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Published: 25 September 2021

By Andy Ross

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Flair

Rene Gruau's "Portrait of Fleur Cowles".

Fleur Cowles was a painter, illustrator and designer. She also created an influential magazine.

Born Florence Friedman in New York, Fleur had a career in journalism and advertising, established an advertising agency, and married four times over her life. She was a philanthropist, served in government, painted and even created tapestries and chinaware, but it is probably for the magazine "Flair" that she is most well-known. Bringing together "a fancy bouillabaisse of Vogue, Town & Country, Holiday, etc" as Time magazine put it at the launch, "Flair" was only produced for a short time before high production costs caused it to cease. The magazine used cutouts, differently shaped pages and high standards of journalism and writing, illustrations and photographs to present a "a class magazine", and even today "Flair" stands out from the rest for these qualities and its innovations. 

Watch the video below on YouTube to see what one of the copies of "Flair" looks like and read this article on OpenCulture for more background about this extraordinary publication and its equally extraordinary founder and editor.