The Showgirl Costume

An Illustrated History


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About the Book

Fashion is synonymous with change yet the iconic showgirl costume—feathers, sparkle and revealing clothes—has remained largely unchanged since the early 20th century. Beginning in the 1800s, a couture of the risqué evolved from Paris nightclubs to Las Vegas casinos. The concept of glamour itself was based on what Parisian courtesans and burlesque performers wore. A tall pretty girl with headdress, nude core with spangles, high heels and dramatic makeup became a Gallic symbol and later the trademark of Hollywood musicals. France exported costumes and millinery—as well as whole productions from the Moulin Rouge, the Lido and Folies Bergère —to the U.S. and the world. More recently, cabaret styling has translated into today’s day, sport and evening clothes.

About the Author(s)

<B>Jane Merrill</B> has published in 50 national magazines including <I>The New Republic, New York, Cosmopolitan, Penthouse, Connoisseur, Town & Country, Harvard</I>, and <I>History</I> and has written books on popular culture, beauty, lifestyle, and fashion. She lives in Saint George, Maine and on Campobello Island.

Bibliographic Details

Jane Merrill
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 291
Bibliographic Info: 110 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7174-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3433-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

One • Influences 11

Two • The Scene Is Set 68

Three • New York 129

Four • Between the Wars 141

Five • High-Style Undress 164

Six • Accoutrements 187

Seven • The Berlin Revues 204

Eight • The Icon Is Fixed 208

Nine • The French Connection in Las Vegas 219

Ten • Interpretations 240

Appendix A: Fashion and the Showgirl (Cassidy Zachary) 245

Appendix B: The Costume of Costumes (Tracy Jenkins Yoshimura) 254

Chapter Notes 263

Bibliography 273

Index 277