Month: February 2017

See the ’30s through Ruby-Colored Glasses

See the ’30s through Ruby-Colored Glasses

Ruby embodies ’30s glamour

Instagram: @ruby_mechant

The ever-glamorous Ruby Mechant will be on hand to rep the ’30s for Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque on April 22.

We spoke with her to learn a little about how she connects with her decade.

1. What is your favorite thing about the 1930s? 
For sure the fashion. I mean…have you seen the beautiful dresses, hats and gloves? Super classy.
Some classy ’30s fashion. (To read more about ’30s fashion, click here.)

Another thing that fascinates me about that era is the phenomenon where bank robbers were considered celebrities.

2. If you could have drinks/dinner with any person from that era, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
I’m torn between Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde and Amelia Earhart – I mean Bonnie and Amelia are pretty badass.
3. Is there anyone from today you think embodies the idea of the 30’s ?
I did a little bit of research, but there is no way you can find beauties like Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth and Bette Davis.

Ruby is just one of the 21st century beauties you will see at The Triad on April 22, so be sure to check back often – ticket info is coming soon!

 

Party Like it’s 1939: The Champagne Cocktail

Party Like it’s 1939: The Champagne Cocktail

What do you do when prohibition is over but you’re too poor to go to a bar because you and your entire family live in the jalopy you drove to California to escape the dust bowl in? You write the Grapes of Wrath.

But for those of us who AREN’T John Steinbeck, you’d probably just head on down to the Orpheum and watch a movie about attractive rich people who solve crimes while being witty. So in honor of escapism and Oscar weekend, let’s make a Champagne Cocktail.

The Champagne Cocktail dates back to the late 1800s, but it’s listed among the Top Ten Cocktails for at least two years in the 1930s, so we think it’s appropriate. And while Champagne purists would probably vomit, the Champagne Cocktail sounds like something you would order at Harry’s Bar in Paris while you’re waiting for Ernest Hemingway to get off work so you can go to a bullfight.*

Champagne Cocktail

30sChampersCocktail

Ingredients

  • sugar cubes
  • 3 dashes bitters (Angostura or Peychaud’s)
  • Brut champagne
  • twist of lemon

Directions

Place a sugar cube in a chilled champagne flute. Lash it with 2 or 3 dashes of bitters (Angostura or Peychaud’s), fill the glass with Champagne and squeeze a lemon twist on top and you’re done! You’re all ready for your night out with Hemingway. But be careful cuz that dude is hardcore.

*Ok, yes we know there are no bullfights in Paris and that, in fact, Hemingway left Paris in 1928, but let us have our fantasy

Fun fact: The first Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929 – missed it by a year! But happy Oscar-watching everyone!

Feel free to post your Champagne Cocktail pic on Instagram and tag @lesfemmesfatalesnyc!

Miss last week’s drink? It was the Bee’s Knees!

 

Fashion Flashback Friday: The 1930s

Fashion Flashback Friday: The 1930s

So it’s the Great Depression and all, but that doesn’t mean we have to dress like it. Fashion in the ’30s is surprisingly glamorous. Gone is the boxy, boylike flapper figure of the ’20s and in comes a more feminine silhouette that emphasizes a small waist. Shoulder pads and fluttery sleeves help make the waist look smaller, and hems fall to calf length and lower.

Because more women are working and taking care of bidness outside the home, they suddenly need a whole new category of wardrobe. Introducing the “day” dress, which falls between a house dress – worn, shockingly enough, only at home – and an evening dress, which is worn during those fancy nights sipping champagne at the Rainbow Room.

Day dresses
Day dresses for the 'stout' woman
Day Dresses for the ‘Stout’ Woman
More day dresses!

Evening gowns begin to feature silky, slinky or metal lamé fabrics and are embellished with sequins and beads for extra sparkle. Cutting fabric on the bias is new and exciting, and allows the material to drape more flatteringly and hug the curves.

