Tag Archives: costume design

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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NOT ONLY ERTE Costume design for the Paris Music Hall 1918 1940 by Angelo Luerti

A Review of
Costume design for the Paris Music Hall 1918-1940
by Angelo Luerti

This is the most important book published to explore the full range of costume design talent that helped make the Parisian Music Hall a pinnacle of artistic achievement in the Jazz Age. 

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Merci et Cie the Movie Modiste

Merci et Cie the Movie Modiste

Post World War 1 there was renewed optimism for the British Film industry and various moves were made to improve the quality of productions with effective and original costume design recognised as being of crucial importance. Between 1919-1922 this was evident by the formation of two dress-designing departments at the newly formed Islington studio for Famous Players Lasky, headed by Marcelle de St Martin and the Alliance Studios, headed by Gladys Jackson. But there were various other independent designers rising to the occasion as well. One such person was the fashion designer and costumier Mde de Petier of Merci et Cie (sometimes spelt Mercie) based at 90 Charing Cross Road, whose business was described as ‘milliners.’

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Erna Carise

Erna Carise

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.

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Dolly Tree: A Dream of Beauty

Dolly Tree: A Dream of Beauty by Gary Chapman

A long lost artistic genius of the Jazz Age, Dolly Tree was famous on both sides of the Atlantic, for her extravagant creations that appeared in stage shows, cabaret, couture and film in the glamorous 1920s and 1930s. It is now time for her to be reclaimed as one of the great British dress-designers of the 20th century

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Murray’s Cabaret Club by Benjamin Levy

It is not often that a book like this comes along – a glowing pictorial history of one of London’s major nightclubs in the 20th century – so this is a gem. Beautifully produced and lavishly illustrated, Levy takes us through the genesis of Murray’s Cabaret Club that was situated at 16-18 Beak Street under the aegis of Percival Murray from the early 1930s through to the 1960s.

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The costume designer Gene or Gene Boshko

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?

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Marcelle de Saint Martin and British silent film

Marcelle de Saint Martin and British silent film

French born Marcelle De Saint Martin, became the first true head of a cohesive costume or wardrobe department for a British film studio beginning work at the Islington film Studio in the early 1920s.

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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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