LONDON - Fleur Cowles, a painter, writer, and founder of the short-lived but legendary magazine Flair, died Friday at a nursing home in Sussex.
Her death was confirmed by her husband, Tom Montague Meyer, but no cause was announced. The New York Times reported her age as 101, though she had cited various birth dates as much as 10 years later.
She celebrated her wide circle of acquaintance in her 1996 memoir, She Made Friends and Kept Them. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was a friend, Cary Grant was best man at her third wedding, and the artist Lucian Freud enjoyed her patronage early in his career.
But Ms. Cowles thought Flair was the best thing she ever did.
"I was Flair magazine," she said in a 1996 interview.
"I want Flair magazine to be considered my obit. And that's what I want to be remembered by forever."
A 50-cent package of high society, art, literature, and fashion, Flair lasted just 12 issues, from February 1950 to January 1951. It published works by W.H. Auden, Tennessee Williams, Gypsy Rose Lee, Simone de Beauvoir, Salvador Dalí, and Jean Cocteau.
Expensively produced, it included gimmicks such as die-cut overlays, varied paper stocks, and accordion inserts.
Ms. Cowles' then-husband, publisher Gardner Cowles, pulled the plug on Flair after losing an estimated $2.5 million.
Born in Montclair, N.J., she worked in advertising with her first husband, Atherton Pettingell. In 1946, she married Cowles, president of Cowles Magazines Inc., which published Look. The marriage ended in 1955. She then married Meyer, a British timber executive.