Inspired by Gypsy Rose Lee

January 05, 2015

Not long ago when I was doing a bit of research on Burlesque, I stumbled upon a photo of one of the greatest burlesque performers the world ever had. And I am not talking about Dita von Teese, but, as the title reveals already, Gypsy Rose Lee. I became hugely interested in her life, which was quite a tragedy and a tough one. I read a couple of books written about her and she started to intrigue me only more.

The photo that inspired me.

Gypsy became a woman whom I admire greatly for her inventiveness, her originality and creativity; she combined striptease with intelligence and humor. She separated herself from other Burlesque performers and it made her stand out. She was also a very beautiful woman at that - even at a more mature age. She also wrote a couple of books and someday I hope to find me an original,vintage copy to read.

As said, whilst browsing through some photos of Gypsy, one photo in particular stood out to me (the one pictures above); beautifully lit and very eye pleasing; I felt the need to recreate it, and translate it in my own way. Not copying, but having my own rendition of it.

I was a bit shy to do this series, because the picture is pretty risqué for my doing, but if Gypsy could make the photo in the 1930s, I certainly could aswell anno 2014 (the photo was made in that year). As you can see it's not exactly the same, and I used a mantilla instead of a hat with veil.

I was looking for a mantilla for quite some time already; black ones are becoming a bit scarce, especially in the Netherlands since it's not something that we wear. But when I was at Europe's largest vintage event a couple of months ago, I luckily found one. It appears to be antique, atleast that's what the seller said. It's a beautiful one and I think it'll be used as a prop in photoshoots again. I love it, it has something romantic, don't you think?

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  1. Wow, an amazing photo shoot. I love the first photo, your eyes look so beautiful in it and the lace forms a wonderful frame around your face.
    A talking about Dita von Teese, considering her role in the rise of neo-burlesque it isn't surprising that she owns a great deal of Gypsy Rose Lee's costumes and admires her very much.

    1. Thank you so much! And yes, Dita owns a lot of Gypsy's costumes indeed, I recently saw another piece she got, which she shared on Instagram. I was green with envy ;-)

  2. My word..
    Without any intention on being mean, or anything other than giving a compliment: there's nothing for you to be shy about. Your inspiration was amazing, and your interpretation is astonishing.
    If I was an art critic, I'd give this a thumb up! :)


    1. Thank you so much, I'm blushing right now and I think my head is gonna explode.

  3. Vavoom! Seriously stunning.. x

  4. great photos! you look adorable.
    i had just heard her name - but i never read anything about her life. sounds pretty interesting! thanks for sharing.

  5. Nice everything...we'll give you a plug in an upcoming blog post for our site


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