nightclub fashion

Joanna Lumley
A party at the ‘Darkroom Club’. The girls, whose pictures are on the wall, include model and actress Joanna Lumley in the foreground. Photo by C Maher, 14 July, 1965

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Whisky a Go Go, October 1966, Sunset Strip in Los Angeles,California. audience at a Frank Zappa Concert

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - At the Moulin Rouge, The Dance (1890) 

 - A recently discovered penciled inscription, in the artist’s hand, on the back of this famous painting reads: “The instruction of the new ones by Valentine the Boneless.” Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was thus not depicting an ordinary evening at the Moulin Rouge, the fashionable Parisian nightclub but rather a specific moment when a man now known only by his nickname (which certainly describes his nimbleness as a dancer) appears to be teaching the “can-can.” Many of the inhabitants of the scene are well-known members of Lautrec’s demimonde of prostitutes and artists and people seen only at night including the white-bearded Irish poet William Butler Yeats who leans on the bar. One of the mysteries, however, is the dominant woman in the foreground, the beauty of her profile made all the more so in comparison with that of her chinless companion. It is the latter who expresses better than nearly any other character in this full stage of people Lautrec’s profoundly touching ability to be brutally truthful but also truly kind in his observations.