Charles Gesmar, born as Charles Gesimar in May 1900, had a particularly short albeit an incredibly successful artistic career. He died of pneumonia at the height of his career before he was twenty eight in February 1928. During his short and curtailed life he began to design costumes for the singer/dancer/actress Mademoiselle Spinelly.
Incredibly this working relationship began before Gesmar was sixteen. Their partnership was short-lived however. After an argument with the famous dancer Gesmar tried to shoot himself but missed, hit the toilet cistern instead and flooded the house. Spinelly was unamused and dismissed the young artist. It wasn’t long before Mistinguett (real name Jeanne Florentine Bourgeois), known at the time as the “Queen of the Paris Music Hall” was also more than impressed with his precocious talent and took him under her wing.
He started creating extraordinary costumes for her, while working on commissions for posters for the Parisian theatres. Mistinguett described the rather neurotic Gesmar as ‘one of those gentle, ultra-sensitive lads, so feminine that you felt one harsh word would have shattered him.’
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