Tagged: , Larissa Hofmann , MFW Fall/Winter 2014/2015 , Milan , Lombardy , Italy , IT
Marilyn look-alike model contest during "Marilyn Is Dead" event at Pepelo NYC Lounge. Kayvon Zand, Delysia La Chatte and Anna Evans were behind this evening of "dark Hollywood glamour," with show featuring (dead) star turns from Trixie Little, Madame Rosebud, Velocity Chyaaldd, Markko Donto, Mss Vee, Bettina May, and Evans and La Chatte themselves. For all you sex kittens out there, the night also included a Marilyn look-alike contest. Johanna Constantine served as the night’s alluring DJ.
More of my work dedicated to the subject:
Facebook Page: ALT LIFE NYC
In contemporary usage, burlesque is a playfully nostalgic form of striptease — think fans and feather boas rather than explicit nudity — but this is just the latest form of an ironic style of entertainment dating back to medieval times.
Burlesque comes from burla, Spanish for "joke." Comedy has always been an essential part of burlesque art, but it’s comedy of a particular kind. Burlesque is satirical, and it uses exaggeration that can be extreme. Early examples of burlesque in English literature can be found in the Canterbury Tales. By the eighteenth century, the word was used to describe often risque parodies of serious operas or plays. Burlesque became associated with striptease in the music halls and vaudeville theaters of nineteenth-century America.
Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. The word derives from the Italian burlesco, which, in turn, is derived from the Italian burla – a joke, ridicule or mockery.
Burlesque overlaps in meaning with caricature, parody and travesty, and, in its theatrical sense, with extravaganza, as presented during the Victorian era. "Burlesque" has been used in English in this literary and theatrical sense since the late 17th century. It has been applied retrospectively to works of Chaucer and Shakespeare and to the Graeco-Roman classics. Contrasting examples of literary burlesque are Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock and Samuel Butler’s Hudibras. An example of musical burlesque is Richard Strauss’s 1890 Burleske for piano and orchestra. Examples of theatrical burlesques include W. S. Gilbert’s Robert the Devil and the A. C. Torr – Meyer Lutz shows, including Ruy Blas and the Blasé Roué.
A later use of the term, particularly in the United States, refers to performances in a variety show format. These were popular from the 1860’s to the 1940’s, often in cabarets and clubs, as well as theaters, and featured bawdy comedy and female striptease. Some Hollywood films attempted to recreate the spirit of these performances from the 1930’s to the 1960’s, or included burlesque-style scenes within dramatic films, such as 1972’s "Cabaret" and 1979’s "All That Jazz", among others. There has been a resurgence of interest in this format since the 1990’s.
Literary origins and development
The word first appears in a title in Francesco Berni’s Opere burlesche of the early 16th century, works that had circulated widely in manuscript before they were printed. For a time, burlesque verses were known as poesie bernesca in his honour. ‘Burlesque’ as a literary term became widespread in 17th century Italy and France, and subsequently England, where it referred to a grotesque imitation of the dignified or pathetic. Shakespeare’s Pyramus and Thisbe scene in Midsummer Night’s Dream and the general mocking of romance in Beaumont and Fletcher’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle were early examples of such imitation.
In 17th century Spain, playwright and poet Miguel de Cervantes ridiculed medieval romance in his many satirical works. Among Cervantes’ works are Exemplary Novels and the Eight Comedies and Eight New Interludes published in 1615. The term burlesque has been applied retrospectively to works of Chaucer and Shakespeare and to the Graeco-Roman classics.
Burlesque was intentionally ridiculous in that it imitated several styles and combined imitations of certain authors and artists with absurd descriptions. In this, the term was often used interchangeably with "pastiche", "parody", and the 17th and 18th century genre of the "mock-heroic". Burlesque depended on the reader’s (or listener’s) knowledge of the subject to make its intended effect, and a high degree of literacy was taken for granted.
17th and 18th century burlesque was divided into two types: High burlesque refers to a burlesque imitation where a literary, elevated manner was applied to a commonplace or comically inappropriate subject matter as, for example, in the literary parody and the mock-heroic. One of the most commonly cited examples of high burlesque is Alexander Pope’s "sly, knowing and courtly" The Rape of the Lock. Low burlesque applied an irreverent, mocking style to a serious subject; an example is Samuel Butler’s poem Hudibras, which described the misadventures of a Puritan knight in satiric doggerel verse, using a colloquial idiom. Butler’s addition to his comic poem of an ethical subtext made his caricatures into satire.
In more recent times, burlesque true to its literary origins is still performed in revues and sketches. Tom Stoppard’s 1974 play Travesties is an example of a full-length play drawing on the burlesque tradition.
Burlesque in music
Beginning in the early 18th century, the term burlesque was used throughout Europe to describe musical works in which serious and comic elements were juxtaposed or combined to achieve a grotesque effect. As derived from literature and theatre, "burlesque" was used, and is still used, in music to indicate a bright or high-spirited mood, sometimes in contrast to seriousness.
In this sense of farce and exaggeration rather than parody, it appears frequently on the German-language stage between the middle of the 19th century and the 1920’s. Burlesque operettas were written by
– Johann Strauss II (Die lustigen Weiber von Wien, 1868),
– Ziehrer (Mahomed’s Paradies,1866; Das Orakel zu Delfi, 1872; Cleopatra, oder Durch drei Jahrtausende, 1875; In fünfzig Jahren, 1911) and
– Bruno Granichstaedten (Casimirs Himmelfahrt, 1911).
French references to burlesque are less common than German, though
– Grétry composed for a "drame burlesque" (Matroco, 1777).
– Stravinsky called his 1916 one-act chamber opera-ballet Renard (The Fox) a "Histoire burlesque chantée et jouée" (burlesque tale sung and played).
– A later example is the 1927 burlesque operetta by Ernst Krenek entitled Schwergewicht (Heavyweight) (1927).
Some orchestral and chamber works have also been designated as burlesques, of which two early examples are the Ouverture-Suite Burlesque de Quixotte, TWV 55, by Telemann and the Sinfonia Burlesca by Leopold Mozart (1760). Another often-performed piece is Richard Strauss’s 1890 Burleske for piano and orchestra.
Other examples include the following:
– 1901: Six Burlesques, Op. 58 for piano four hands by Max Reger
– 1904: Scherzo Burlesque, Op. 2 for piano and orchestra by Béla Bartók
– 1911: Three Burlesques, Op. 8c for piano by Bartók
– 1920: Burlesque for Piano, by Arnold Bax
– 1931: Ronde burlesque, Op. 78 for orchestra by Florent Schmitt
– 1932: Fantaisie burlesque, for piano by Olivier Messiaen
– 1956: Burlesque for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 13g by Bertold Hummel
– 1982: Burlesque for Wind Quintet, Op. 76b by Hummel
Burlesque can be used to describe particular movements of instrumental musical compositions, often involving dance rhythms. Examples are the Burlesca, in Partita No. 3 for keyboard (BWV 827) by Bach, the "Rondo-Burleske" third movement of Symphony No. 9 by Mahler, and the "Burlesque" fourth movement of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1.
The use of burlesque has not been confined to classical music. Well known ragtime travesties include The Russian Rag, by George L. Cobb, which is based on Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-sharp minor, and Harry Alford’s Lucy’s Sextette based on the sextet, ‘Chi mi frena in tal momento?’, from Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti.
VICTORIAN THEATRICAL BURLESQUE
Victorian burlesque, sometimes known as travesty or extravaganza, is a genre of theatrical entertainment that was popular in Victorian England and in the New York theater of the mid 19th century. It is a form of parody in which a well-known opera or piece of classical theater or ballet is adapted into a broad comic play, usually a musical play, usually risque in style, mocking the theatrical and musical conventions and styles of the original work, and often quoting or pastiching text or music from the original work. Victorian burlesque is one of several forms of burlesque.
Like ballad opera, burlesques featured musical scores drawing on a wide range of music, from popular contemporary songs to operatic arias, although later burlesques, from the 1880’s, sometimes featured original scores. Dance played an important part, and great attention was paid to the staging, costumes and other spectacular elements of stagecraft, as many of the pieces were staged as extravaganzas. Many of the male roles were played by actresses as breeches roles, purposely to show off their physical charms, and some of the older female roles were taken by male actors.
Originally short, one-act pieces, burlesques were later full-length shows, occupying most or all of an evening’s program. Authors who wrote burlesques included J. R. Planché, H. J. Byron, G. R. Sims, F. C. Burnand, W. S. Gilbert and Fred Leslie.
History of Victorian theatrical burlesque
Burlesque theater became popular around the beginning of the Victorian era. The word "burlesque" is derived from the Italian burla, which means "ridicule or mockery". According to the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Victorian burlesque was "related to and in part derived from pantomime and may be considered an extension of the introductory section of pantomime with the addition of gags and ‘turns’." Another antecedent was ballad opera, in which new words were fitted to existing tunes.
Madame Vestris produced burlesques at the Olympic Theater beginning in 1831 with Olympic Revels by J. R. Planché. In these pieces, comedy stemmed from the incongruity and absurdity of the grand classical subjects, with realistic historical dress and settings, being juxtaposed with the everyday modern activities portrayed by the actors. For example, Olympic Revels opens with the gods of Olympus in classical Greek dress playing whist. In the early burlesques, the words of the songs were written to popular music, as had been done earlier in The Beggar’s Opera. Later in the Victorian era, burlesque mixed operetta, music hall and revue, and some of the large-scale burlesque spectacles were known as extravaganzas. The English style of burlesque was successfully launched in New York in the 1840’s by the manager and comedian William Mitchell, who had opened his Olympic Theater in December 1839. Like the London prototypes, his burlesques included characters with nonsensical names such as Wunsuponatyme and The King of Neverminditsnamia, and made fun of all kinds of music currently being presented in the city.
