Thursday, January 20, 2011


For some time now, late 19th century style has been creeping into modern fashion. Long skirts, high-necked blouses, and ankle booties all call to mind the women of the fin-de-siecle. I love the femininity of the look, and I decided to try it out with contemporary pieces from my own closet.

Inspired by portraiture yet again, this outfit was born of a desire to emulate the women of the world of Toulouse-Lautrec.

A Post-Impressionist, Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (1864-1901) was a well-known French painter, printmaker, and illustrator.

Though he is mostly known for his poster advertisements and scenes of French nightlife, his oeuvre includes a large number of portraits, many of lower class women.

The women he depicts were often prostitutes, since they were often the only women willing to model for artists during the time period.

The subject of the works shown here is one woman in particular, Carmen Gaudin. She was a laundress and prostitute that Toulouse-Lautrec tirelessly depicted in many different settings and media.

Referring to Carmen in a letter written to his mother, Toulouse-Lautrec gushed that he was "painting a woman whose hair is absolute gold".

One of the most striking things about these images, for me, is Toulouse-Lautrec's use of light and dark.

The way many of the portraits utilize such a high value for her face and hair makes everything else around her seem dim and dingy. I tried to emulate this in my own images, by shooting in the slanting shadows of late afternoon.

For my emulation of Toulouse-Lautrec's portraits, I wore what I would consider to be a modern-day interpretation of something Carmen might have worn.
I'm wearing a Tibi blouse, Chanel silk skirt, Miriam Haskell necklace, BCBG booties, and metallic leather Lauren Merkin clutch.

[Toulouse-Lautrec images from,,,, and, respectively.]


  1. Oh sigh! I love that necklace! It reminds me of the Lanvin H&M necklace that I failed to get my hands on. You've styled it beautiflly of course and I LOVE that second pic! Great use of colors as usual!

  2. This is truly gorgeous (but then again everything you post is)! Wow that blouse.. I want to pass my Stylish Blogger Award down to you!

  3. Fantastic ambitious blog you create! Love FAB Ps. I love Lou Doillon's Velvet dress, too... ds.

  4. Love his work. Your outfit is georgous. The blouse was made to display a necklace like this with a white u shaped blank canvas front. Your booties are adorable as well.

  5. ahh, i am speechless! what a great depiction of Toulouse Lautrec's muse!
    i also thought the necklace was Lanvin for H&M at first.

    you are so talented to do all this on your blog. i am sooooooo loving it! thanks!

  6. I love your posts! :) So artsy! :) LOVE that blouse! :) So contemporary! :)

  7. preciosa blusa, muy bonito el color
    que pinturas más fantásticas, preciosas!!!


  8. The Chanel skirt is what did it for me! That was what transported me back to those french bistros......Great job in capturing the light--gave the pictures a mystery. Thanks for the photos from TL's work. Love your blouse, too! Paula

  9. That skirt is so pretty and feminine. And I have to say I'm crazy about your hair! Its gorgeous :)

  10. You look like you just stepped out of a vintage potrait. Loving the blouse!


  11. Beautiful photography - the light and shadow looks really dramatic. I love the necklace and blouse :)

  12. Gorgeous look!
    Love that clutch!


  13. This post is brilliant, the writing, the outfit, the inspiration! It's all too perfect!

  14. i love the mood of toulouse-lautrec, and you captured it perfectly here. the first photo is great! and i'm totally jealous of that necklace! i neeeed something like that for spring! xoxo, laura

  15. Your boots make me happy.
    (If you read that sentence quickly, "boots" looks like "boobs." That conveys a whole different meaning.)

  16. Hey Ariel, the color is by Mac called Plumful! Glad you like it : )

  17. You look gorgeous!!!! I love your interpretation of that era you made it so now. =)

  18. First, I am impress with what you did, this fusion between fashion and art is something new (at least not common) and I really like it, and I am glad to take the time to try something so different and new.
    Second, I think you did a good outfit that shows what Carmen (a very common spanish name) would be wearing these days, and what you did with the light was the perfect and it was the last touch to a great post, :)

  19. beautiful colors in your blouse, and i love your hair!!

  20. WOW. I LOVE this! I love the art and hoe you use these gorgeous and, at the time, irreverent, works of art as your inspiration.

    Also, I just posted the Seventh outfit for the I6L styling challenge.

    Seven of 30!


    -La Copine


  21. the print is just stunning and the necklace is a brilliant touch!

  22. I always adore the funky prints and bright colors you wear!


  23. fantastic blog!!!follow you,follow me????

  24. Beautiful outfit! I love the similarities in the silouhette of you outfit as well as the paintings!

  25. I've loved Toulouse Lautrec since high school and after Moulin Rouge, every time I see his name I think to myself, "How do you do? My name is Henri Marie Raymond Toulouse Lautrec Montfa!" in that sing song way he does in the movie. Actually. Now I want to watch it again.

    Also the silhouette of this dress is so, so good. You look awesome.

  26. beautiful as always!!
    love your blouse!

  27. wow love this outfit! the blouse is amazing, the print is fantastic

    following you, love your blog! follow me back if you mine?

  28. That Tibi blouse blows me away. As do your deeply shaded, high-contrast photographs. It's a good representation of the artwork you highlighted.
    I have no good reason, and it's absolutely shameful of me, but I realized today that I was not an official follower of Artfully Awear. I have now rectified that grievous error on my part! So glad to be officially a follower now! It's always fun to see what you have come up with next.

  29. Wow great photos! I love how you connect each of your outfits to art, its so inspiring!

    P.S. I’m having a giveaway on my blog, check it out if you’d like:

  30. The first photo is absolutely stunning!! I love the contrast between light and dark! You always put so much effort into your outfits and photos! I adore those boots! xoxoxoo

  31. Late 19 Century inspired is definitely a cool look. I'm loving long skirts and blouses. I love how you wore te look. The blouse is so pretty.

  32. I absolutely adore this outfit, adore, adore, adore! And your boots. Loveeeee.

  33. just wonderful. i do so love your blog!
    <3 mode.

  34. I love how you tie art history in with your outfits (I love Chiroco and Toulouse-Lautrec), and I ADORE your use of colour. You are a gal after my own heart!

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