Romain de Tirtoff was a Russian-born French artist and designer known by the pseudonym Erté. He was a 20th-century artist and designer in an array of fields, including fashion, jewellery, graphic arts, costume and set design for film, theatre, and opera, and interior decor.
He worked for Paul Poiret from 1913 to 1914. In 1915, he secured his first substantial contract with Harper's Bazaar magazine, and thus launched an illustrious career that included designing costumes and stage sets. During this time, Erte designed costumes for the Mata Hari. Erté designed over 200 covers for Harper's Bazaar, and his illustrations would also appear in such publications as Illustrated London News, Cosmopolitan, Ladies' Home Journal, and Vogue.
Erté is perhaps most famous for his elegant fashion designs which capture the art deco period in which he worked. One of his earliest successes was designing apparel for the French dancer Gaby Deslys who died in 1920. His delicate figures and sophisticated, glamorous designs are instantly recognisable, and his ideas and art still influence fashion into the 21st century. His costumes, programme designs, and sets were featured in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1923, many productions of the Folies Bergère, Bal Tabarin, Théâtre Fémina, Le Lido and George White's Scandals. On Broadway, the celebrated French chanteuse Irène Bordoni wore Erté's designs. In 1925, Louis B. Mayer brought him to Hollywood to design sets and costumes for the silent film Paris. By far, his best-known image is Symphony in Black. The influential image has been reproduced and copied countless times.
Erté continued working throughout his life, designing revues, ballets, and operas. He had a major rejuvenation and much lauded interest in his career during the 1960s with the Art Deco revival. He branched out into the realm of limited edition prints, bronzes, and wearable art
"Cold Princess. Costume design I"