Unlike pantomime, which aimed at all ages and classes, burlesque was aimed at a narrower, highly literate audience; some writers, such as the Brough brothers, aimed at a conservative middle class audience, and H. J. Byron’s success was attributed to his skill in appealing to the lower middle classes. Some of the most frequent subjects for burlesque were the plays of Shakespeare and grand opera. From the 1850’s onward, burlesquing of Italian, French and, later in the century, German opera was popular with London audiences. Verdi’s "Il trovatore" and "La traviata" received their British premieres in 1855 and 1856 respectively; British burlesques of them followed quickly. "Our Lady of the Cameleon" by Leicester Silk Buckingham and "Our Traviata" by William F. Vandervell (both 1857) were followed by five different burlesque treatments of "Il trovatore", two of them by H. J. Byron: "Ill Treated Trovatore", or the Mother the Maiden and the Musicianer" (1863) and "Il Trovatore or Larks with a Libretto" (1880). The operas of Bellini, Bizet, Donizetti, Gounod, Handel, Meyerbeer, Mozart, Rossini, Wagner and Weber were burlesqued.
In a 2003 study of the subject, Roberta Montemorra Marvin noted:
"…By the 1880s, almost every truly popular opera had become the subject of a burlesque. Generally appearing after an opera’s premiere or following a successful revival, they usually enjoyed local production runs, often for a month or longer. The popularity of stage burlesque in general and operatic burlesque in particular seems to have stemmed from the many ways in which it entertained a diverse group, and the manner in which it fed and fed on the circus-like or carnivalesque atmosphere of public Victorian London…"
W. S. Gilbert wrote five opera burlesques early in his career, beginning with "Dulcamara, or the Little Duck and the Great Quack" (1866), the most successful of which was "Robert the Devil" (1868). In the 1870’s, Lydia Thompson’s burlesque troupe, with Willie Edouin, became famous for their burlesques, by such authors as H. B. Farnie and Robert Reece, both in Britain and the U.S.
The Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells notes that although parodies of Shakespeare had appeared even in Shakespeare’s lifetime, the heyday of Shakespearean burlesque was the Victorian era. Wells observes that the typical Victorian Shakespeare burlesque "takes a Shakespeare play as its point of departure and creates from it a mainly comic entertainment, often in ways that bear no relation to the original play." Wells gives, as an example of the puns in the texts, the following: Macbeth and Banquo make their first entrance under an umbrella. The witches greet them with "Hail! hail! hail!": Macbeth asks Banquo, "What mean these salutations, noble thane?" and is told "These showers of ‘Hail’ anticipate your ‘reign’". Musically, Shakespearean burlesques were as varied as the others of the genre. An 1859 burlesque of Romeo and Juliet contained 23 musical numbers, some from opera, such as the serenade from Don Pasquale, and some from traditional airs and popular songs of the day including "Buffalo Gals", and "Nix my Dolly".
According to Grove, although "an almost indispensable element of burlesque was the display of attractive women dressed in tights, often in travesty roles … the plays themselves did not normally tend to indecency." Some contemporary critics took a sterner view; in an 1885 article, the critic Thomas Heyward praised Planché ("fanciful and elegant") and Gilbert ("witty, never vulgar"), but wrote of the genre as a whole, "the flashy, ‘leggy’, burlesque, with its ‘slangy’ songs, loutish ‘breakdowns’, vulgar jests, paltry puns and witless grimacing at all that is graceful and poetic is simply odious. … Burlesque, insensate, spiritless and undiscriminating, demoralizes both the audience and the players. It debases the public taste." Gilbert expressed his own views on the worth of burlesque:
The question whether burlesque has a claim to rank as art is, I think, one of degree. Bad burlesque is as far removed from true art as is a bad picture. But burlesque in its higher development calls for high intellectual power on the part of its professors. Aristophanes, Rabelais, Geo Cruikshank, the authors of the Rejected Addresses, John Leech, Planché were all in their respective lines professors of true burlesque.
Gender reversal and female sexuality
Actresses in burlesque would often play breeches roles, which were male roles played by women; likewise, men eventually began to play older female roles. These reversals allowed viewers to distance themselves from the morality of the play, focusing more on joy and entertainment than catharsis, a definitive shift away from neoclassical ideas.
The depiction of female sexuality in Victorian burlesque was an example of the connection between women as performers and women as sexual objects in Victorian culture. Throughout the history of theater the participation of women on stage has been questioned. Victorian culture viewed paid female performance as being closely associated with prostitution, “a profession in which most women in the theater dabbled, if not took on as a primary source of income.”
Burlesque became the specialty of London’s Royal Strand Theater and Gaiety Theater from the 1860’s to the early 1890’s. In the 1860’s and 1870’s, burlesques were often one-act pieces running less than an hour and using pastiches and parodies of popular songs, opera arias and other music that the audience would readily recognize. Nellie Farren starred as the Gaiety Theater’s "principal boy" from 1868, and John D’Auban choreographed the burlesques there from 1868 to 1891. Edward O’Connor Terry joined the theater in 1876.
Early Gaiety burlesques included Robert the Devil (1868, by Gilbert), The Bohemian G-yurl and the Unapproachable Pole (1877), Blue Beard (1882), Ariel (1883, by F. C. Burnand) and Galatea, or Pygmalion Reversed (1883).
Beginning in the 1880’s, when comedian-writer Fred Leslie joined the Gaiety, composers like Meyer Lutz and Osmond Carr contributed original music to the burlesques, which were extended to a full-length two- or three-act format. These later Gaiety burlesques starred Farren and Leslie. They often included Leslie’s libretti, written under his pseudonym, "A. C. Torr", and were usually given an original score by Lutz: Little Jack Sheppard (1885), Monte Cristo, Jr. (1886), Pretty Esmeralda (1887), Frankenstein, or The Vampire’s Victim (1887), Mazeppa and Faust up to Date (1888). Ruy Blas and the Blasé Roué (1889) made fun of the play Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo. The title was a pun, and the worse the pun, the more Victorian audiences were amused. The last Gaiety burlesques were Carmen up to Data (1890), Cinder Ellen up too Late (1891), and Don Juan (1892, with lyrics by Adrian Ross).
In the early 1890’s, Farren retired, Leslie died, and musical burlesque went out of fashion in London, as the focus of the Gaiety and other burlesque theaters changed to the new genre of Edwardian musical comedy. In 1896, Seymour Hicks declared that burlesque "is dead as a doornail and will never be revived." From her retirement, Nellie Farren endorsed this judgment.
American burlesque is a genre of variety show. Derived from elements of Victorian burlesque, music hall and minstrel shows, burlesque shows in America became popular in the 1860’s and evolved to feature ribald comedy (lewd jokes) and female striptease. By the early 20th century, burlesque in America was presented as a populist blend of satire, performance art, music hall, and adult entertainment, featuring striptease and broad comedy acts.
The entertainment was presented often in cabarets and clubs, as well as music halls and theaters. Performers, usually female, often created elaborate tableaux with lush, colorful costumes, mood-appropriate music, and dramatic lighting; novelty acts, such as fire breathing or contortionists, might be added to enhance the impact of their performance. The genre traditionally encompassed a variety of acts: in addition to the striptease artistes, there was some combination of chanson singers, comedians, mime artists, and dancing girls, all delivered in a satiric style with a saucy[peacock term] edge. The striptease element of burlesque became subject to extensive local legislation, leading to a theatrical form that titillated without falling foul of censors.
Burlesque gradually lost popularity beginning in the 1940’s. A number of producers sought to capitalize on nostalgia for the entertainment by attempting to recreate the spirit of burlesque in Hollywood films from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. There has been a resurgence of interest in this format since the 1990’s, and it inspired a 2010 musical film, "Burlesque", starring Christina Aguilera and Cher.
There were three main influences on American burlesque in its early years: Victorian burlesque, "leg shows" and minstrel shows. British-style burlesques had been successfully presented in New York as early as the 1840’s. They achieved wide popularity with productions by Lydia Thompson and her troupe, the British Blondes, who first appeared in the United States in 1868. "Leg" shows, such as the musical extravaganza The Black Crook (1866), became popular around the same time. The influence of the minstrel show soon followed; one of the first American burlesque troupes was the Rentz-Santley Novelty and Burlesque Company, created in 1870 by Michael B. Leavitt, who had earlier feminized the minstrel show with his group Madame Rentz’s Female Minstrels. American burlesque rapidly adopted the minstrel show’s tripartite structure: part one was composed of songs and dances rendered by a female company, interspersed with low comedy from male comedians. Part two featured various short specialties and olios in which the women did not appear. The show’s finish was a grand finale. Sometimes the entertainment was followed by a boxing or wrestling match.
Originally, burlesque performances included comic sketches lampooning the upper classes and high art, such as opera, Shakespearean drama, and classical ballet. The genre developed alongside vaudeville and ran on competing circuits. Possibly due to historical social tensions between the upper classes and lower classes of society, much of the humor and entertainment of later American burlesque focused on lowbrow and ribald subjects.
By the 1880’s, the four distinguishing characteristics of American burlesque had evolved:
– Minimal costuming, often focusing on the female form.
– Sexually suggestive dialogue, dance, plot-lines and staging.
– Quick-witted humor laced with puns, but lacking complexity.
– Short routines or sketches with minimal plot cohesion across a show.
The artist and writer Jerome Myers gave a view of burlesque as observed in the working-class neighborhoods of New York in the early years of the 1900’s:
"…I have been impressed by the sincerity of the audience. On the runway extending out over the orchestra, the girls would gesture back and forth. It was not always of beauty; yet never that I can remember did these onlooking men, by word or gesture, annoy or belittle the performers. Pitifully inadequate the girls often were for their parts; yet they were working girls, catering to an audience of men who also worked for a living.
