Category Archives: Art & Decor

The Costume Designer Zig

The costume designer Zig was the pen-name of one of the great artists  for the Paris music hall in the Jazz Age. Prolific as an illustrator, creating artwork for posters, programme covers and sheet music, Zig also created stunning sets and costumes with a tremendous flair and originality from the mid to late 1920s and early 1930s, before dying at an early age in 1936. He must not to be confused with another illustrator called Zig Brunner.

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Lester Ltd, Chicago

From beauty marks and rhinestones, glamour, glitz and the spotlights to black light and television, Lester Ltd was the biggest and most influential theatrical costume house in Jazz Age Chicago that endured way into the late 1950s.

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Gladys Spencer Curling

In my opinion one of the most striking contributions to the extraordinary 1927 book The Robes of Thespis, were a series of drawings – classed as costume designs – by the artist Gladys Spencer Curling. She appeared to have a brief flurry of recognition and success in the late 1920s and designed the costumes and decor for several Anton Colin ballets but then faded from view.

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Who was Gertrude Johnson?

A few years ago a batch of rather delightful costume designs were sold on ebay all drawn, and many signed, by the rather enigmatic Gertrude A. Johnson. But who was Gertrude Johnson? Since the drawings come from America one can deduce that she was American and the distinctive style of her work, reflecting the prevailing eccentricities of the Jazz Age, clearly places them in the 1920s.

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Charles Gesmar

Charles Gesmar by Angelo Luerti

Charles Ges(i)mar, simply known as Gesmar, was one of the greatest designers of costumes and posters during the golden age of the Paris music hall during the Jazz Age and was primarily renowned for his work for the great Parisian star Mistinguett. Although his tenure was short, his output was prolific and his creativity and talent unrivalled.

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Hugh Willoughby

Hugh Willoughby

The British artist Hugh Willoughby rose to prominence in the new wave of costume designers and illustrators that emerged after the First World War during the Jazz Age. He made a name for himself in London and Paris before moving to the USA in the mid 1920s.

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Einer Nerman

Einer Nerman

The artist simply known as Nerman rose to stardom creating charming caricatures of theatrical and musical celebrities in the Jazz Age of the 1920s and Hollywood stars in the 1930s. But Einer Nerman also did much advertising work, book illustration and was an accomplished painter.

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Dolly Tree illustrations

Dolly Tree’s Jazz Age illustrations

Before she became an international renowned costume designer for stage and screen in the early 1920s, Dolly Tree excelled as an illustrator.

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