Thursday Collection posts to see if she has anything to contribute, this time she turned the tables on me and got my juices flowing and my post on FANS was born. In the photo above you see a portion of her collection. Let’s look at a couple more from her collection with her words talking about fans…
“What else is at once as practical and as extravagant as a fan?
I keep favorites on my vanity and I am never without one, nor is Odette, who has her own collection and is extremely proud that she can operate folded fan.”
Two from Stephanie Lake’s collection.
Stephanie holding her patriotic fan….
“My interest in fans started with my graduate work; one of my first research papers was titled “Fashions In Flirtation: Fans in Eighteenth-Century Europe.” In it, I examined fans as “the most mercurial of accessories,” reaching their provocative apogee as a paralanguage of gestures developed during that century. Manuals for the meaning of each gesture were sold together with the most expensive fans. Among my favorite quotes is from Art dans la parure et le vetement: “whatever the heat of the climate may be, the fan is above all things . . . a means or motive of gracious movements, under the pretext of agitating the air for the sake of coolness.”
When curatorial work brought me to Tokyo and Kyoto I was gifted a number of fans of the type associated with Geisha fan dances, which I use the most frequently. I also inherited a number from Bonnie Cashin, including one on which a beau wrote a love poem and drew a little portrait, including the lines: “Well her second name is Cashin / nd she really is a dashin’ / for her I have a passion / leading to mashin’ / but that is so old fashion.” The Romance of the fan lives on!”
Bonnie Cashin’s fan.
A bit of flirtation from Stephanie and her adorable daughter, Odette. Love them! Thanks so much Stephanie for sharing some of your collection for nenasnotes. You can find Stephanie at https://www.stephanielakedesign.com/ and her magnificent monograph on Bonnie Cashin, Chic is Where You Find It here: https://www.amazon.com/Bonnie-Cashin-Chic-Where-Find/dp/0847848051re
This post is going to be all over the place so please forgive me (but quite franking most of my posts do ramble don’t they!!!!!). Fans have been a part of many cultures, the subject of Haute Couture collections, Japanese dance and art, Impressionists paintings and on and on….let’s look at some of my favorites with a couple from my tiny collection. I collected fans as a child and they, along with other items were stolen from our Evanston home many, many years ago. I’m sure they weren’t valuable to anyone but me but no matter, they are long gone. The two below (I can’t find the fan that was on all the chairs at the 2006 Fall Christian Lacroix Haute Couture collection when the temperature in Paris was in the high 90’s for the two weeks I was there!)
The lace trimmed one I got in New Orleans while attending a Costume Society of America Symposium several years ago, I fell in love with NOLA and treated myself to several souvenirs, I am especially fond of this one. The black ostrich fan was a gift. Nena’s photo.
Speaking of ostrich feather fans, the first thing that should pop into our minds would be Sally Rand and her infamous fans and her dance at the Century of Progress Fair in Chicago, which, by the way, my parents worked. Daddy did artwork for some of the Fair’s posters. Sally’s dance was quite a scandal and the notorious fans are now housed at The Chicago History Museum www.chicagohistory.org and were featured in an exhibition several years ago entitled What George Wore and Sally Didn’t.
Sally and her fans.
Dita Von Teese with her exotic plumage.
The cover of the exhibition catalog from The Met’s Dangerous Liaisons 2004 exhibition mounted in the Wrightsman Galleries of 18th-century furniture, it was an extraordinary exhibit, small but mighty in its drama. As I recall it was the first of the costume exhibitions that have been mounted in spaces throughout the Museum, www.metmuseum.org brilliant as we now know!!!!
A rather plain fan against an opulent gown.
A Japanese print. Check out similiar prints at The Art Institute of Chicago www.artic.edu
Fan being used in Japanese theater.
A few of the many examples of painting of women with fans…I chose a few of my favorites.La Japonaise by Claude Monet 1876, Museum of Fine Arts Boston Collection.
Girl With Fan 1881 Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Hermitage Museum. I saw this when I was in St. Petersberg. The Impressionists paintings had just started to be exhibited, after decades in storage, and the colors were extraordinary.
Gustav Klimt Woman with a Fan 1917-1918
Some of the fans I liked on Pinterest…photo credits unknown.
My most favorite of all, isn’t it a stunner!
From Kevin Gorsch’s collection the fan was signed to him by Faye Dunaway when he styled her for an event in Chicago early 2000’s You get a bonus with Kevin’s silhouette in the photo….you can visit Kevin (you can follow him on Instagram at redleopardcrocodilevintage) and his extraordinary handbag and accessories collection, The Red Leopard Crocodile, in the Ballroom at the monthly Randolph Street Market www.randolphstreetmarket.com
You know it is superb if it is by Valerie Steele! One to add to your “fashion” book collection!
A preview of Friday’s Fashon Flashback post….can you guess who I will be featuring? I will also continue the fan theme a little bit, so much interesting material.
All photos, unless otherwise noted, are from Pinterest photo credits unknown.