Monday, September 21

Ziegfeld Girls





Florenz Ziegfeld interviewed 15,000 beautiful women a year for a quarter of a century and a total of 3,000 were selected as Ziegfeld Girls, his idea of the most glorious specimens of American womanhood. Floating across the stage to Berlin's wistful, haunting tune, they were choreographed to convey desire -- lust being (slightly) too strong a word -- in chiffon and silk, feathers and lace.

For those with the right stuff (36-26-38 was Mr. Ziegfeld's preference) and a willingness to strut it, the stage of the New Amsterdam Theater was the place to be in Jazz Age Manhattan. Diamond Jim Brady would lay down $750 to snap up 10 opening night seats for the legendary Ziegfeld Follies, and admirers would indicate their appreciation of particular showgirls by sending precious jewels to their dressing room, ensconced in bouquets of long-stemmed roses.


I can never get enough of things from the first half of the Twentieth Century, particularly from the years 1915-1940. The women of that time have a decidedly different look altogether than the women of today. I am always trying to figure it out, is it they way they wore their hair? Is it the makeup? Is the merely the photography and thereby a trick of the eye? I am not certain, but I know its very hard to recreate in our modern day and I am always poured over books and photographs of women in the 1920s-1930s. Years ago when I discovered the Ziegfeld Follies I felt I stumbled on a veritable treasure trove of gorgeous women decked out in the most luscious garb of the day. I am pretty sure I will never get tired of staring at these photos, or any photos like them...

10 comments:

Jessica / Lola Vintage Clothing said...

Gorgeous pictures, Lauren. I know what you mean about being mesmerized by the beauty of those women from the 20's-40's. Their eyes always seem different to me. . .dreamy and far away.

sarah said...

I wrote my 4th year dissertation on theatrical costume of the 1920s (Erte, who designed for Ziegfeld, was one of the main designers I focused on) and so I have a special place in my heart for Ziegfeld. :) You're right, there is something about the girls that is so different from women today, but it is so charming!

Anonymous said...

Whenever I look at pictures like this, I always try to imagine what the women would look like with today's hair, clothes, make up. And I always fail! You're so right - they just have something.

13bees said...

the HAIR?! how do they DO IT? I am at a loss for anything more complicated than a ponytail and a flat iron. that hair is perfection.

K @ Blog Goggles said...

These ladies are stunning. I totally need to learn how to do my hair like that! Though I'm guessing it will involve lots of hairspray...

The Vintage Modern Girl said...

those girls are fabulous, as are you! i felt so honored to have a comment from the famous Lauren of Dear Golden Vintage on my blog! thanks for stopping by!

oni said...

according to those measurements i couldve been a ziegfeld girl! YES!

Teisha said...

I would love more than anything to be able to pull off finger waves and dark red lipstick in a cupids bow. Just beautiful.

hangeng said...

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honey hi said...

hello, i just stumbled upon this old entry of yours (via the 'you may also like' links) and was so glad to look at these photos. i literally JUST finished the definitive biography on louise brooks (the one by barry paris, which is a fascinating and lyrical and deeply researched 550 page DELIGHT, btw)... she was a zeigfeld girl just before she was signed in hollywood... a very interesting part of her career, and in those days these chorus girls were in no way MERELY chorus girls. they were sought and respected and adored and many of her friends from the follies and scandals went on to marry hollywood stars. very magnetic group of ladies who dont get as many modern nods as they should! thanks for posting :)
janine
honeyhivintage.blogspot.com

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