CREATE: What Artist Erté Can Teach Our Kids

In his first video as our newly minted GWK Creativity Expert, fellow gay dad, Eli Kaplan-Wildmann, of Create Unbound, invites you and your kids to learn about Erté — a Russian-born French gay artist, born in 1892, who had a huge impact on the world of fashion, and helped gender norms for men and women for generations to come. 

"This artist had to leave his friends and family, change his name, hide who he loves," Eli Kaplan-Wildmann says at the outset. "How could he still have managed to have a huge effect on design all over the world?" 

 

In the in-depth video above, we learn that, upon moving to Paris, Erté found a job with designer Paul Poiret — who was in the process of helping to revolutionizing women's fashion — and gender norms — by abandoning a key article of clothing: the corset. 

"Poiret and Erté designed clothes that were just loose fabric," Eli says. Suddenly, the world of fashion was open with "new opportunities and new ways to dress." 

Here, Eli invites you and your children to consider a time when you did, said or wore something just because other people thought you should. Of course, there are plenty of times we must follow the rules — such as obeying a stop sign. But "sometimes it's good to think about whether we're doing something only because other people expect it," Eli says. "What can we do to make us more ourselves?"

Watch the entire entertaining and educational video, full of lessons from Erté's life and career, above. And then check out the corresponding crafts project and supplemental materials on Eli's website, Create Unbound!


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