Modern art and fashion are intertwined in various ways. Helene Schjerfbeck’s (1862–1946) love of garments comes to light both in her paintings and in her letters to her cousin’s daughter Dora Estlander, the woman in red lipstick portrayed in Elegant Lady (c. 1928). Many of Schjerfbeck’s paintings capture the essence of modern femininity.
This book traces the history of fashion and fine art from the 1880s to the 1950s. Costumes and textiles have a prominent role in many paintings of this period, as exemplified by the work of such artists as Albert Edelfelt, Jalmari Ruokokoski and Olga Gummerus-Ehrström. This anthology takes an in-depth look at intersections between modern life, art and fashion in essays authored by art and fashion experts who challenge the common misconception that fashion is a purely superficial pursuit. The sartorial glamour of yesteryear and daily attire worn during Schjerfbeck’s era are presented through a beautiful selection of historic costume illustrations, old fashion photographs and works of art. The essays also examine the history of dressmaking and Finnish haute couture, from leisurewear to glamorous evening gowns, from armour-like corsets to the mobility revolution in women’s attire.