Acrobats in the 19th century.
Circus Portraits, 1931
“Tattoo Adornments/ Photograph by Richard H. Stewart
Unlike the Polynesians, who developed to a high degree this form of indelible decoration, the circus tattooed lady has left her face, neck, and hand unmarked. Her skin pictures were produced by electrical process.” (see complete series at National Geographic.com)
Fall 2015 Prêt-à-Porter: SideShow
A sideshow is an extra, secondary production associated with a circus. We, at Mimi Berlin, are big fans of these acts. In fact we tributed a complete series of Statuettes to the genre, which was very popular in the beginning of the 19th century. Acts such as for instance the Sutherland Sisters and the Hilton Sisters didn’t necessarily have a world shocking skill, no, their main asset was the out-of-the-ordinary appearance they were born with. People just liked looking at them for entertainment. Maybe the same goes for fashion shows nowadays.
The Givenchy Fall/Winter 2015 show was obviously inspired by the sideshow and it’s stars; the setting had the poor man’s atmosphere; with all different ‘shabby” wooden stools and chairs, with colorful plateau’s for the models to take a moment in the spotlight, just like in the circus. Not so shabby were the clothes; beautifully embellished styles were inspired by the circus in the twenties as well; velvet, bias cut, stripes, corsets, ruffles and marabou feathered capes, you name it. A total abundance of real glamour. But Make-up and hair were the most obvious “vaudeville/sideshow/circus” styling devices; Lots of fabulous piercings, which also created optical moustaches and tears. More than one set of earrings in one ear, hair in slick twenties style also with a “moustache” fringe. to cut it short; over the top top top!
Also the collection by the house of Alexander McQueen was inspired by the sideshow stars. Less glamorous were the Ladies with updo’s and painted lips. Like the original sideshow acts, they were made to look a bit rundown, twenties vaudeville style, but wearing stunningly “frumpled” lace dresses…
At Maison Margiela, designed by John Galliano, the models (not all but some, like we picked out from the style.com runway looks) actually were the sideshow, we like the fact that Mr Galliano shows us that a sideshow still exists. (all images via style.com)