Observations: Clamour for the glamour of a different era
Friday 23 January 2009
There is no more glamorous – or beautiful – holiday than a week on the slopes. The pristine white pistes, the cloudless blue skies, the gentle swish of skis sending up plumes of powder. Not to mention the fashion – giant bling-encrusted sunglasses, neat belted jackets and fur hats are all de rigueur this season – and the apres ski.
Hard to imagine, then, that skiing was an even more glamorous pastime when it first emerged in the 1920s. As new railway links made a holiday on top of a mountain feasible and the ski package holiday began to take off, there was naturally a boom in the billboards used to lure winter sports enthusiasts to the choicest resorts.
On Wednesday afternoon, Christie's will hold its 12th annual ski sale, offering over 300 of these stylish snapshots of another era, when women floated elegantly down the mountain in wide, ski-skimming skirts, men wouldn't be seen on the piste without a shirt and tie and helmets were for sissies.
It is, according to Nicolette Tomkinson, Poster Specialist at Christie's, one of the most popular sales of the year at which lots sell for well over their estimates to those looking for a unique souvenir of their holiday, or decoration for their chalet.
Advertisements for über-resorts Chamonix, Klosters and St Moritz are among the most sought-after while Roger Broders, who applied bold, graphic blocks of colour to his posters advertising both the Côte d'Azur and the Alps for the rail companies, and the Swiss artist Emile Cardineaux attract the highest bids.
Highlights include Carl Moos' dynamic image of a male skier flying through the air, silhouetted against the azure skies of St Moritz, while a 1938 Austrian advert recalls the power, patterns and dynamism of futurism.
Most play up the glamour: an elegant art deco beauty in a sunshine yellow ski-suit poised to lob a snowball, another emphasises the aerodynamic curves of its female subject, placing her on the slopes in little more than a skimpy halterneck top (and gloves). Something for everyone, then, and with prices from £500, a lot cheaper than a week in Klosters.
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