Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ziegfeld's Girls

The Ziegfeld Follies were a series of popular and elaborate Broadway productions, inspired by the Follies Bergère of Paris. These American vaudevillian variety shows ran from 1907 through 1931. Many of the top entertainers of the era got their start on Ziegfeld's stage.
The chorus girls, or "Ziegfeld Girls" were not your customary faceless backup dancers. Many of these female performers would go on to become leading ladies. Louise Brooks (pictured below) was spotted by Charlie Chaplin while dancing on the Ziegfeld stage. Marion Davies (below, right), Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Blondell, and others started their careers in Ziegfeld's chorus.

Risqué images of the actresses decked out in elaborate, provocative costumes designed by Erté, Lady Duff Gordon, and Ali Ben Hagan, have influenced numerous fashion spreads. (Right click the image for a larger view.)

The Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2008 fashion campaign featuring Kirsten Dunst immediately comes to mind.

Coincidentally, Kirsten also got to portray the actress and former follies girl Marion Davies in Peter Bogdanovich's 2001 film The Cat's Meow. (Lucky duck.)

Sadly, on May 12, 2010, Doris Eaton Travis, the last of the Ziegfeld Follies girls, died at age 106. Doris began dancing with the Follies at age 14.


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