Among these imitation actresses, I have seen at times real jewels, featured girls who exercised all their youth and talent, working an enchantment within their narrow limits. There was one young girl who did the so-called strip-tease act. Playfully casting away her garments, she disclosed the full glory of her beautiful figure, her movements unsurpassed in a harmony of action. Had that inspired girl had the benefit of a French or German background of publicity, she would have revealed her art to a top-hat audience. Susceptible artists would have filled their sketch-books, photographers would have vied with one another, books of laudation would have appeared, and a world celebrity would have danced onto the newspaper pages. Yet this audience of ordinary people, in this ordinary burlesque theater, applauded her in their simple way, and for years kept on applauding her as a featured artist, her name up in electric lights…"
Charlie Chaplin (who starred in the 1915 film "Burlesque on Carmen") noted in 1910: "Chicago … had a fierce pioneer gaiety that enlivened the senses, yet underlying it throbbed masculine loneliness. Counteracting this somatic ailment was a national distraction known as the burlesque show, consisting of a coterie of rough-and-tumble comedians supported by twenty or more chorus girls. Some were pretty, others shopworn. Some of the comedians were funny, most of the shows were smutty harem comedies – coarse and cynical affairs".
By the early 20th century, there were two national circuits of burlesque shows, as well as resident companies in New York, such as Minsky’s at the Winter Garden. The uninhibited atmosphere of burlesque establishments owed much to the free flow of alcoholic liquor, and the enforcement of Prohibition was a serious blow. The popular burlesque show of this period eventually evolved into the striptease which became the dominant ingredient of burlesque by the 1930’s. At first soubrettes showed off their figures while singing and dancing; some were less active but compensated by appearing in elaborate stage costumes. Exotic "cooch" dances (similar to bellydancing) were brought in, ostensibly Syrian in origin. Strippers gradually supplanted the singing and dancing soubrettes; by 1932 there were at least 150 strip principals in the US. The transition from traditional burlesque to striptease is depicted in the film "The Night They Raided Minsky’s" (1968).
By the late 1930’s, a social crackdown on burlesque shows began their gradual downfall. The shows had slowly changed from ensemble ribald variety performances, to simple performances focusing mostly on the striptease. In New York, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia clamped down on burlesque, effectively putting it out of business by the early 1940’s. Burlesque lingered on elsewhere in the U.S., increasingly neglected, and by the 1970’s, with nudity commonplace in theaters, American burlesque reached "its final shabby demise".
Burlesque shows on film
During its declining years and afterwards, films sought to capture the spirit of American burlesque. For example, in "I’m No Angel" (1933), Mae West performed a burlesque act. The 1943 film "Lady of Burlesque", although a murder-mystery, spends much of its running time depicting the back-stage life of burlesque performers.
The first motion-picture adaptation of an actual burlesque show was "Hollywood Revels" (1946). Much of the action was filmed in medium or long shots, because the production was staged in a theater and the camera photographed the stage from a distance. In 1947, film producer W. Merle Connell reinvented the filmed burlesque show by restaging the action especially for films, in a studio, where he could control the camerawork, lighting and sound, providing close-ups and other studio photographic and editorial techniques. His 1951 production "French Follies" recreates a classic American burlesque presentation, with stage curtains, singing emcee, dances by showgirls and strippers, comic sketches and a finale featuring the star performer. The highlight is the famous burlesque routine "Crazy House", popularized earlier by Abbott and Costello. Another familiar sketch, "Slowly I Turned" (later famous as a Three Stooges routine), was filmed for Connell’s 1953 feature "A Night in Hollywood".
Other producers entered the field, using color photography and even location work. "Naughty New Orleans" (1954) is an example of burlesque entertainment on film, equally showcasing girls and gags, although it shifts the venue from a burlesque-house stage to a popular nightclub. Photographer Irving Klaw filmed a very profitable series of burlesque features, usually featuring star pin-up girl Bettie Page and various lowbrow comedians (including future TV star Joe E. Ross). Page’s most famous features are "Striporama" (1953), "Varietease" (1954) and "Teaserama" (1955). These films, as their titles imply, were only teasing the viewer: the girls wore revealing costumes, but there was never any nudity. In the late 1950’s, however, provocative films emerged, sometimes using a "nudist colony" format, and the relatively tame burlesque-show film died out.
As early as 1954, burlesque was already considered a bygone form of entertainment; burlesque veteran Phil Silvers laments the passing of burlesque in the musical "Top Banana". "The Night They Raided Minsky’s" (1968) celebrates classic American burlesque.
Neo-Burlesque, or New Burlesque, is the revival and updating of the traditional American burlesque performance. Though based on the traditional Burlesque art, the new form encompasses a wider range of performance styles; neo-burlesque acts can range from anything from classic striptease to modern dance to theatrical mini-dramas to comedic mayhem.
A new generation nostalgic for the spectacle and glamour of the old times has been determined to bring burlesque back. The first neo-burlesque show in NYC was the "Blue Angel Cabaret", 1994. "Le Scandal Cabaret", founded in 2001, is an offshoot of the Blue Angel, and is still currently running in NYC, 2014. This revival was pioneered independently in the mid 1990’s by Billie Madley (e.g., "Cinema", Tony Marando’s "Dutch Weismanns’ Follies" revue) in New York and Michelle Carr’s "The Velvet Hammer Burlesque" troupe in Los Angeles. In addition, and throughout the country, many individual performers were incorporating aspects of burlesque in their acts. These productions, inspired by Sally Rand, Tempest Storm, Gypsy Rose Lee, Dixie Evans and Lili St. Cyr among others have themselves gone on to inspire a new generation of performers.
Modern burlesque has taken on many forms, but it has the common trait of honoring one or more of burlesque’s previous incarnations. The acts tend to put emphasis on style and are sexy rather than sexual. A typical modern burlesque act usually includes striptease, expensive or garish costumes, and bawdy humor, and may incorporate elements of cabaret, circus skills, aerial silk, and more; sensuality, performance, and humor are kept in balance. Unlike professional strippers, burlesque performers often perform for fun and spend more money on costumes, rehearsal, and props than they are compensated. Although performers may still strip down to pasties and g-string or merkin, the purpose is no longer solely sexual gratification for men but self-expression of the performer and, vicariously, the women in the audience; the DIY aspect is prominent, and furthermore the striptease may be used to challenge sexual objectification, orientation, and other social taboos. The revival, however, has been known to run afoul of liquor licensing and obscenity laws, thus raising free speech (as symbolic speech) issues that have led to litigation.
There are modern burlesque performers, shows and festivals in many countries throughout the world such as David Jahn’s Prague Burlesque, as well as annual conventions such as the Miss Exotic World Pageant. Today’s burlesque revival has found homes throughout the United States (with the largest communities located on its East and West Coasts) and in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany and Japan.
Neo-burlesque shows that feature male-body roles have been dubbed as boylesque. The introduction of boylesque elements can be seen as a key difference between neo-burlesque and earlier, exclusively female-body forms of burlesque, which sometimes incorporated drag-queen roles (i.e. male impersonators of female bodies) but did not directly represent masculinity.
– Burlesque Hall of Fame
(formerly the Exotic World Burlesque Museum), which hosts the annual Miss Exotic World Pageant.
It is the burlesque museum located on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. Formerly known as Exotic World, the museum historically was located on the site of an abandoned goat farm in Helendale, California.
– Coney Island USA
It is not-for-profit arts organization founded in 1980 that is dedicated to the cultural and economic revitalization of the Coney Island neighborhood of the Borough of Brooklyn in New York City. Its landmark building in the heart Coney Island’s amusement district houses a theater in which the organization presents "Sideshows by the Seashore", a showcase for performers with unusual talents that runs continuously during the warmer months, as well as the Coney Island Museum. It is also notable as the organizer of the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade, the first of which took place in 1983.
Tagged: , MarilynIsDead KayvonZand AnnaEvans ALTLIFENYC PEPELO-NYC-LOUNGE
KAOHS – presenting SS17 collection during Swim Week in South Beach Miami at W Hotel 7/2016
You can see the entire runway album here:
KAOHS – MIAMI SWIM WEEK 7/2016
On Friday, July 15th, 2016, hundreds of guests including top media, influencers and buyers, attended the WET Lounge, at the W South Beach, to experience a amazing runway show. Kaohs Swim debuted its Resort 2016 and Spring 2017 collections at the W South Beach in Miami, which included 22 new bikinis and three returning favorites: Hampton Salty bikini, Rie bikini and Gypsy bikini — famously worn by Kim Kardashian.
Kaohs Swim’s new collections featured touches of stretch denim contrasted with white nylon/spandex swim fabric, as well as simple, structured bikinis inspired by the 90’s embellished with silver rings, criss-crossing straps, sea shells, and one-shoulder tops. In addition to the three returning bikinis, the new collection included 16 new tops, two never-seen-before one-pieces, and 15 new bottoms. Many of the swimsuits were comprised of solid one-tone or color blocks of black, white, blush, peach, and denim sewn in high-quality swim fabrics made to withstand years of use. Seven new colors are offered in the 2016 collections, including an earthy-red hue (Mars), a muted purple (Purple Haze), a dark-bright-tropical blue (Fiji), a shiny metallic olive green (Gimlet), and copper (Penny).
The KAOHS 2017 collection show was easily one of the best shows at SwimMiami. The California-based brand’s vibe backstage was true to LA, with great energy brought by DJ Sam Blacky. KAOHS has gained some major heat, among influencers like Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid, Rocky Barnes, Alexis Ren, Pia Mia, Natasha Oakley, and more ringing in the summer with these seriously sexy looks.
KAOHS Swim was born in 2013 when two best friends, Tess Hamilton and Ali Hoffmann came together to curate a line of swimwear inspired by sKAte, bOHo and Surf = KAOHS. They were zealous to launch a label that offered edge and functionality, all while showing a free spirited aesthetic. Their designs are for beach girls whose lifestyles demand comfortable and active (and sexy) beachwear. With swimsuits in a variety of cuts – from Brazilian to hipster and low to high – KAOHS Swim makes a swimsuit to flatter – and become the ultimate confidence booster for – every beach-going figure. Focusing on two-piece bikinis with a nod to one-piece swimsuits, KAOHS Swim’s collections feature edgy, feminine cuts, and a playful, modern, and earthy palette of colors. The high quality fabrics and seamless cuts were designed to compliment every shape of every woman. They really wanted KAOHS Swim to be the most perfect confidence boost when hitting the beach- or anywhere that calls for a good tan line!
