Naked Ziegfeld Girls Were Not Gratuitous Nudes

The Ziegfeld Girls, the ladies from Florenz Ziegfeld’s Ziegfeld Follies (1907 to 1931), formed an act based on the Folies Bergère of Paris. Established in 1869, the original French show propelled Josephine Baker and her “Danse sauvage to fame. The black dancer epitomised the club’s desire to the exotic. She dressed in a string of artificial bananas and a bra top. In 1900, Charles Bennett, aka the ‘Shapwick Express’, the first British track and field athlete to win Olympic gold, celebrated his victory by going to the Folies. Sophie Tucker, Fanny Brice, Barabara Stanwyck, Louise Brooks, Joan Blondell and Cyd Charrise all appeared. Women undressing had never looked so glamorous…

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