Slinky Evening Dress
Slinky Evening Dress
’30s Evening Dresses on display at Metropolitan Museum of Art

The zipper is another new innovation that makes life easier, as is the beginning of mass-produced clothes, known as “ready-to-wear,” freeing women from having to sew their own clothes all the time. (Although many still do, it being the depression and all.)

Women’s pants begin to make an appearance, albeit mostly for beachwear and other casual occasions. Women’s trousers are wide-legged and high-waisted and sort of resemble a skirt in the way they drape and move.

Hats are still big, with 1920s-style cloches and berets still popular in the early part of the decade, later giving way to the more relaxed slouch and the flatter, wide-brimmed pancake-type hats.

Greta Garbo rocks the slouch hat
Greta Garbo rocks the slouch hat
Pancake hat
Pancake hat

The ’30s were known as the golden-age of Hollywood, so we would be remiss in not including some of the fashionable ladies of the time, like Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard (aka Mrs. Clark Gable) and Ginger Rogers.

Jean Harlow
Carole Lombard
Carole Lombard
Ginger Rogers
Ginger Rogers
Also some random (but very chic) actresses

For men, shoulder pads and wide-legged pants are also a thing. The “ideal” male silhouette is broad-shouldered and athletic, so suits were cut to accentuate the shoulders, slim waist and broad legs. Jackets were cut a little longer to give the appearance of height and tapered at the waist to form a V-shape, again to give the appearance of heft and power.

Silver foxes in suits

So there you have it – a quick overview of the fashion of the ’30s. For more information (and photos!) check out the sites below.

vintagedancer.com
fashion-era.com
shopruche.com
retrowaste.com
pinterest.com (by the way, LFF is on pinterest too! Follow us!)
bluevelvetvintage.com

As always, thanks for reading! If you have any comments, hit us up. And if you like this, why not share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc., etc.

Don’t forget to join us on April 22 for Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque. Ticket info coming soon! See you next week.

xoxo

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque in the 1930s

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque in the 1930s

Last week, we learned that burlesque evolved out of vaudeville, showcasing comedy and variety acts rather than straight-up stripping. This changed in the late ’20s and ’30s, when the advent of movies forced theater owners to up the ante to get audiences into their venues and turned the focus toward striptease. Burlesque also provided affordable entertainment to those who couldn’t make it to Broadway shows during the Great Depression.

Thus, the ’30s are considered the greatest era of burlesque, giving us iconic and legendary performers who shaped and defined the glamour of the genre. Here are just a few of them.

Sally Rand

Chicago actress Sally Rand was a silent film star who couldn’t make in the world of “talkies.” According to legend, she was booked for a last-minute dance job, walked past a store and saw some vintage fans in the window, bought them to make into a dress, but ran out of time and that’s how the fan dance was born.

In 1933, she performed at the Chicago World’s Fair and was arrested for indecency four times in one day. The following year, also at the Chicago World’s Fair, Rand debuted her famous bubble dance, appearing with a giant see-through bubble.

Sally Rand fan dance
Sally Rand bubble dance

Faith Bacon

While Sally Rand is widely credited for inventing the fan dance, that account is in dispute by NYC-based dancer Faith Bacon. Bacon claims she invented the fan dance to get around laws that allowed women to be nude on stage only if they were not moving. The fan circumvented the law because she could cover up while dancing and show herself while standing still. The dance took off and was a hit.

Bacon was arrested during a 1930 raid on a NYC theater, but the grand jury declined to indict her or her fellow performers.

Bacon’s career was cut short after she was injured and scarred in an accident. Later in life, she unsuccessfully sued Sally Rand to stop her from doing fan dances. Bacon ended up committing suicide in 1956 at age 46.

Bringing home the Bacon with a pair of fans
Faith Bacon

Gypsy Rose Lee

Gypsy Rose Lee might be the most famous burlesque dancer of the period, if not all time. Gypsy inspired the 1959 Broadway musical Gypsy, which was made into a movie starring Natalie Wood in 1962.

Gypsy Rose Lee got her start in vaudeville, having to take the stage to support herself and her mother after her more-talented sister eloped. She became a burlesque dancer accidentally after a supposed “wardrobe malfunction,” in which her dress strap broke. The audience loved it, so she incorporated it into her act. Gypsy became a huge star at the legendary Minsky’s burlesque, known for her wit and innovation.

