A Collection Vintage Photos Feat. Amazing Ballerina Ida Rubinstein

Ida Rubinstein was a famous Russian ballerina, actress, patron and Belle Époque figure. An idol of the fin de siècle renowned for her beauty, mimetic powers and enormous wealth. She was a significant patron and she tended to commission works that suited her abilities, works that mixed dance with drama and stagecraft

She was born in Kharkiv 1885, Ukraine, but was orphaned at an early age. The family was wealthy, cultured and Russified, a merchant-banking clan that had moved up the social ranks; her father’s title, Hereditary Honorary Citizen, conferred gentry status.

Rubinstein is not considered to be in the top tier of ballerinas; she began her training too late for that to have been a possibility.  Tutored by Mikhail Fokine, she made her debut in 1908. This was a private performance of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, in which she stripped nude in the course of the Dance of the Seven Veils. After the play was banned, Rubinstein performed the dance alone as a concert number.

Salomé brought Rubinstein to the attention of Serge Diaghilev (1872–1929), who included her in the earliest Paris seasons of his celebrated Ballets Russes. Because of her limited dance training, she was cast in “mime” roles such as Cleopatra (1909) and Ta-Hor in Schéhérazade (1910), which capitalized on her dark, exotic looks and stunning stage presence. Both ballets were choreographed by Fokine, and designed by Léon Bakst. Her partner in Scherazade was the great Nijinsky. Scherezade was admired at the time for its racy sensuality and sumptuous staging, but these days it is rarely performed; to modern tastes, it is considered too much of a pantomime and its then fashionable Orientalism appears dated.

Rubinstein left the Ballets Russes in 1911. World War I was a watershed in Rubinstein’s life. Although twenty years would elapse before she became a French citizen, by the 1920s she had become a grande dame of the French theatre. In 1928 Rubinstein formed her own dance company, using her inherited wealth, and commissioned several lavish productions. Her last performance was in the play Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher in Paris, 1939. In 1940 she left France during the German invasion, and made her way to England via Algeria and Morocco. She later returned to France, living finally at Les Olivades at Vence, where she lived in strict seclusion, reading the Bible and occasionally visiting the Abbey of Cîteaux. She died in 1960 and was buried nearby.

Ida Rubinstein via

Ida Rubinstein, 1920s via

Ida Rubinstein in Phaedre, 1923 via

Mme Ida Rubinstein

Mme Ida Rubinstein by Léon Bakst, 1910 via

A Collection of Photos Feat. Fashion Icon Irene Castle

Irene Castle (1893 – 1969) was born Irene Foote in New Rochelle, New York. The daughter of a prominent physician, she studied dancing and performed in several amateur theatricals before meeting Vernon Castle at the New Rochelle Rowing Club in 1910. With his help, she was hired for her first professional job, a small dancing part in “The Summer Widowers”. The next year the two were married. The English-born Vernon had already established himself as a dancer in comedic roles. His specialty was playing a gentleman drunk, who elegantly fell about the stage while trying to hide his condition.

In 1914 the couple reached the peak of their popularity in Irving Berlin’s first Broadway show, Watch Your Step, in which they refined and popularized the Foxtrot. They also helped to popularize ragtime jazz rhythms and African-American music for dance.

As the couple’s celebrity increased in the mid-1910s, Irene Castle became a major fashion trendsetter, initiating the vogue for shorter skirts. She is also credited with introducing American women to the bob – the short hairstyle favored by flappers in the 1920s. Her elegant, yet simple, flowing gowns worn in performance were often featured in fashion magazines. These were often supplied by the couturier “Lucile”, but Irene also designed some of her clothes herself. The whisper-thin, elegant Castles were trendsetters in other ways: they traveled with a black orchestra, had an openly lesbian manager, and were animal-rights advocates decades before it became a public issue.

In 1918, after serving with distinction as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, Vernon died in a plane crash. Irene continued to perform and made silent films over the next decade. She remarried, had children and became an animal-rights activist.

