Friday, July 24, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, the lovely Louise Brooks

Ah, the beautiful, gutsy Miss Louise Brooks. Dancer, model, showgirl, actress, writer. I must admit that I went through a brief period of obsession over her. How could you not? Even if you don't know her by name, once you see her face, you will recognize her. The trademark angled Dutch bob that became an iconic image of the era. The black black eyes. She's magnetic.

I promise not to go on and on about her life. She was a Ziegfeld girl, a celebrated starlet, a gifted actress. She rebelled against the Hollywood studios and went to Europe to make movies. If you like silent movies, take a couple of hours to see Pandora's Box. She completely steals the movie as the erotically-charged Lulu. When she returned to the states and turned down major roles because she was too in love to work, the studios punished her by only giving her supporting roles in bad movies. She'd only appeared in twenty-four films before she left the movie business. Her strong will and her rebellion proved too much for the movies of the time.

She married, divorced, had affairs, travelled the world, and lived long enough to write about, not only her unusual life, but Hollywood and the movies. To fall back on an over-used phrase, she was a woman born well before her time. And she's still present in our popular culture today. Like I said, you may not know her name, but you will recognize her face.

I made the pendant above as a tribute, and it features a photo taken for a pin up magazine in the 1920's, early in her career. Louise is doing a fan dance, of course. I used crystal laquer to set the picture in a gold bezel, and added a delicate gold filigree pendant that would peek out when the pendant moved. The picture is fantastic, and the pendant is for sale in my etsy shop. The pendant below is an image from a Hollywood headshot. Such a face. This one is staying in MAB's jewelry treasure box.

For more on Miss Louise Brooks:

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