Gypsy Rose Lee
Gypsy Rose Lee struts

This golden age of burlesque lasted until the end of the decade, when, in a crackdown against “filth,” NYC Mayor Fiorello Laguardia closed the city’s remaining burlesque houses, putting the industry mostly out of business. Thus began the decline of the genre, which would remain in effect until the neo-burlesque revival of the modern era.

But that’s a story for another time, so be sure to stop by next week when we investigate burlesque of the ’40s.

And if you want to read more, we owe a great debt to the following sites:

burlexe.com
rebelcircus.com
musicals101.com

Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself (and Possibly Godzilla): The ’30s

Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself (and Possibly Godzilla): The ’30s

Hello! Welcome back to our romp through history. Remember all the jazzy fun and debauchery from last week? Well, it’s over. It’s the ’30s. The stock market has crashed, the banks have failed and the crops have dried up. Hitler’s on the rise, a world war looms and worst of all? You still can’t drink legally!  What the F, 1930s?

Luckily, we have distractions in the form of radio, movies and art deco, so at least there are pretty buildings to look at while we’re selling pencils on the street corner.

Mo’ money, mo’ problems, amirite?

Here are some major (and not so major) events of the ’30s:

1930

Aug. 12: Clarence Birdseye invents frozen food. Unfortunately, no one can afford ice so his idea is a bust.

1931

March 3: Congress approves The Star Spangled Banner as the national anthem so we’d have something to fight about on Twitter in 2016.

March 14: Nevada legalizes gambling and Fredo Corleone begins banging cocktail waitresses two at a time.

May 1: After just over a year of construction, the Empire State Building opens, becoming the world’s tallest building until the Twin Towers are topped off in late 1970.

Beloved NYC mascot King Kong arrives in 1934, serving as an ambassador for the city until his purported death at the hands (paws?) of Godzilla in the early ’60s.

1932

Nov 8: Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected president, introducing the tradition of referring to presidents by their initials.

WTF

May 9-June 16: Congress passes FDR’s New Deal, replacing the Old Deal with gluten-free, paleo and vegan options.

Dec 5: Prohibition finally ends with passage of the 21st Amendment and everyone asks themselves what the F they were thinking for the last 13 years.

We were too drunk on bathtub gin to think

1934

March 22: The first Masters golf tournament is held in Georgia, but it fails to make golf any less boring.

1935

June 2: Babe Ruth retires and uses his farewell speech to curse the Boston Red Sox.

Aug 14: Congress passes the Social Security Act, ensuring that future Judge Judy litigants have a means to support themselves when not suing each other over pit bull attacks.

1936

May 30: Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind is published, romanticizing the Old South, slavery and Rhett Butler.

Butler? I don’t even know ‘er! (#sorrynotsorry)

Aug 1: The Summer Olympics get underway in Berlin as Adolf Hitler tries to pretend he’s just a normal, run-of-the-mill führer and not a homicidal lunatic.

What are you talking about? I love Jews!

American track star Jesse Owens goes on to win four gold medals and inspire Carly Simon’s 1980 hit song Jesse.

1937

May 6: The Hindenburg explodes over Lakehurst, New Jersey, crushing the fledgling airship industry, but eventually giving us Stairway to Heaven.

Anyone else suddenly in the mood for a hot dog?

May 27: The Golden Gate Bridge opens.

And remains open until Godzilla destroys it in 2014

1938

March 12: Still pretending he’s not up to anything nefarious, Hitler annexes Austria.

What are you talking about? I’m just here for the wiener schnitzel.

Oct 30: Orson Welles trolls millions with his #fakenews radio broadcast that Martians have landed in New Jersey and are meeting in Holsten’s with Tony Soprano. Unfortunately, the air goes dead and no one knows for sure what really happened. (Although there is plenty of speculation on Reddit.)

1939

June 12: The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, NY. The first inductees include Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson and A-Rod*.

