CURATE // ART & DESIGN: The Story of Look Magazine


(Credit: The Excellent People

It turns out every generation has its design magazine that folds too soon. Domino was ours and in the 1950s Fleur Cowles’ Flair was theirs. When the magazine launched in 1950, Time described it as a “fancy bouillabaisse of Vogue, Town & Country  and Holiday.”


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Cowles teamed up with art director Federico Pallavicini to create unusual, extravagent production features such as unfolding pages that revealed pictures and accordion inserts.


(Credit: The Visual Vamp)

More than just innovative design, Flair was a cocktail of art, literature and fashion for high society. Tennessee Williams, Gypsy Rose Lee, Simone de Beauvoir, Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau were all published in the magazine.


(Credit: The Creative Review)

The high production cost felled the publication one year after its launch. Her then-husband halted production on Flair after it lost him an estimated 2.5 million dollars. An exercise in extravagance? Maybe. But there have certainly been worse ventures to be luxurious about.


(Credit: The University of Texas Archives at the Ransom Center

In a 1996 interview with the Associated Press, Cowles declared Flair to be her obituary. “Nevermind any other thing I may have done. It’s Flair that really reflects me.”

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