The swimwear is designed in Orange County, California and made in Los Angeles, California
PR Agency: CECE FEINBERG PUBLIC RELATIONS
ABOUT MIAMI SWIM WEEK
Even without longtime organizer IMG, Swim Week in 2016 has delivered a bounty of barely-there swimsuit collection for Spring/Summer 2017.
After IMG announced in May 2015 that it would be pulling out of what was formerly called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, following the loss of its title sponsor, those involved had a lot of scrambling to do. Without a strong sponsor or an experienced organizer, could Swim Week even continue in all its stringy, deeply spray-tanned glory? True to the old adage, the show did go on thanks to the (somewhat) cohesive efforts of the affected brands, production companies and publicists.
A week spread between the sweaty Miami heat of three separate trade shows – Swim Show, Cabana and Hammock – of various personalities, with relevant brands occupying space in the show that suit their vibe. All of these shows are situated within walking distance of each other. Brands also have parties or fashion shows throughout the four days at nearby hotels and pools, making Miami Swim Week super busy and a whole lotta fun.
There is a lot to take in with over 25 external runway shows after 5pm, parties and the three simultaneous trade shows, but it’s plenty pleasing on the eye. There’s hot, Miami energy and it’s awesome to be seeing a preview of swim collections from the hottest brands for 2017.
MIAMI SWIM SHOW:
The world’s biggest swim show which occupies the convention center with hundreds of brands from across the globe. Brands featured that we liked included Seafolly, Billabong, NLP Women, Kopper & Zinc, and Rhythm amongst hundreds of others.
This is the boutique show where the brands showcase in two big, cabana-style tents near the beach with coconuts issued to buyers, media and guests on entry. A few of our faves included Beach Riot, Minimale Animale, Tori Praver Swim, Mara Hoffman, Bec and Bridge, Boys and Arrows and Bower Swim.
Situated in the W Hotel, with the coolest brands of today occupying the luxury suites to showcase their latest collection with their marketing teams and a bevy of hot models. Leading Instagram swim brands seemed to be the big brands in this year’s Hammock W show including Mikoh, Indah and Frankies Swim.
HISTORY OF THE BIKINI
Time magazine list of top 10 bikinis in popular culture
-Micheline Bernardini models the first-Ever Bikini (1946)
-"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (1960)
-Annette Funicello and Beach Party (1960’s)
-The belted Bond-girl bikini (1962)
-Sports Illustrated’s first Swimsuit Issue (1964)
-Raquel Welch’s fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. (1966)
-Phoebe Cates’ Bikini in Fast Times at Ridgemont High
-Princess Leia’s golden bikini in Return of the Jedi (1983)
-Official uniform of the female Olympic Beach Volleyball team (1996)
-Miss America pageant’s bikini debut (1997)
The history of the bikini can be traced back to antiquity. Illustrations of Roman women wearing bikini-like garments during competitive athletic events have been found in several locations. The most famous of them is Villa Romana del Casale. French engineer Louis Réard introduced the modern bikini, modeled by Micheline Bernardini, on July 5, 1946, borrowing the name for his design from the Bikini Atoll, where post-war testing on the atomic bomb was happening.
French women welcomed the design, but the Catholic Church, some media, and a majority of the public initially thought the design was risque or even scandalous. Contestants in the first Miss World beauty pageant wore them in 1951, but the bikini was then banned from the competition. Actress Bridget Bardot drew attention when she was photographed wearing a bikini on the beach during the Cannes Film Festival in 1953. Other actresses, including Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner, also gathered press attention when they wore bikinis. During the early 1960’s, the design appeared on the cover of Playboy and Sports Illustrated, giving it additional legitimacy. Ursula Andress made a huge impact when she emerged from the surf wearing what is now an iconic bikini in the James Bond movie Dr. No (1962). The deer skin bikini Raquel Welch wore in the film One Million Years B.C. (1966) turned her into an international sex symbol and was described as a definitive look of the 1960’s.
The bikini gradually grew to gain wide acceptance in Western society. According to French fashion historian Olivier Saillard, the bikini is perhaps the most popular type of female beachwear around the globe because of "the power of women, and not the power of fashion". As he explains, "The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women." By the early 2000’s, bikinis had become a US $ 811 million business annually, and boosted spin-off services like bikini waxing and the sun tanning.
Between the classical bikinis and the modern bikini there has been a long interval. Swimming or outdoor bathing were discouraged in the Christian West and there was little need for a bathing or swimming costume till the 18th century. The bathing gown in the 18th century was a loose ankle-length full-sleeve chemise-type gown made of wool or flannel, so that modesty or decency was not threatened. In the first half of 19th century the top became knee-length while an ankle-length drawer was added as a bottom. By the second half of 19th century, in France, the sleeves started to vanish, the bottom became shorter to reach only the knees and the top became hip-length and both became more form fitting. In the 1900’s women wore wool dresses on the beach that were made of up to 9 yards (8.2 m) of fabric. That standard of swimwear evolved into the modern bikini in the first of half of the 20th century.
In 1907, Australian swimmer and performer Annette Kellerman was arrested on a Boston beach for wearing a form-fitting sleeveless one-piece knitted swimming tights that covered her from neck to toe, a costume she adopted from England, although it became accepted swimsuit attire for women in parts of Europe by 1910. Even in 1943, pictures of the Kellerman swimsuit were produced as evidence of indecency in Esquire v. Walker, Postmaster General. But, Harper’s Bazaar wrote in June 1920 (vol. 55, no. 6, p. 138) – "Annette Kellerman Bathing Attire is distinguished by an incomparable, daring beauty of fit that always remains refined." The following year, in June 1921 (vol. 54, no. 2504, p. 101) it wrote that these bathing suits were "famous … for their perfect fit and exquisite, plastic beauty of line."
Female swimming was introduced at the 1912 Summer Olympics. In 1913, inspired by that breakthrough, the designer Carl Jantzen made the first functional two-piece swimwear, a close-fitting one-piece with shorts on the bottom and short sleeves on top. Silent films such as The Water Nymph (1912) saw Mabel Normand in revealing attire, and this was followed by the daringly dressed Sennett Bathing Beauties (1915–1929). The name "swim suit" was coined in 1915 by Jantzen Knitting Mills, a sweater manufacturer who launched a swimwear brand named the Red Diving Girl,. The first annual bathing-suit day at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1916 was a landmark. The swimsuit apron, a design for early swimwear, disappeared by 1918, leaving a tunic covering the shorts.
During the 1920’s and 1930’s, people began to shift from "taking in the water" to "taking in the sun," at bathhouses and spas, and swimsuit designs shifted from functional considerations to incorporate more decorative features. Rayon was used in the 1920’s in the manufacture of tight-fitting swimsuits, but its durability, especially when wet, proved problematic, with jersey and silk also sometimes being used. Burlesque and vaudeville performers wore two-piece outfits in the 1920’s. The 1929 film "Man with a Movie Camera" shows Russian women wearing early two-piece swimsuits which expose their midriff, and a few who are topless. Films of holidaymakers in Germany in the 1930’s show women wearing two-piece suits,
Necklines and midriff
By the 1930’s, necklines plunged at the back, sleeves disappeared and sides were cut away and tightened. With the development of new clothing materials, particularly latex and nylon, through the 1930’s swimsuits gradually began hugging the body, with shoulder straps that could be lowered for tanning. Women’s swimwear of the 1930’s and 1940’s incorporated increasing degrees of midriff exposure. Coco Chanel made suntans fashionable, and in 1932 French designer Madeleine Vionnet offered an exposed midriff in an evening gown. They were seen a year later in Gold Diggers of 1933. The Busby Berkeley film Footlight Parade of 1932 showcases aqua-choreography that featured bikinis. Dorothy Lamour’s The Hurricane (1937) also showed two-piece bathing suits.
The 1934 film, Fashions of 1934 featured chorus girls wearing two-piece outfits which look identical to modern bikinis. In 1934, a National Recreation Association study on the use of leisure time found that swimming, encouraged by the freedom of movement the new swimwear designs provided, was second only to movies in popularity as free time activity out of a list of 94 activities. In 1935 American designer Claire McCardell cut out the side panels of a maillot-style bathing suit, the bikini’s forerunner. The 1938 invention of the Telescopic Watersuit in shirred elastic cotton ushered into the end the era of wool. Cotton sun-tops, printed with palm trees, and silk or rayon pajamas, usually with a blouse top, became popular by 1939. Wartime production during World War II required vast amounts of cotton, silk, nylon, wool, leather, and rubber. In 1942 the United States War Production Board issued Regulation L-85, cutting the use of natural fibers in clothing and mandating a 10% reduction in the amount of fabric in women’s beachwear. To comply with the regulations, swimsuit manufacturers produced two-piece suits with bare midriffs.
Fabric shortage continued for some time after the end of the war. Two-piece swimsuits without the usual skirt panel and other excess material started appearing in the US when the government ordered a 10% reduction in fabric used in woman’s swimwear in 1943 as wartime rationing. By that time, two-piece swimsuits were frequent on American beaches. The July 9, 1945, Life shows women in Paris wearing similar items. Hollywood stars like Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner tried similar swimwear or beachwear. Pin ups of Hayworth and Esther Williams in the costume were widely distributed. The most provocative swimsuit was the 1946 Moonlight Buoy, a bottom and a top of material that weighed only eight ounces. What made the Moonlight Buoy distinctive was a large cork buckle attached to the bottoms, which made it possible to tie the top to the cork buckle and splash around au naturel while keeping both parts of the suit afloat. Life magazine had a photo essay on the Moonlight Buoy and wrote, "The name of the suit, of course, suggests the nocturnal conditions under which nude swimming is most agreeable."