*Definitely not A-Rod.

Sept 1: Hitler invades Poland, kicking off World War II.

What are you talking about? I just really like Chopin.

The good news is, WWII helps to end the Great Depression. The bad news is, everything else. Stay tuned for next week when we move into the 1940s and get to talk about WWII in depth. Until then, thanks for reading and be sure to save the date for April 22 when we will bring you Decadent: 100 years of Burlesque. Check back soon for ticket info!

See you next time!

Unleashed Photos!

Unleashed Photos!

Thanks to everyone who came out Saturday, February 18 for Unleashed: Pilots, Puppies and Pasties! We had a great debut at the Metropolitan Room and raised over $300 for Pilots to the Rescue! (Exact amount to be posted soon.) In case you missed it, here are some photos.

Party Like it’s 1929: The Bee’s Knees

Party Like it’s 1929: The Bee’s Knees

It wouldn’t be the ROARING Twenties without overindulgence. And despite Prohibition’s being in full force, there was no shortage of alcohol available. Well, maybe there was SOME shortage, but Americans are resourceful and most found a way around it.

Speakeasies, with their underground doors, special knocks and secret passwords added an extra layer of intrigue to the proceedings. And when you didn’t have a hook-up, you could always take matters into your own hands and brew up some bathtub gin. It was generally poor quality grain alcohol mixed with flavorings and juices, but when times are tough you gotta do what you gotta do.

Many of the cocktails of the era evolved to camouflage the nasty taste of bathtub liquor. Mmm, doesn’t that make you want to fly back in time? If so, here’s a recipe to sip along the way.

Bee’s Knees

Bees Knees Photo: Liquor.com
Bees Knees
Photo: Liquor.com

Ingredients

2 oz Gin
.75 oz Fresh lemon juice
.5 oz Honey syrup

Directions

Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.

Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

(Recipe: liquor.com)

The phrase “bee’s knees” was slang for “the best” back in the day. As in, “this homemade grain alcohol with a little dash of honey and lemon is the bee’s knees, baby.”

And if you need a menu to go with your drink, here you go:

20sPartyMenu

Jellied tomato cream, anyone?

Wanna read more about food in the 20s? Click here.

Fashion Flashback Friday: The 1920s

Fashion Flashback Friday: The 1920s

20sFFFHeaderHello! Today is Friday and we are focused on fashion! Specifically fashion of the 1920s, it being Roaring Twenties week and all.

The twenties marks a new, less restrictive era, and that shows up in its fashion. Women began saying adios to restrictive corsets, ushering in the era of a more boyish figure. Hems were on the rise as women got the vote and began to work outside the home.

Men’s fashion also became less formal, with men preferring short jackets to those with long tails and some adopting short pants or knickers for casual wear and sports outings. (Think Bagger Vance.)

Bagger? I don't even know 'er! (SORRY)
Bagger? I don’t even know ‘er! (SORRY)

Of course even “casual” in the 1920s is way more formal than we are used to today.

You're gonna love the way you look!
You’re gonna love the way you look!

Let’s face it, when people think of the Jazz Age, they think glitz, glamour and Gatsby.

Thaaaat's what I'm talkin' about
Thaaaat’s what I’m talkin’ about
Flappers gonna flap
Flappers gonna flap
Sparkly dress at the Met
Sparkly dress at the Met
Met evening gowns
Met evening gowns
Street style
Street fashion
Waiting for Uber
Waiting for Uber
Paging ZZ Top
Paging ZZ Top
Shoe-in
Shoe-in
Flapper figure
Flapper figure
Sweater? Well, you know...
Sweater? Well, you know…

As always, there are tons of resources if you want to learn more about 20s fashion and see more fun photos. Check some below:

Vintage Dancer

Glamour Daze

Retrowaste

1920-30.com

We hope you liked this, and be sure to check back every Friday as we highlight a different era. Stay tuned for ticket info for our fun show Decadent: 100 years of Burlesque, coming up on April 22 at the Triad.

