"Flair No 1" February 1950

COWLES, Fleur [editor]

[131] pp.

Cowles Magazines, Inc.


13" x 10"


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Volume 1, No. 1; Contents complete in original pictorial wrappers. This innovative and very stylish magazine was peerless in the mid 20th century with articles on fashion, travel, interior decoration, the arts, etc. Illustrations - both whimsical and artistic in colour and b&w. Fabulous pictorial advertisements. Flair was known for the die cut-out covers, unusual illustrations, use of different papers and printing techniques, bound in materials of different sizes and many other 'avant-garde' design features. The magazine measures 13" by 10". Cover has a "peek-a-boo" wing shaped cutout revealing part of the image on the next page. Cover design is a deep red background with a gold wing with the cut out revealing its black shadow; underlying illustration is a dramatic portrait of a red-headed woman in a black evening gown with the caption "The Spirit of Flair: Interpretation by Rene Gruau. Bound in is a letter in facsimile manuscript from editor Fleur Cowles printed on black paper with gold ink in the nature of a manifesto for this new publication with two long stem rose silhouettes printed on the verso. Her declaration begins: "There have been great adventures in paper and in printing and in the presentation of the graphic arts in the last decade. unhappily few of these for the public at large. I had longed to introduce a magazine daring enough to utilize the best of these adventures. A magazine which combines, for the first time under one set of covers, the best in the arts: literature, fashion, humor, decoration, travel and entertainment." Some of the articles in this issue include: "A Letter to Americans" by Jean Cocteau measuring 9 7/8" by 6 1/2" with its own wrappers; an article on Jean Cocteau by W.H. Auden; a short story by Tennessee Williams titled "The Resemblance between a Violin Case and a Coffin;" a tipped in colour reproduction of Lucian Freud's painting "Girl with Roses" printed on card stock (measuring 6 3/4" by 4 1/2") along with a profile of Lucien Freud with photograph; "The New Bohemia" by Charles J. Rolo; A couple photographs of The Middleburg Hunt; "Real Politik" - a short story by Angus Wilson; Flair Personified - Dr. Frank Netter with a bit on medieval medical illustration; an excellent fashion section, including some wonderful suits, shoes, shirtwaists, etc.; "The Paris House of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor" by Margaret Biddle; "Focus on Light - new techniques inspire exciting use in decor" by Richard Kelly; Flair Travels to Morocco illustrated with fabulous photographs; an article by Barbara Ward warning of the Russian imperative; Duo - A New Card Game for Two; theatre notes titled "Midwinter Galaxy"; "Roaring Charm" with book and movie reviews; a humorous cartoon section "Raymond Peynet Looks at Love;" and "Marietta's Kitchen" an excellent article on old kitchen implements and paraphernalia. Also, some great car ads, great perfume ads, etc. A wonderful capsule documenting the avant-garde in the mid 20th century.