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.
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.
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.
My collection of images by the Jazz Age artist S.S.Longley has expanded and I realise how much I like his expressive, art deco, Jazz Age drawings in particular.
Gene or Gene Boshko
A while ago I acquired a few delightful costume sketches sighed ‘Gene’ and dating from the 1920s. Further research has revealed that the artist was named Gene Boshko – but who was Gene or Gene Boshko?
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.