Anarchists of Style…Muse Edition: Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, an eccentric artist living in New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1910s, exemplified the disillusioned artistic movement of Dadaism through her lifestyle and garb often comprised of an array of found or stolen objects. She ran with the likes of Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, and Jean Heap wrote that she was “the only one living anywhere who dresses Dada, loves Dada, lives Dada.” Few images of the Baroness’ fashions survive, the true picture of her being painted by descriptive testimonials that inspire mainstream fashion in a way that von Freytag-Loringhoven no doubt would have despised.

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Baroness - Comme Fall 2012 RTW

Comme des Garcons, Fall 2012

“So she shaved her head. Next she lacquered it a high vermillion. Then she stole the crepe from the door of a house of  mourning and made a dress out of it.”[1]


Elle Fanning for New York, February 18, 2014

“I went to the consulate with a large-wide sugarcoated birthday cake upon my head with fifty flaming candles lit – I felt just so spunky and afluent [sic]!” [2]

Baroness - Agatha Ruiz

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, F/W 2009

“She stood before me quite naked—or nearly so. Over the nipples of her breasts were two twin tomato cans, fastened with a green string about her back. Between the tomato cans hung a very small bird-cage and a crestfallen canary.” [3]


[1] Gammel, I. Baroness Elsa: Gender, Dada, and Everyday Modernity. The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2002.

[2] von Freytag-Loringhoven, Elsa. Undated letter to Djuna Barnes.

[3] Gammel, I. Baroness Elsa: Gender, Dada, and Everyday Modernity. The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2002.




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