The typical view of the early 1900s women are that they are prim, proper, and very informally dressed.
However, the early 1900s did have quite a party scene. The meaning of the term “The Roaring Twenties” was coined in regards to the social scene of the 1920s.
Few men through the first three decades of the 1900s showed the glory of the female body better than Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. Better known as Flo Ziegfeld, he gained recognition for his lavish revues known as “Ziegfeld Follies” on Broadway.
Ziegfeld was known for getting various ladies of his time to pose for some provocative pictures that would come across as sexy even by today’s standards: Ziegfeld girls as they came be known.
As shown on this site, even old portraits of such Ziegfeld girls can prove to be alluring. Many often appeared on his Follies show.
In the most provocative photo, millionairess Hazel Forbes stands in an elegant pose despite wearing only a sheet that covers two-thirds of her most sensitive body parts.
The photos cover the gamut of Ziegfeld girls from Anna Held to his eventual wife Billie Burke, who later gained fame as the Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, in the Wizard of Oz.
Some of the girls were dressed in the showgirl style of the times such as Fanny Brice. Others such as future movie stars Louise Brooks and Ava Land revealed a bit more skin, enough that would make most fashion magazine editors of the 21st century blush. Yet, whether it is close-ups of women in full dressage or a more open look (check out Virginia Biddle), Ziegfeld’s reputation of glorifying women is apparent.
It is also impressive how easily and how confidently these women from the early part of the 20th century posed for such shots. The shots are usually simple and uncomplicated with little to no hint of intimacy found in something like Playboy. Instead, it is a straightforward view of women unafraid of showing off why they are considered the “fairer sex.”
For a more visual version of Ziegfeld girls, YouTube features a clip or two that deliver still photos of a wide array of them. If you are a fan of the Biddle photo, then this particular video is a bit more up front about it.
image via: FlashBak
Screengrab via: Youtube