Monday, Apr. 02, 2012

Josephine Baker

A mainstay of the 1920s Paris expat scene, St. Louis–born Baker embodied the Art Deco movement that bloomed around her: elegant, elaborate and exotic. With her pet cheetah Chiquita, her dramatic profile and her proclivity for nude portraiture, it's no wonder she was among the most admired — and best paid — entertainers in Europe. Though she became famous for her dancing, she was infamous for what she wore while dancing: nothing but a skirt made of (artificial, by some accounts) bananas, oversize gold baubles and quirky caps. With her pencil-thin brows, slicked-back hair and dark lip color, Baker epitomized and defined the beauty aesthetic of that period.