Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Pretty Things By Liz Goldwyn: Book Review

 My lovely friend Lilly Von Pink gave me a fabulous book for Christmas. Many of you may already be familiar with "Pretty Things" by Liz Goldwyn but if you aren't and love burlesque and vintage glamour this book is definitely for you.

Liz Goldwyn's fascination with burlesque performers from the 30's, 40's and 50's began when she was searching for second hand clothes or "pretty things". 

As she collected an impressive array of burlesque costumes and paraphernalia she became intrigued with the history of each items. Believing that the costumes each had a story attached she endeavoured to discover more about the world of these mostly forgotten Burlesque performers.

This led to her tracking down retired performers and this book follows ten years of her finding out more, meeting the retired burlesque artistes and hearing their often rather tragic stories.
As well as covering costumes, gimmicks, backstage and design this beautiful book also has chapters on performers like Betty Rowland "The ball of fire",Lois de Fee "The Amazon of Burlesque" and Zorita "The lady and her snakes" its fascinating to see the publicity they generated, the venues they played in and the air of glamour and unrespectability they exuded all at the same time.

The photographs in this book, particularly the candid behind the scenes reportage are just brilliant and Goldwyn went on to make an accompanying Documentary for HBO.

Full of design notes, newspaper cuttings and just fabulous image after fabulous image it is the momma of coffee table books to anyone who loves classic burlesque and the slightly faded glamour of the women who performed it.
Photos courtesy of Liz Goldwyn.

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