American designer Adele Simpson, a Coty American Fashion Critics’ Awards winner (1947) and a notable alumna of the New York art school Pratt Institute, who believed clothes must be comfortable and practical, designed a large part of her swimwear line with one-piece suits that were considered fashionable even in early 1980’s. This was when Cole of California started marketing revealing prohibition suits and Catalina Swimwear introduced almost bare-back designs. Teen magazines of late 1940’s and 1950’s featured designs of midriff-baring suits and tops. However, midriff fashion was stated as only for beaches and informal events and considered indecent to be worn in public. Hollywood endorsed the new glamour with films such as Neptune’s Daughter (1949) in which Esther Williams wore provocatively named costumes such as "Double Entendre" and "Honey Child". Williams, who also was an Amateur Athletic Union champion in the 100 meter freestyle (1939) and an Olympics swimming finalist (1940), also portrayed Kellerman in the 1952 film Million Dollar Mermaid (titled as The One Piece Bathing Suit in UK).
Swimwear of the 1940’s, 50’s and early 60’s followed the silhouette mostly from early 1930’s. Keeping in line with the ultra-feminine look dominated by Dior, it evolved into a dress with cinched waists and constructed bust-lines, accessorized with earrings, bracelets, hats, scarves, sunglasses, hand bags and cover-ups. Many of these pre-bikinis had fancy names like Double Entendre, Honey Child (to maximize small bosoms), Shipshape (to minimize large bosoms), Diamond Lil (trimmed with rhinestones and lace), Swimming In Mink (trimmed with fur across the bodice) and Spearfisherman (heavy poplin with a rope belt for carrying a knife), Beau Catcher, Leading Lady, Pretty Foxy, Side Issue, Forecast, and Fabulous Fit. According to Vogue the swimwear had become more of "state of dress, not undress" by mid-1950’s.
The modern bikini
French fashion designer Jacques Heim, who owned a beach shop in the French Riviera resort town of Cannes, introduced a minimalist two-piece design in May 1946 which he named the "Atome," after the smallest known particle of matter. The bottom of his design was just large enough to cover the wearer’s navel.
At the same time, Louis Réard, a French automotive and mechanical engineer, was running his mother’s lingerie business near Les Folies Bergères in Paris. He noticed women on St. Tropez beaches rolling up the edges of their swimsuits to get a better tan and was inspired to produce a more minimal design. He trimmed additional fabric off the bottom of the swimsuit, exposing the wearer’s navel for the first time. Réard’s string bikini consisted of four triangles made from 30 square inches (194 cm2) of fabric printed with a newspaper pattern.
When Réard sought a model to wear his design at his press conference, none of the usual models would wear the suit, so he hired 19 year old nude dancer Micheline Bernardini from the Casino de Paris. He introduced his design to the media and public on July 5, 1946, in Paris at Piscine Molitor, a public pool in Paris. Réard held the press conference five days after the first test of a nuclear device (nicknamed Able) over the Bikini Atoll during Operation Crossroads. His swimsuit design shocked the press and public because it was the first to reveal the wearer’s navel.
To promote his new design, Heim hired skywriters to fly above the Mediterranean resort advertising the Atome as "the world’s smallest bathing suit." Not to be outdone by Heim, Réard hired his own skywriters three weeks later to fly over the French Riviera advertising his design as "smaller than the smallest bathing suit in the world."
Heim’s design was the first to be worn on the beach, but the name given by Réard stuck with the public. Despite significant social resistance, Réard received more than 50,000 letters from fans. He also initiated a bold ad campaign that told the public a two-piece swimsuit was not a genuine bikini "unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring." According to Kevin Jones, curator and fashion historian at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, "Réard was ahead of his time by about 15 to 20 years. Only women in the vanguard, mostly upper-class European women embraced it."
Bikini sales did not pick up around the world as women stuck to traditional two-piece swimsuits. Réard went back to designing conventional knickers to sell in his mother’s shop. According to Kevin Jones, curator and fashion historian at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, "Réard was ahead of his time by about 15 to 20 years. Only women in the vanguard, mostly upper-class European women embraced it, just like the upper-class European women who first cast off their corsets after World War I." It was banned in the French Atlantic coastline, Spain, Belgium and Italy, three countries neighboring France, as well as Portugal and Australia, and it was prohibited in some US states, and discouraged in others.
In 1951, the first Miss World contest (originally the Festival Bikini Contest), was organized by Eric Morley. When the winner, Kiki Håkansson from Sweden, was crowned in a bikini, countries with religious traditions threatened to withdraw delegates. Håkansson remains the first and last Miss World to be crowned in her bikini, a crowning that was condemned by Pope Pius XII who declared the swimsuit to be sinful. Bikinis were banned from beauty pageants around the world after the controversy. In 1949 the Los Angeles Times reported that Miss America Bebe Shopp on her visit to Paris said she did not approve the bikini for American girls, though she did not mind French girls wearing them. Actresses in movies like My Favorite Brunette (1947) and the model on a 1948 cover of LIFE were shown in traditional two-piece swimwear, not the bikini.
In 1950, Time magazine interviewed American swimsuit mogul Fred Cole, owner of Cole of California, and reported that he had "little but scorn for France’s famed Bikinis," because they were designed for "diminutive Gallic women". "French girls have short legs," he explained, "Swimsuits have to be hiked up at the sides to make their legs look longer." Réard himself described it as a two-piece bathing suit which "reveals everything about a girl except for her mother’s maiden name." Even Esther Williams commented, "A bikini is a thoughtless act." But, popularity of the charms of Pin-up queen and Hollywood star Williams were to vanish along with pre-bikinis with fancy names over the next few decades. Australian designer Paula Straford introduced the bikini to Gold Coast in 1952. In 1957, Das moderne Mädchen (The Modern Girl) wrote, "It is unthinkable that a decent girl with tact would ever wear such a thing." Eight years later a Munich student was punished to six days cleaning work at an old home because she had strolled across the central Viktualienmarkt square, Munich in a bikini.
The Cannes connection
Despite the controversy, some in France admired "naughty girls who decorate our sun-drenched beaches". Brigitte Bardot, photographed wearing similar garments on beaches during the Cannes Film Festival (1953) helped popularize the bikini in Europe in the 1950’s and created a market in the US. Photographs of Bardot in a bikini, according to The Guardian, turned Saint-Tropez into the bikini capital of the world. Cannes played a crucial role in the career of Brigitte Bardot, who in turn played a crucial role in promoting the Festival, largely by starting the trend of being photographed in a bikini at her first appearance at the festival, with Bardot identified as the original Cannes bathing beauty. In 1952, she wore a bikini in Manina, the Girl in the Bikini (1952) (released in France as Manina, la fille sans voiles), a film which drew considerable attention due to her scanty swimsuit. During the 1953 Cannes Film Festival, she worked with her husband and agent Roger Vadim, and garnered a lot of attention when she was photographed wearing a bikini on every beach in the south of France.
Like Esther Williams did a decade earlier, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot all used revealing swimwear as career props to enhance their sex appeal, and it became more accepted in parts of Europe when worn by fifties "love goddess" actresses such as Bardot, Anita Ekberg and Sophia Loren. British actress Diana Dors had a mink bikini made for her during the 1955 Venice Film Festival and wore it riding in a gondola down Venice’s Grand Canal past St. Mark’s Square.
In Spain, Benidorm played a similar role as Cannes. Shortly after the bikini was banned in Spain, Pedro Zaragoza, the mayor of Benidorm convinced dictator Francisco Franco that his town needed to legalize the bikini to draw tourists. In 1959, General Franco agreed and the town became a popular tourist destination. Interestingly, in less than four years since Franco’s death in 1979, Spanish beaches and women had gone topless.
Legal and moral resistance
The swimsuit was declared sinful by the Vatican and was banned in Spain, Portugal and Italy, three countries neighboring France, as well as Belgium and Australia, and it remained prohibited in many US states. As late as in 1959, Anne Cole, a US swimsuit designer and daughter of Fred Cole, said about a Bardot bikini, "It’s nothing more than a G-string. It’s at the razor’s edge of decency." In July that year the New York Post searched for bikinis around New York City and found only a couple. Writer Meredith Hall wrote in her memoir that till 1965 one could get a citation for wearing a bikini in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.
In 1951, the first Miss World contest, originally the Festival Bikini Contest, was organized by Eric Morley as a mid-century advertisement for swimwear at the Festival of Britain. The press welcomed the spectacle and referred to it as Miss World, and Morley registered the name as a trademark. When, the winner Kiki Håkansson from Sweden, was crowned in a bikini, countries with religious traditions threatened to withdraw delegates. The bikinis were outlawed and evening gowns introduced instead. Håkansson remains the only Miss World crowned in a bikini, a crowning that was condemned by the Pope. Bikini was banned from beauty pageants around the world after the controversy. Catholic-majority countries like Belgium, Italy, Spain and Australia also banned the swimsuit that same year.
The National Legion of Decency pressured Hollywood to keep bikinis from being featured in Hollywood movies. The Hays production code for US movies, introduced in 1930 but not strictly enforced till 1934, allowed two-piece gowns but prohibited navels on screen. But between the introduction and enforcement of the code two Tarzan movies, Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932) and Tarzan and His Mate (1934), were released in which actress Maureen O’Sullivan wore skimpy bikini-like leather outfits. Film historian Bruce Goldstein described her clothes in the first film as "It’s a loincloth open up the side. You can see loin." All at sea was allowed in the USA in 1957 after all bikini-type clothes were removed from the film. The girl in the bikini was allowed in Kansas after all the bikini close ups were removed from the film in 1959.
