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 risque 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 Bergere –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)

Jane Merrill has published in 50 national magazines and has written books on fashion, lifestyle, and eighteenth century culture. She lives on the St. George Peninsula in Maine.

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