Christian Bérard

Christian Bérard, also known as Bébé, was a French artist, fashion illustrator and designer. He was born in Paris, France in 1902. As a child, he was fascinated by the theatre and ballet and compiled albums of costume and scenery designs. He attended the Academie Ranson from 1920 to 1923. Although painting was his first love, he concentrated during the 1930s on fabric and interior design, as well as book and fashion illustration. His work appeared in Harpers Bazaar and Vogue who published a great many of his drawings from 1935 until his death in 1949. He illustrated most of the leading designers of the time, including Vionnet, Revillon, Schiaparelli. and Jean Patou.

He was one of the great Bohemian characters of Paris. Whilst only in his early 30s, he became the darling of salon, theatre and café alike, a central figure of the artistic demi-monde. Bérard and his lover Boris Kochno, who directed the Ballets Russes and was also co-founder of the Ballet des Champs-Elysées, were one of the most prominent openly homosexual couples in French theatre during the 1930s and 40s.

One of his most well known achievements was his costume and set designs for Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film La Belle et la Bête.

Aged only 47,Christian Berard died whilst at work on the costumes and sets for Les Fourberies de Scapin at the Théàtre Marigny. Bérard’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and The Menil Collection, Houston.


Christian Bérard

Vogue Paris

Oct 1937


Christian Bérard

Boris Kochno

Published by Panache Press 1988