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.

Irene Castle 1922

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,

 

Vintage Photos of Hungarian Vamp Lya de Putti

Lya De Putti (1897 – 1931) was a Hungarian film actress of the silent era, noted for her portrayal of vampcharacters.

She began her stage career on the Hungarian Vaudeville circuit. She soon progressed to Berlin, where after performing in the ballet, she made her screen debut in 1918. She became the premiere danseuse at the Berlin Winter Garden in 1924.

Around that time German film director Jol Mai noticed her and cast her in her first important film, The Mistress of the World. She followed this success with noteworthy performances in Manon Lescaut and Varieté (1925).

The actress came to America in February 1926. At the time she told reporters she was twenty-two years old. Her ocean liner’s records list her as having been twenty-six. De Putti was generally cast as a vamp character, and often wore her dark hair short, in a style similar to that of Louise Brooks or Colleen Moore.

In 1913, she married Zoltán Szepessy, a county magistrate. They divorced in 1918. The couple had two daughters, Ilona (b. 1914) and Judith (b. 1916).

The following year, De Putti went to Hollywood, but found little success there. Despite working with such distinguished actors as Adolphe Menjou and Zasu Pitts, she failed to make it big, and left the screen by 1929 to attempt to restart her career on Broadway.

Her Hollywood efforts were inhibited by her foreign accent. Later she went to England to make silent movies and studied the English language. Soon she returned to America to attempt talkies.

She died in 1931, aged 34, in the Harbor Sanitorium. She was hospitalized to have a chicken bone removed from her throat, and contracted a throat infection. She left just £800 and a few bits of jewellery. Four years earlier, £800 was her weekly wage. She is interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.

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Lya De Putti postcard via

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Lia de Putti via

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Lya de Putti via

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 Lya de Putti & Eugen Klöpfer in Comedians, dir. Karl Grune, 1925 via

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Lya De Putti in “Sorrows of Satan”, 1926 via

Ross Verlag, Germany, C1920s

Lya de Putti via