In reaction to the introduction of the bikini in Paris, American swimwear manufacturers compromised cautiously by producing their own similar design that included a halter and a midriff-bottom variation. Though size makes all the difference in a bikini, early bikinis often covered the navel. When the navel showed in pictures, it was airbrushed out by magazines like Seventeen. Navel-less women ensured the early dominance of European bikini makers over their American counterparts. By the end of the decade a vogue for strapless styles developed, wired or bound for firmness and fit, along with a taste for bare-shouldered two-pieces called Little Sinners. But, it was the halterneck bikini that caused the most moral controversy because of its degree of exposure. So much so as bikini designs called "Huba Huba" and "Revealation" were withdrawn from fashion parades in Sydney as immodest.
Rise to popularity
The appearance of bikinis kept increasing both on screen and off. The sex appeal prompted film and television productions, including Dr. Strangelove. They include the surf movies of the early 1960’s. In 1960, Brian Hyland’s song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" inspired a bikini-buying spree. By 1963, the movie Beach Party, starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, followed by Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964), and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) that depicted teenage girls wearing bikinis, frolicking in the sand with boys, and having a great time.
The beach films led a wave of films that made the bikini pop-culture symbol. In the sexual revolution in 1960’s America, bikinis became quickly popular. Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Gina Lollobrigida, and Jane Russell helped further the growing popularity of bikinis. Pin-up posters of Monroe, Mansfield, Hayworth, Bardot and Raquel Welch also contributed significantly to its increasing popularity. In 1962, Playboy featured a bikini on its cover for the first time. Two years later, Sports Illustrated featured Berlin-born fashion model Babette March on the cover wearing a white bikini. The issue was the first Swimsuit Issue. It gave the bikini legitimacy, became an annual publication and an American pop-culture staple, and sells millions of copies each year. In 1965, a woman told Time it was "almost square" not to wear one. In 1967 the magazine wrote that 65% of "the young set" were wearing bikinis.
When Jayne Mansfield and her husband Miklós Hargitay toured for stage shows, newspapers wrote that Mansfield convinced the rural population that she owned more bikinis than anyone. She showed a fair amount of her 40-inch (1,000 mm) bust, as well as her midriff and legs, in the leopard-spot bikini she wore for her stage shows. Kathryn Wexler of The Miami Herald wrote, "In the beginning as we know it, there was Jayne Mansfield. Here she preens in leopard-print or striped bikinis, sucking in air to showcase her well noted physical assets." Her leopard-skin bikini remains one of the earlier specimens of the fashion.
In 1962, Bond Girl Ursula Andress emerged from the sea wearing a white bikini in Dr. No. The scene has been named one of the most memorable of the series. Channel 4 declared it the top bikini moment in film history, Virgin Media puts it ninth in its top ten, and top in the Bond girls. The Herald (Glasgow) put the scene as best ever on the basis of a poll. It also helped shape the career of Ursula Andress, and the look of the quintessential Bond movie. Andress said that she owed her career to that white bikini, remarking, "This bikini made me into a success. As a result of starring in Dr. No as the first Bond girl, I was given the freedom to take my pick of future roles and to become financially independent." In 2001, the Dr. No bikini worn by Andress in the film sold at auction for US$61,500. That white bikini has been described as a "defining moment in the sixties liberalization of screen eroticism". Because of the shocking effect from how revealing it was at the time, she got referred to by the joke nickname "Ursula Undress". According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, "So iconic was the look that it was repeated 40 years later by Halle Berry in the Bond movie Die Another Day."
Raquel Welch’s fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. (1966) gave the world the most iconic bikini shot of all time and the poster image became an iconic moment in cinema history. The poster image of the deer skin bikini in One Million Years B.C. made her an instant pin-up girl. Welch was featured in the studio’s advertising as "wearing mankind’s first bikini" and the bikini was later described as a "definitive look of the 1960’s". Her role wearing the leather bikini raised Welch to a fashion icon and the photo of her in the bikini became a best-selling pinup poster. One author said, "although she had only three lines in the film, her luscious figure in a fur bikini made her a star and the dream girl of millions of young moviegoers". In 2011, Time listed Welch’s B.C. bikini in the "Top Ten Bikinis in Pop Culture".
In the 1983 film Return of the Jedi, Star Wars’ Princess Leia Organa was captured by Jabba the Hutt and forced to wear a metal bikini complete with shackles. The costume was made of brass and was so uncomfortable that actress Carrie Fisher described it as "what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of hell." The "slave Leia" look is often imitated by female fans at Star Wars conventions. In 1997, 51 years after the bikini’s debut, and 77 years after the Miss America Pageant was founded, contestants were allowed wear two-piece swimsuits, not just the swimsuits (nicknamed "bulletproof vests") traditionally issued by the pageant. Two of the 17 swimsuit finalists wore two-piece swimsuits, and Erika Kauffman, representing Hawaii, wore the briefest bikini of all and won the swimsuit competition. In 2010, the International Federation of Bodybuilders recognized Bikini as a new competitive category.
Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore appeared in a bikini in An Evening in Paris (1967), a film mostly remembered for the first bikini appearance of an Indian actress. She also posed in a bikini for the glossy Filmfare magazine. The costume shocked the conservative Indian audience, but it also set a trend of bikini-clad actresses carried forward by Parveen Babi (in Yeh Nazdeekiyan, 1982), Zeenat Aman (in Heera Panna 1973; Qurbani, 1980) and Dimple Kapadia (in Bobby, 1973) in the early 1970’s. Wearing a bikini put her name in the Indian press as one of Bollywood’s ten hottest actresses of all time, and was a transgression of female identity through a reversal of the state of modesty, which functions as a signifier of femininity in Bombay films. By 2005, it became usual for actors in Indian films to change outfits a dozen times in a single song — starting with a chiffon sari and ending up wearing a bikini. But, when Tagore was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification in 2005, she expressed concerns about the rise of the bikini in Indian films.
In France, Réard’s company folded in 1988, four years after his death. By that year the bikini made up nearly 20% of swimsuit sales, more than any other model in the US. As skin cancer awareness grew and a simpler aesthetic defined fashion in the 1990s, sales of the skimpy bikini decreased dramatically. The new swimwear code was epitomized by surf star Malia Jones, who appeared on the June 1997 cover of Shape Magazine wearing a halter top two-piece for rough water. After the 90’s, however, the bikini came back again. US market research company NPD Group reported that sales of two-piece swimsuits nationwide jumped 80% in two years. On one hand the one-piece made a big comeback in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, on the other bikinis became briefer with the string bikini in the 1970’s and 80’s.
The "-kini family" (as dubbed by author William Safire), including the "-ini sisters" (as dubbed by designer Anne Cole) has grown to include a large number of subsequent variations, often with a hilarious lexicon — string bikini, monokini or numokini (top part missing), seekini (transparent bikini), tankini (tank top, bikini bottom), camikini (camisole top and bikini bottom), hikini, thong, slingshot, minimini, teardrop, and micro. In just one major fashion show in 1985, there were two-piece suits with cropped tank tops instead of the usual skimpy bandeaux, suits that are bikinis in front and one-piece behind, suspender straps, ruffles, and daring, navel-baring cutouts. To meet the fast changing tastes, some of the manufacturers have made a business out of making made-to-order bikinis in around seven minutes. The world’s most expensive bikini, made up of over 150 carats (30 g) of flawless diamonds and worth a massive £20 million, was designed in February 2006 by Susan Rosen.
Actresses in action films like Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003) and Blue Crush (2002) have made the two-piece "the millennial equivalent of the power suit", according to Gina Bellafonte of The New York Times, On September 9, 1997, Miss Maryland Jamie Fox was the first contestant in 50 years to compete in a two-piece swimsuit to compete in the Preliminary Swimsuit Competition at the Miss America Pageant. PETA used celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Traci Bingham and Alicia Mayer wearing a bikini made of iceberg-lettuce for an advertisement campaign to promote vegetarianism. A protester from Columbia University used a bikini as a message board against a New York City visit by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
By the end of the century, the bikini went on to become the most popular beachwear around the globe, according to French fashion historian Olivier Saillard due to "the power of women, and not the power of fashion". As he explains, "The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women", though one survey tells 85% of all bikinis never touch the water. According to Beth Dincuff Charleston, research associate at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "The bikini represents a social leap involving body consciousness, moral concerns, and sexual attitudes." By the early 2000’s, bikinis had become a US $811 million business annually, according to the NPD Group, a consumer and retail information company. The bikini has boosted spin-off services like bikini waxing and the sun tanning industries.
The bikini remained a hot topic for the news media. In May 2011, Barcelona, Spain made it illegal to wear bikinis in public except in areas near the beaches. Violators face fines of between 120 and 300 euros. In 2012, two students of St. Theresa’s College in Cebu, the Philippines were barred from attending their graduation ceremony for "ample body exposure" because their bikini pictures were posted on Facebook. The students sued the college and won a temporary stay in a regional court.
In May 2013, Cambridge University banned the Wyverns Club of Magdalene College from arranging its annual bikini jelly wrestling. In June 2013, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who also is interested in fashion, produced a bikini for her clothing line that is designed to be worn by girls 4 to 8 years old. She was criticized for sexualizing young children by Claude Knight of Kidscape, a British foundation that strives to prevent child abuse. He commented, "We remain very opposed to the sexualization of children and of childhood … is a great pity that such trends continue and that they carry celebrity endorsement."
Four women were arrested over the 2013 Memorial Day weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for indecent exposure when they wore thong bikinis that exposed their buttocks. In June 2013, the British watchdog agency Advertising Standards Authority banned a commercial that showed men in an office fantasizing about their colleague, played by Pamela Anderson, in a bikini for degrading women.