   

Irene Castle introduced her “Castle bob” to an American audience in 1915.

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Irene Castle wearing French designer Madeleine Vionnet, 1922

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Irene Castle wearing French designer Madeleine Vionnet, 1922

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Irene Castle / photograph by Moffett, Chicago, 1915 via

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Irene Castle in dance costume / photographs by Ira L. Hill’s Studio via

Irene Castle Winter Costume, before 1917

Irene Castle Ball Gown before, 1917

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 Irene Castle, New York World’s Fair (1939-1940) via

The Castle Walk

 The original Castle Walk by Vernon and Irene Castle in 1915.

The Europe Society Orchestra wrote the song “The Castle Walk” specifically for the Castles and this dance,

 

Photos Feat. Designs by Lucien Lelong

Lucien Lelong  (1889 – 1959) was born in Paris as the son of Arthur Lelong, the owner of a textile shop, he trained at the Hautes Etudes de Commerciales in Paris and opened his fashion house in the late 1910s. He was  eager to create garments that would highlight the body’s movements and elegance in motion: a kinetic fashion. He killed the 1920s “garçonne” look and privileged fluid garments inspired by neoclassical drapery, and later anticipated the New Look.

Lelong did not actually create the garments that bore his label. “He did not design himself, but worked through his designers,” wrote Christian Dior, who was a member of the Lelong team from 1941 until 1946, during which time he created the collections in collaboration with Pierre Balmain. “Nevertheless,” Dior continued, “in the course of his career as couturier his collections retained a style which was really his own and greatly resembled him.” Other designers who worked for Lelong included Nadine Robinson and Hubert de Givenchy.

Among Lelong’s clients were Marie Duhamel, Jeanne Ternisien (wife of the banker Georges Nelze), the Duchess de la Rochefoucauld, Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, Colette, and Rose Kennedy.

On the 10th August 1927 he married his second wife, Princess Natalie Paley (1905–1981), who had worked as a saleswoman in the Lelong perfume department. She was a daughter of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia and his morganatic wife, Olga Karnovich. Paley had starred in a few films, but found her succes being a Lelong model. They divorced in 1937.

Lelong retired in 1952, due to Poor health. Lelong’s third wife, who outlived him, went on to marry the French journalist Maurice Goudeket, the widower of Colette.

Lucien Lelong, Evening Coat, 1920s via

Dress by Lucien Lelong 1925

Dress by Lucien Lelong, 1925 via

Crepe dresses by Lucien Lelong, 1935.

Crepe dresses by Lucien Lelong, 1935 via

Princess Nathalie Paley in Lucien Lelong by Man Ray, 1935

Princess Natalie Paley wearing a black sequined evening gown by Lelong. Photo by Man Ray, 1934 via

Vintage Photos feat. Daisy Fellowes

Daisy Fellowes, the Hon. Mrs. Reginald Fellowes (née Marguerite Séverine Philippine Decazes de Glücksberg, (1890-1962)), was a Singer Sewing Machine heiress who, gifted with both wealth and beauty, became a celebrated 20th-century society figure. Fellowes was one of the most daring fashion plates of the 20th century, arguably the most important patron of the surrealist couturier Elsa Schiaparelli and a friend of the jeweller Suzanne Belperron. Her fashion icon status made her the Paris Editor of American Harper’s Bazaar. 

She married twice. Her first husband either died of influenza or comitted suicide – as a result of his homosexuality having been exposed.

Her second husbond was the Hon. Reginald Ailwyn Fellowes (1884–1953). He was a banker cousin of Winston Churchill and the son of William Fellowes, 2nd Baron de Ramsey. They had one child.

Daisy Fellowes was also a minor novelist and poet. She was notorious for her blunt observations and few escaped her notice or her acidic tongue. Of her first children, she once said, “The eldest, Emmeline, is like my first husband only a great deal more masculine; the second, Isabelle, is like me without guts; [and] the third, Jacqueline, was the result of a horrible man called Lischmann ….”

