Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Musical revues of the early twentieth century were a popular form of entertainment in the cosmopolitan centers of the world, but needed ever more beautiful women wearing ever more outrageous costumes to keep the customers coming back for more. Outrageous and innovative designers worked overtime to supply that demand.

Alfredo Edel — Black Butterfly — 1911

The costume above must have challenged lepidopterists in the audience to want to pin and mount this rare specimen.

William Matthews — Automobile Woman — 1913

Note the actual working headlights as epaulets and license plate numbers on her gauntlet gloves.

William Matthews — Aeroplane Woman — 1913

Alfredo Edel — Pink Flamingo Woman — 1908

This poor woman was strapped to stilts while leaning forward to keep her balance, all the while looking through a hole covered with a gauzy fabric in the base of the bird's neck.

Sam Zalud — Ostrich Woman — 1918

Myra Butterworth — Teacup Woman — ca 1920

Note the rising steam headdress. This and the design below were part of a Tea Service set that also included a teaspoon, sugar bowl and creamer, a serving tray, a bowl of orange marmalade, a butter dish, and a sugar cube with tongs.

Myra Butterworth — Teapot Woman — ca 1920

Homer Conant — Fireworks Male Dancer — ca 1915

Okay, coming in from left stage, this and the design below were for the ballet, for male dancers, the one above with what one would assume would be real sparklers fitzing around his twirls and leaps.

Homer Conant
Spoof Performance of Nijinsky in Afternoon of a Faun

Leon Bakst
Nijinsky's real costume design in 'L'Après-midi d'un Faune'


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

Maybe we can see the Pink Flamingo costume in a sequel to "Black Swan".

Love the design of "Automobile Woman"

Annie said...

These are very appealing watercolor sketches! I also like the Automobile Woman; and the Aeroplane Woman, the Butterfly, and the Male Fireworks Dancer.

savingsassy said...

I have an original Conant . they seem scarce any chance you would know round about any prices?