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.
A prominant London couture atelier in the Jazz Age was that of Zorene Ltd based in and around Hanover Square, W1. Zorene Ltd was founded in 1919 and thrived through the 1920s and into the 1930s and was described as Court Dressmakers. It was owned and run by Zoe Florence A. Benn and another lady called Irene, hence the name Zorene.
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.
I particularly love an art deco sketch by Erna Carise from 1927 that I discovered in one of my Parisian magazines simply called ‘Jazz’. So I decided to do a little digging and discovered that she had been a rather glamorous dancer and songstress in Paris, Berlin and New York from the late 1920s through to the 1940s and also had a talent as a costume designer or artist.
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?