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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mata Hari, lady of fashion

Someday I'll do a nice big blog post on Mata Hari - who I find absolutely fascinating - but for now I'll just post some pictures of her, unexpectedly with clothes on.  In her day, her terribly chic, well-dressed figure was frequently and prominently featured in all the most fashionable periodicals.

These first six portraits are dated 1913.
Circa 1908-09.
Gown by Buzenet, 1910.
Circa 1910.
At Longchamps, for the Grand Prix d'Autumne, 4 October 1908.
In Habanera costume, 1913.
Circa 1915.
Circa 1915.


  1. Other than knowing her name and references in songs I know so very little of her. She barely appears to age in these photographs. I'm off to learn a bit more about her!

    1. Well, I tell you, you're likely to learn a lot of nonsense from the 'nets. There are few historical figures more misrepresented; it's very difficult to sift the fact from the fabrication. (And the Truth wasn't helped by her own predilection for the biographical fantasy with which she embroidered her public persona.) But the real story of her life is indeed fascinating - if only to see how other people's perceptions and prejudices were consistently used against her.

      To quote myself, when I shared this on Facebook the other day:

      "Repeatedly victimized by men in the first half of her life, she refused to be a victim. After she was able to leave her abusive husband, she used her talent and sexuality to survive and then thrive. The whole spy mess, the entrapment and trial was, again, hypocritical men bent on degrading and destroying a woman they had lauded and also deeply loathed for the freedom of her sexuality; all of it a misogynist travesty. And then, on the day of her execution, she faced the firing squad with incredible bravery - and dignity; all the men in her life, they never did break her."

  2. Thank you for a truly awesome article and blog!