Tagged: , KAOHS , designer , SS17 , collection , SpringSummer , 2016 , Miami , South Beach , W Hotel , W , swimming , pool , Florida , Swim Week , fashion week , clothing , bikini , swimwear , swimsuit , fashion , walking , catwalk , runway , designs , trendy , new , preview , sexy , beautiful , topless , almost , nude , naked , boobs , butt , booty , model , agency , nycphotographer , long legs , legs , heels , chic , flirting , teasing , presenting , hair , long hair , makeup , eyes , lips , thin , fit , body , tall , MIAMISWIM , SWIMMIAMI , FUNKSHION , curvy , woman , female , girl , show , vacation , vacations , sunbathing
Richard Chai at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York
Official Runway Images
Richard Chai, a New York native, began his career in fashion at an early age with a prestigious internship at Geoffrey Beene as an undergraduate at Parsons School of Design. Upon graduation from Parsons, Chai continued his studies at the Lissa School in Paris, during which time he worked as a sketcher at Lanvin.
Returning to New York one year later, Chai immediately embarked on his practical experience as an assistant designer at Armani Exchange. He then joined Donna Karan as a designer for the DKNY and D collections. From 1998 to 2001, Chai was the Design Director for the Marc Jacobs’ men’s and women’s collections and the launch of the Marc by Marc Jacobs men’s line. In September 2001, Chai was appointed Creative Design Director of all TSE brands, including men’s, women’s and TSE Say, marking the first time in the company’s history that a single person oversaw all brands.
Through his experiences at some of the world’s most influential fashion houses, Chai developed a keen eye for detail, a reverence for architectural design elements, and a strong belief in the importance and value of the construction of clothes. After two years at Tse, Richard Chai established his own company in 2004.
During New York Fashion Week in September 2004, Chai launched his Spring 2005 women’s wear collection in a formal runway presentation. His well-received debut was a study in understated, yet sophisticated elegance and established his aesthetic sensibility and penchant for clean lines and classic craftsmanship.
In September 2009, the designer debuted a new contemporary-priced women’s collection called Richard Chai – LOVE for Spring 2010. Considered the female counterpart to his menswear label LOVE parallels his men’s line both in its accessible price and in its aesthetic of uniform-inspired classics refined with a modern, downtown sensibility, and a touch of whimsy.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is New York City’s single largest media event, taking place twice a year (February & September) at Lincoln Center, one of the most well known arts and cultural institutions in the world. The event provides top designers an international platform to showcase their collections to more than 100,000 industry insiders from around the world, including buyers, editors, retailers, celebrities, VIPs, and more. With more than 80 designers shows over 8 days, it is known as the premier event worldwide where style, beauty, supermodels, and celebrities come together to celebrate the best in fashion.
Images provided to Mainstream through the official channels.
Mainstream makes images available to the independent press, the mainstream press, open media such as Flickr, Creative Commons, and Wikipedia.
We will soon launch with a service for content creators, publicists, and publishers around the world.
Questions can be sent to:
Tamara McCartney (Assistant Producer)
Tagged: , New York , United States , Mercedes , Benz , fashionable , fashion , runway , clothing , CATWALK , readytowear , clothes , women , womens , NYFW , MBFW , Spring Summer 2014 , Richard , Chai , RichardChai
To see more pictures from Ipanema Beach click below:
Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro
thank you for your visit and comments …
dziekuje za wizyte i komentarze… (Polish)
gracias por su visita y comentarios … (Spanish)
obrigado por sua visita e comentários… (Portugese)
la ringrazio per la vostra visita e commenti … (Italian)
je vous remercie de votre visite et commentaires …(French)
ich danke Ihnen für Ihren Besuch und Kommentare …(German)
поблагодарить Вас за Ваш визит и комментарии … (Russian)
여러분의 방문이나 의견 주셔서 감사합니다 … (Korean)
شكرا لك على الزيارة والتعليقات… (Arabic)
Ipanema is a neighborhood that summarizes the best Rio de Janeiro has to offer. There’s a legendary beach, a bustling nightlife, restaurants to write home about, the most sophisticated street shopping in town, cultural centers, museums, excellent hotels in all price ranges… Better yet, everything is in a walking distance, and it’s easy to find your way around. Streets are lined up in a grid, and you have the beach and Lagoa as your references. If you had only one day in Rio, and you want to experience the city like a local instead of a tourist, this is the place you would be heading to.
Most of what is known as Ipanema today belonged to aristocrat José Antonio Moreira Filho, the Barão de Ipanema. Ipanema means bad water in Brazilian Indian dialect, but since the name was inherited from the baron, it has nothing to do with our beautiful blue sea. Once the tunnel connecting Copacabana to Botafogo was opened, Ipanema was finally integrated to the rest of the city.
In 1894 Vila Ipanema was founded, with 19 streets and 2 parks. The neighborhood started to grow faster with the arrival of streetcars in 1902. Ipanema became a household name in the 1950’s and 60’s – it is the birthplace of Bossa Nova. The whole world learned about it with hit song The Girl from Ipanema by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Morais, both Ipanema residents.
Since then Ipanema is always setting new trends, and what happens here reverberates throughout the country. Take Banda de Ipanema, for instance. What started as a celebration among a few dozen friends ended up bringing a new life to Rio de Janeiro’s Street Carnival festivities. Today the parades attract as many as fifteen thousand, and many other neighborhoods have street bands of their own.
The first pregnant woman in a bikini was actress Leila Diniz in the 70’s, she lived on Rua Aníbal de Mendonça. The first men sunbathing in a bikini bottom was Fernando Gabeira at Posto 9 in the early 80’s. The first topless woman (who bothered asking? – 80’s), and the dental floss bikini (late 80’s) are among fashion statements that were made here first.
Ipanema has played an important cultural role in the city since its early days. There are major art galleries, universities, several schools, avant-garde theaters, art movie theaters, cyber-cafés… Do not be surprised to discover a cozy café with a web connection inside a bookshop or clothing store.
Fitness is also a big thing. Expect to run into juice shops every other block. People going into and coming out of the many state-of-the-art gyms. Activities offered sometimes include capoeira, you could well walk in and give it a shot. Keep your sunglasses on to better watch the sun-kissed girls and boys of Ipanema go by.
When the sun sets, the fun does not end. With an assortment of cafes, bars, and clubs there’s always something happening at night. Stroll around Praça da Paz, Baixo Farme and Baixo Quitéria. Watch a live music performance, crash a circuit party, sip a beer or fresh coconut under the stars at a beach kiosk. Gays and lesbians have their own beach spot, and enjoy venues and clubs on Rua Teixeira de Melo, Farme de Amoedo and surroundings.
BELOW INFO IS COPIED FROM WIKIPEDIA
Ipanema is a neighborhood located in the southern region of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between Leblon and Arpoador.
Ipanema gained fame with the start of the bossa nova sound, when its residents Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes created their ode to their neighborhood, "Girl from Ipanema." The song was written in 1962, with music by Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by de Moraes with English lyrics written later by Norman Gimbel. Its popularity has seen a resurgence with Diana Krall’s song "Boy from Ipanema" released in 2008.
Ipanema is adjacent to Copacabana Beach, but it is distinct from its neighbor. It is relatively easy to navigate because the streets are aligned in a grid. Private infrastructure has created world-class restaurants, shops, and cafes. Ipanema is one of the most expensive places to live in Rio. At the forefront of the beach culture are the many surfers and sun worshippers who socialize daily at the beach. Every Sunday, the roadway closest to the beach is closed to motor vehicles and local residents and tourists use the opportunity to ride bikes, roller skate, skateboard, and walk along the ocean.
Ipanema has played its own role in Rio’s culture since its beginning. It has universities, art galleries, theaters and cafes. Ipanema holds its own street parade during Carnival festivities, separate from Rio de Janeiro’s. Banda de Ipanema attracts up to 50,000 people to the streets of Ipanema for Carnival.
It is famously known for its elegance and social qualities. Two mountains called the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) rise at the western end of the beach. The beach is divided into segments by marks known as postos (lifeguard towers). Beer is sold everywhere on the beach along with the traditional cachaça. There are always circles of people playing football, volleyball, and footvolley, a locally invented sport that is a combination of volleyball and football.
In the winter the surf can reach nine feet. The water quality varies with days of light-blue water to a more murky green after heavy rains. Constant swells keep the water clean. The often treacherous beach break regularly forms barrels.
Just west of this colorful section and towards Leblon is another popular stretch of sand known as Posto 10 (10th lifeguard tower) where young and often beautiful carioca men and women hipsters congregate.
The Travel Channel listed Ipanema Beach as the sexiest beach in the world.
Posto 9’s tradition began around 1980 when the present deputy Fernando Gabeira, came back from his political exile in France and was photographed there in a thong. He had been a political terrorist who, with his MR-8 mates, kidnapped the American ambassador in the sixties to release some political prisoners in Brazil, that was under a dictatorship at that time. In the eighties he became a political celebrity and his picture appeared on the front pages of all Brazilian newspapers together with his declarations that he was bisexual. His going to the beach at that spot made it famous throughout the country.
It inherited the status of a "cool and alternative" space in Ipanema beach from the area next to a pier that was demolished in the seventies, near Farme de Amoedo Street. It has a long history of pot smoking (illegal in Brazil), police raids, and left-wing, as well as alternative, gatherings.
RIO DE JANEIRO
The Cariocas (Rio locals) have a saying: God made the world in seven days, and the eighth he devoted to Rio de Janeiro. Given its oceanfront setting, protected by Guanabara Bay and lounging between sandy shores and forested granite peaks, you might forgive the hyperbole.
Sugar Loaf Mountain rises vertically out of the azure Atlantic, while Christ the Redeemer, arms wide open, watches over the city from atop Corcovado Mountain. You’ll find beaches for strolling or watching the locals play volleyball, and the galleries and museums of the arty, bohemian Santa Teresa district. Visiting the vibrant favelas (shanty towns) gains you an utterly different perspective (not to mention great views) of one of South America’s most intoxicating metropolises.
Known around the world as the Wonderful City, Rio de Janeiro is the perfect combination of sea, mountain and forest.
