Since I had been collecting the ancient French pochoir for years, it always drew me back to the heydays of elegance which I have been indulging whenever I flipped through those images, the meticulous handwork of those illustrations, the fashion details, even each movement or posture of each character, they were depicted so vividly that reflects the aristocratic lifestyle and joie-de-vivre during that era. For some might think illustrations might be a little imaginative, now I came to know someone who brings all these bygone glamour to life in a form of a beautiful book - “Les Élégants de Balzac”, a book that captures the men’s elegance and poetic masculinity of the French society in early 19th century.
Created by two passionate French gentlemen, Mr. Jérémy della Corte-Milesi, and, Mr. Matthieu Brajon, this handsomely created book speaks the meticulousness and beauty of men’s costume in the first part of 19th century, portrayed in selected scenes from the work of Balzac, one of the most renowned and influential French novelist and playwright during his time, to create a theatrical and poetic effect interpreting the utmost French masculine splendor and elegance with photographs.
With one of the shoot took place in one of my favorite historical monument in Paris, Château de Maisons-Laffitte, the dynamic of both Jérémy and Matthieu are the incredible combination of reviving mens elegance in modern language, homage to the detail and preciseness of French mens fashion, literature, art and photography altogether, both dedicated their greatest effort to make this project comes to live, the profound know-how and experience of Jérémy in costume design, styling and production, adding the gifted photography skills of Matthieu to capture each motion and posture of the impeccably dressed gentlemen character, under the direction of both authors with their injection of the theatrical and poetic aura, the result? An exquisite book that exudes the men’s beauty, the bygone glamour of French society in a modern interpretation, which harmonious and romantically bridges the past to the present, taking the readers to explore and fantasize the sumptuous and elegance of a dandy’s life, which seems so unattainable and surreal, but become so real that reveal vividly from each handsomely captured images from page to page.
Just when one thought that the long-gone French elegance has been buried in thousand days ago, simply have a look with this book, you may be surprise how magical that is that the revival of masculine splendor is just getting started.
Image courtesy of Jérémy della Corte-Milesi, Les Élégants de Balzac