L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dietrich in Vegas - and after


Photographs by John Engstead.

Always the queen of reinvention, in 1953 Marlene Dietrich accepted a very lucrative offer to appear in her own cabaret act at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas.  She was a tremendous success and a new career was born; though she would occasionally make films after this, most of her performing energies were thereafter devoted to her concerts.  She continued to tour internationally until, plagued with ill-health and an addiction to alcohol and painkillers, she finally retired from the stage in 1975.

The great visual highlight of her concerts, from the Vegas days forward, was always her first act gown.  Over the years there was a wonderful parade of these remarkable "nude" gowns designed by Jean Louis.  Built over a precisely engineered undergarment, and constructed of the thinnest, flesh-colored silk souffle and usually covered in strategically placed beading, they provided both the illusion of a flawless, ageless figure, and an ephemeral but glitteringly sensual glamour.




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