Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mistinguett - Queen of the French Music Hall

"Mistinguett (Jeanne Bourgeois. Born 5th April,1875) was the undisputed queen of the music-hall, the true originator of the Spectacular Revue. Her career spanned half a century. When she gave her first performance in 1893, she was called 'La Mome Flora'. For many years, she was a great influence in the development of the Music-Hall in Paris. She was a lithe acrobatic dancer and had a flair for style, decor and production.

Every evening, 'Miss' had eleven changes of costume and character - from shop-girl to street walker to fairy queen - wearing huge sprays of feathers on her head, dragging a five-yard train behind her yet gliding like a swan.
When she made her entrance the first thing you saw was her face, and a smile, a huge smile.....

...Against patterns woven by the sinuous legs of young English chorus girls, Mistinguett had to tell the story behind the picture with the simple gaiety and quick-fire repartee of the streets. In spite of those cold, spiritually void settings and impersonal companies, she always retained her femininity. ..Funny or wistful, she could make herself look either shabby or beautiful through sheer will-power.."

Excerpts from 'Les Folies du Music-Hall' by Jacques Damase. Accompanied by vintage posters from our 'Showgirls, Burlesque & Dance' collection.

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