Triad Poster

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque in the 1920s

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque in the 1920s

Hi friends! It’s Roaring Twenties week at LFF, so let’s learn a little about what burlesque was like in the Jazz Age.

Well, actually, we need to start a little further back.

Up until the 1920s, burlesque was more about comedy and satire than striptease, owing some of its roots to vaudeville and minstrel shows.

Lydia Thompson. Nice stems.

In 1868, Lydia Thompson who was to become known as the “First Lady of Burlesque,” brought her troupe the British Blondes to America. They didn’t strip, but showed off their legs in tights, which was pretty racy for those uptight Victorians.

By about 1905, there was a system in place in which burlesque performers traveled the country in geographically based “wheels,” or circuits, putting on vaudeville-style variety shows that included singers, dancers and comedians. At the time, comedy was the main attraction and some really famous names – like Jackie Gleason, Milton Berle, Bob Hope – owe their beginnings to burlesque.

Little Egypt does the hoochie-coochie (and presumably turns herself around)

In the 1920s, movies began to steal audiences, so enterprising theater owners, like NYC’s Minsky Brothers, began introducing striptease to get butts in seats. The striptease is said to harken back to a performance by “Little Egypt” who did the “hoochie-coochie” at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The Minsky Brothers are generally credited with bringing striptease “out of the backrooms and into the theaters.” Under their tutelage and that of Florenz Ziegfield and his elaborate Paris-inspired Follies, the 1920s and ’30s became known as the golden age of burlesque.

Here are some stars of the era:

Josephine Baker

In the 1920s, American Josephine Baker took Paris by storm as part of the legendary Folies Bergère reviews and became a symbol of the Jazz Age after appearing in a girdle of bananas. Baker was “celebrated by all of the great artists and intellectuals of the era, with various circles dubbing her the ‘Black Pearl,’ the ‘Bronze Venus,’ as well as the ‘Creole Goddess.'” She fought for the French Resistance during WWII and later became a civil rights activist, even speaking at the March on Washington with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963.

Fanny Brice

Fanny Brice, made famous by Barbra Streisand in the 1963 Broadway musical Funny Girl, dropped out of school in 1908 to join a burlesque review. In 1910, she joined the Ziegfield Follies for the first time, performing for two years. She rejoined it in 1921 and danced with them through the 1930s. From the 1930s until her 1951 death, Brice performed on radio as a bratty toddler named Snooks in the eponymous “Baby Snook Show,” which sounds like something that should make us grateful we have Netflix.

Carrie Finnell

Carrie Finnell claims to have invented the nipple tassel, which survives to this day as a burlesque necessity (burlesque-ity?). Using just her magnificent mammaries, Finnell could supposedly swing not just tassels, but bells and lights as well. Whutt??

According to burlexe.com, she also:

is credited with talking Gypsy Rose Lee into peeling on stage. She beat Mae West in a strip-off. She’s also said to have invented the nipple tassel. Definitely a woman worth remembering.

Carrie Finnell (What is she even doing?)

As you can see, the history of burlesque is complex and fascinating and worth looking into much deeper than we can here. If you want to learn more, come back next week when we examine burlesque of the ’30s and check out these sources below:

burlexe.com

musicals101.com

newworldencyclopedia.com

allthatglittersburlesque.com

IMDB.com

(And if you really like history, stay tuned for ticket info for our fabulous April 22 show, Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque.)

Triad Poster

A ‘Dandy’ Trip Through Time

A ‘Dandy’ Trip Through Time

Dandy Dillinger, Vintage Beauty

FB: dandy.dillinger
IG: @dandydillinger

We are beyond excited for Decadent, our voyage through 100 years of burlesque, on April 22, and we are even more excited to welcome back Dandy Dillinger, who performed with us in our very first show (in 2015!).

Dandy, “burlesque’s ‘man’ about town,” is the perfect choice to represent the 1920s because of her classic, vintage look. She even has the awards to back up her cred, having been voted Miss Art Deco by the Art Deco Society of NY last year.

She is just one of the fabulous performers who will be on hand to send you back in time at the Triad on April 22. Tickets will be on sale soon, so be sure to check back often.