Stunning natural sceneries, a free-spirited and welcoming people that transform anything into a party, and world-famous iconic monuments. These are the elements that make Rio de Janeiro a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable destination.
The enviable collections in Rio’s museums hold fascinating treasures telling the tale of its 450 years of history. Land of the Carnaval and Samba, the city also offers countless theaters, concert venues, business centers and restaurants open year-round.
But it is the combination between geographical traits – the sea, mountains and forests – and human culture that makes Rio de Janeiro such a unique city. Almost the entire city is surrounded by dazzling landscapes. Rio was the world’s first city to be listed as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
In addition to its most famous attractions, such as Christ the Redeemer – an art deco statue of Jesus Christ – and Pão de Açúcar – a mountain range –, the city also offers endless programs involving nature, adventure, religion, history and culture, such as walks through the Botanical Garden and the Santa Teresa tram, visits to the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Museum of Modern Art, and the possibility of jumping over the Pedra Bonita ramp and flying across the city.
Sports are also very important among cariocas (as those born in Rio are nicknamed). It is really no surprise that the Wonderful City was chosen to host the Rio 2016™ Olympic Games. There are always volleyball, soccer and footvolley matches being played anywhere across the city’s 90 km of beaches. The city is the largest urban climbing center in the world, providing options that accommodate all levels of difficulty, such as Pedra da Gávea and Bico do Papagaio.
The Tijuca National Park – the world’s largest urban forest – is also a great place for walks and other sports, such as rock climbing and free flight. In addition to preserving the Atlantic Forest, the Park protects springs and basins, such as those of the Carioca and Maracanã rivers, which supply water to part of the city.
Things to see and do in Rio de Janeiro
Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain
The statue’s iconic stance was not, in fact, the original design: earlier blueprints showed Christ carrying a cross. In the finished result, Christ himself makes the shape of the cross, his outstretched arms signifying a gesture of peace, as if he’s embracing the whole city beneath his feet. Peering up at the 30 m (98 ft) statue from its base, you begin to see the patchwork of weathered greenish-grey tiles covering its surface, and the lightning rods crowning the head like thorns.
Created by French and Romanian sculptors and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, the statue was commissioned by the Catholic Circle of Rio as a response to the ‘godlessness’ of society post World War I. Although Cristo Redentor (as it’s called in Portuguese) can be seen from virtually anywhere in the city, getting up close to the statue reveals otherwise invisible details, such as the outline of a heart bulging from the chest. Just inside the base is a minuscule chapel where multilingual masses are held.
The best way of getting to the viewing platforms below the statue’s pedestal is to take the cog wheel train up through Tijuca, the world’s largest urban forest, on Corcovado. On a clear day, you can look out over downtown Rio and the bay. Yet visiting the statue on a rainy day can be equally rewarding, as the crowds mostly scatter and you have the views to yourself.
Sugar Loaf Mountain
In a city that’s not short of panoramic viewpoints, the summit of this smooth granite monolith at the mouth of Guanabara Bay offers one of the finest. A three minute cable car journey takes you to the top, from where you can look back at Rio. In the foreground, tropical forest (where several rare orchid species grow) covers the lower part of the mountain, while Christ the Redeemer appears like a tiny stick man saluting you from a distant pinnacle.
From this vantage point, you can see just how much Rio is sliced up by hills and peaks, such as the ridge separating Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. In the day, look out for rock climbers scaling Sugar Loaf’s four faces, but the ideal time to visit is sunset when the city becomes bathed in soft amber light.
The Avenida Atlântica promenade
One of the simplest but most effective ways of getting a feel for Rio is by strolling the promenade of the Avenida Atlântica. This 4 km (2.5 miles) oceanside avenue stretches from the area of Leme, near Sugar Loaf Mountain, to the end of Copacabana Beach.
The promenade’s striking Portuguese-style paving runs in geometric waves alongside Leme and Copacabana beaches. The beaches are Rio’s great social melting pot and locals from all walks of life, from the wealthy quarters and the favelas alike, come here to relax. On Sundays, the sand becomes near-invisible under a sea of parasols.
Looking out to the beaches, you’ll see games of volleyball (and soccer-volleyball, a home-grown variant), exercise classes, paddle boarders, sunbathers, surfers and gaggles of children. Groups gather around slacklines hitched up between palm trees. Workout stations are posted at intervals along the beaches. Shacks rent out parasols and kiosks sell coconuts, acai and other fresh juices, as well as the ubiquitous caipirinhas (the national cocktail, made with sugarcane liquor and lime), while roving vendors ply the sands touting ice-cold drinks. In the evening, saxophonists and other street musicians set up shop on the promenade.
The Rio Scenarium Club in Lapa
By day, Rio’s Lapa district is a compact, quiet area of restored 19th-century pastel mansions that speak of old Lisbon. By night, it roars into life. These faded colonial façades house bars, traditional barbecue restaurants and clubs that pound with the sounds of samba (and all its variations), bossa nova, Brazilian jazz, reggae from Bahia, and even Brazil’s own takes on rock and pop. The rhythms spill over into the streets, as do the clientele. On a weekend, the area around the Arcos da Lapa, a bright white aqueduct, is closed off to traffic and given over to the party goers and samba bands.
One of the best clubs is Rio Scenarium, a three-decker nightspot-come-antique-store idiosyncratically decorated with clocks, chandeliers, gilt mirrors, bright upholstery and other eccentric touches. It has a mezzanine overlooking the stage area, where musicians play everything from samba to forró. The latter is a fast-paced music style from northeastern Brazil and a striking partner dance involving much skipping and spinning.
Tour the favelas
Shanty towns are a disquieting but undeniable part of Rio. Endless-seeming jumbles of ramshackle shacks with corrugated iron roofs cling to the hills and mountainsides around Rio, intersected with narrow alleys, steep staircases and sluggish funiculars. They’re informal settlements originally built without planning permission as Rio expanded and workers flocked to the city but couldn’t afford the rents nor the commute from the cheaper suburbs. Today they’re undergoing a pacification process. The best way to visit them is via a favela tour with a guide who is able to help you explore these resourceful communities in a sensitive and respectful way.
Santa Marta is a particularly eye-catching favela, with houses that have been painted in vivid rainbow hues. Shops display bright hand-painted illustrations and murals showcasing their wares and services. Walls are emblazoned with graffiti and political messages. Lines of laundry and many a Brazilian flag are strung up between dwellings. Look out too for the mosaic mural and statue of Michael Jackson, who filmed his music video for They Don’t Care About Us here.
The Santa Teresa district
A rickety tram ride takes you to the top of the hill where this area of colonial old Rio begins. Its cobbled streets and belle époque mansions evoke its fin-de-siècle heyday, when industrialists, rich from Brazil’s coffee industry, moved there in droves. Then, in the 60s and 70s, the area was rediscovered by artists and creatives. Their traces live on in the district’s galleries, studios, handicraft shops and little backstreet bistros.
A number of historic buildings are found here, from an 18th-century convent to a 19th-century castle. The Parque das Ruinas, the shell of a mansion destroyed in a fire, is now a public park that offers some sweeping views over the downtown and bay area.
Climb the steps of the Escadaria Selarón
Covered in a mosaic of deftly painted tiles in the three shades of the Brazilian flag, this celebrated flight of steps is found in Lapa. Its creator, the Chilean painter Jorge Selarón, intended the steps as a tribute to his adopted country and spent years hunting down the scraps of tiles used in their design. Later, he added red tiles to surround the steps, admiring the ‘vivacity’ of this shade. On his death, local people carpeted the escadaria in candles.
The staircase has since been widely embraced by both the local community and the international media, providing the backdrop to many commercials and music videos.
Tijuca Atlantic Forest
A designated national park, this tropical rainforest is a contender for the title of the world’s largest urban forest. It’s a dense meandering mass of vegetation, home to wildlife including coatimundis and sloths, and exotic flora such a lobster-claw plants and birds of paradise. Shafts of sunlight pierce the tall canopy, lighting up the many hiking trails and walkways that crisscross the forest. Waterfalls cascade down rock faces and occasionally the greenery gives way to man-made viewpoints where you can look down over the rest of the forest, the beaches, the district of Lagoa, Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf.
You can explore the forest through guided walks and 4×4 tours which take you to the best viewpoints.
Best time to visit Rio de Janeiro
December to February is high season, and although there’s a lot going on (including Carnival) the city can get extremely busy. July and August sees the coolest temperatures. The months of March and April, and September and October, offer clement, sunny weather and fewer crowds, but it’s safe to say that the city can be a year-round destination.
Festivals, events and seasonal reasons to visit
Rio de Janeiro is at its most lively and exuberant during Carnival, when the samba schools dance and parade through the streets in kaleidoscopic, highly imaginative costumes or ride flamboyantly themed giant floats, and the air is full of cheers, whistles and drumming. Carnival takes place annually in February and ends on Ash Wednesday. It’s followed by the Winners’ Parade the week after, which is a little more accessible to visitors and still offers the same exultant, high-quality performances.
Tagged: , Rio , Rio de Janeiro , Brazil , Brasil , beach , sand , waves , sea , water , blue sky , bikini , swimwear , swimsuit , Ipanema , postcard , Brasil em imagens , Brazil in images , Brazil in pictures , de , Janeiro , summer , sun , Posto 9 , gay , rainbow , biquini , thong , dental floss , bum , butt , topless , nude , playa , praia , Copacabana , Carnaval , Carnival , Olympiadas , Olympic Games , 2016 , Olympiad , Olympics , familia , family , people , crowd , woman , girl , pretty , sexy , beautiful , party , vacation , women , walking , gym , girls , sunbathing , hipster , Brazilian , vacations
© Brian George
(Available as print, contact via pm)
follow me on Facebook!
Tagged: , fashion , milan , photography , reportage , show , week , milano , settimana della moda , moda , style , nikon , street , stylish , fuji , fujifilm , x70 , Italy