fay lanphier

Atlantic City Pageant. 1925. Anonymous.

19 7⁄8 x 28 in./50.6 x 71 cm

The “national beauty tournament” advertised here is none other than the 5th Miss America Pageant, held on the Million Dollar Pier of Atlantic City on September 11, 1925. “Reports were received that King Neptune somehow fell into the ocean and had to be pulled out (‘rescued’) by lifeguards. Also on hand for the final night of pageant activities was Triton, son of Neptune, played by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr” (San Antonio Light, p. 2). The winner was Fay Lanphier, who appeared the next year in a film called “The American Venus” alongside Louise Brooks.

After a determined attempt in the early 1920′s by designers to discard the need for a bust at all, the continued appearance of breasts on women necessitated bringing back the brassiere and dress designs for a more shapely figure. This image of actress Fay Lanphier from the 1926 film “The American Venus” [ which also stars Louise Brooks ] – shows off what was considered by then to be the ‘ideal female silhouette’.