Daisy Fellowes by Man Ray, 1926 via

Daisy Fellowes by John Singer Sargent, 1910’s via

Daisy Fellowes, wearing Schiaparelli, 1933 via

Daisy Fellowes wearing Schiaparelli via

A Collection of Photos Feat. Showgirl Mistinguett

Mistinguett´s (1875 – 1956) was at one time the highest-paid female entertainer in the world. She became known as a singer and actress, starring in numerous films during the silent era.

During a tour of the United States, Mistinguett was asked by Time magazine to explain her popularity. Her answer was:

“It is a kind of magnetism. I say ‘Come closer’ and draw them to me.”

Mistinguett

Mistinguett

Mistinguett (5 April 1875 – 5 January 1956) was a French actress and singer, whose birth name was Jeanne Bourgeois. She was at one time the best-paid female entertainer in the world.[1]

Mistinguett

Mistinguett by Charles Gesmar 1900 - 1928 Mistinguett (5 April 1875 - 5 January 1956) was a French actress and singer, whose birth name was Jeanne Bourgeois. Charles Gesmar (pronounced Gesmar) French Poster Artist and Costume Designer Born: May 21, 1900 Died: February 27, 1928

Mistinguett by Charles Gesmar 1900 – 1928 Mistinguett (5 April 1875 – 5 January 1956). French Poster Artist and Costume Designer Born: May 21, 1900 Died: February 27, 1928

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Mistinguett and Josephine Baker, 1927

A Collection of Photos Feat. Soprano Rosa Ponselle (1897 – 1981)

Rosa Ponselle (1897 – 1981), was an American operatic soprano with a large, opulent voice. She sang mainly at the New York Metropolitan Opera and is generally considered by music critics to have been one of the greatest sopranos of the past 100 years.

During the early 1910s she hand her sister were a headlining act on the Keith Vaudeville Circuit, appearing in all the major Keith theaters and earning a substantial income in the process. The sisters’ act consisted of traditional ballads, popular Italian songs, and operatic arias and duets.

In 1918 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Leonora in Verdi’s La forza del destino, opposite non other than Caruso. It was her first performance on any opera stage and she scored a tremendous success, both with the public and with the critics. Her professional career lasted 21 years. Her last operatic performance was as Carmen in1937, in a Met tour performance in Cleveland.

Ponselle later said that she never missed performing after she retired. She built a luxurious home with her husband near Baltimore, Maryland, the Villa Pace, where she lived the rest of her life.

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Rosa Ponselle via

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Rosa Ponselle via

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Rosa Ponsella as Violetta in Verdi´s La Traviata, 1935 via

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Marion Telva as Adalgisa and Rosa Ponselle in the title role of Bellini’s Norma, 1927 via

A Collection of Photos Feat. Princess Irina Alexandrovna of Russia (1895-1970)

Princess Irina Alexandrovna (1895-1970) was a niece of Tzar Nicholas. She was a daughter of his sister Grand Duchess Xenia and Grand Duke Alexander. Before her marriage, Irina was considered one of the most eligible women in Imperial Russia.

In 1914 she married Felix Yussupov the wealthiest man in Imperial Russia, one of the men who later murdered Grigori Rasputin in 1916. He was an unexpected bridegroom, amongst other things, he was bisexual and an occasional crossdresser. Not that this mattered. The couple enjoyed a very happy marriage that lasted fifty-three years until his death in 1967. They spent most of their lives living in Paris devoting much energy to Russian relief work.

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Princess Irina Alexandrovna on her wedding day, wearing her mother’s veil and the Cartier tiara that was a present from her bridegroom, 1914 via

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Princess Irina Alexandrovna, ca. 1924 via

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Princess Irina Alexandrovna via

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Princess Irina Alexandrovna via