Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Style was a great thing

Diana Vreeland's description of Josephine Baker's exit from a theatre where she had been in the audience with her pet cheetah Chiquita:
"She was alone with the cheetah on a lead. She was so beautifully dressed. She was wearing a marvelous little short black skirt and a little Vionnet shirt – no sleeves, no back, no front, just crossed bars on the bias. Don’t forget how hot it was, and of couse the great thing was to get out of this theatre we were in. The cheetah, naturally, took the lead, and Josephine, with those long black legs, was dragged down three flights of stairs as fast as she could go, and that was fast.

Out in the street there was an enormous white-and-silver Rolls-Royce waiting for her. The driven opened the door; she let go of the lead; the cheetah whooped, took one leap into the back of the Rolls, with Josephine right behind; the door closed… and they were off!

Ah! What a gesture! I’ve never seen anything like it. It was speed at its best, and style. Style was a great thing in those days.”
Josephine Baker (3rd June 1906 – 12th April 1975)

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