Interesting French Guy Subject Of Athenaeum Salon

Octave Uzanne (2.28) Really interesting French guy. The Providence Athenaeum hosts Fashion Institute of Technology Museum Director Valerie Steele for “Octave Uzanne: La Mode Femme in Fin-de-Siècle Paris.”

Octave Uzanne (1851-1931) was a French writer and bibliophile, who is known today (if at all) primarily as the creator of luxurious illustrated books. Yet he was a strange and interesting individual whose life intersected with an array of literary, artistic, and bohemian figures, from the poet Mallarmé to the pornographer Felicien Rops.

Ha. Now we’ve got your attention.

When Marcel Proust fought a duel with the louche gay journalist Jean Lorrain, Uzanne was Lorrain’s second [See also: Gay Blades]. Uzanne was also extremely interested in women’s fashion, especially as it related to the image of the Parisienne. He wrote a number of books on this subject, including La Femme à Paris and Les Modes à Paris,which associated the history of fashion with women’s changing lives.

Steele will focus on Uzanne’s role as a pioneering fashion historian, his theories about female psychology, and what his work reveals about the culture of fin-de-siècle Paris. Salon will feature a pop-up exhibit of first editions of works by Uzanne from the Special Collections of the Athenaeum and the Fleet Library at RISD.

5pm to 7pm, Friday, February 28, Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street

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