Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Word's a Circus

I recently finished the book Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen, and was fascinated by the depression-era circus photos that were displayed in the novel.

To give you an idea, here are some vintage circus photos I found online:

I'm totally enthralled with pictures like these - poverty, abuse, corruption, and helplessness hidden behind masks of face paint and glimmering costumes. It's quite a powerful idea. These circus performers were running away from problems, dealing with ruthless circus managers, and living in crappy conditions, but as soon as they stepped into the ring, they were completely different people. Suddenly, in the spotlight, they were the stars. They were admired, applauded, and filled with confident talent.

Only to be left once more in the shambles of their lives as the crowd exited the big top.

It's kind of like living a double life, one reflected by their clothing.

Apparently others agree with me, because I've stumbled across several circus-themed photo shoots with a vintage sort of feel:

Of course, being who I am, I immediately began to plot ways to incorporate the circus into daily wear. Here's a pretty good example:

Flouncy skirts are pretty much a must:

Clockwise from top left: Miu Miu, Miu Miu, I'm Your Present, Mod Cloth, Plasticland, American Apparel.

We're talking bright colors, crazy prints, and some major volume.

For more circus appeal, accessorize with circus animal jewelry, two-colored tights, top hats, and bow ties.

Clockwise from top left: American Apparel, Mod Cloth, Plasticland, Amazon, Amazon, Amazon.

Also: vertically striped tights, harlequin prints, sheer skirts, ringmaster jackets, tutus, leotards, flowers in the hair, feather headdresses, and parasols. Extra points for carrying around a cute Barnum's animal crackers box.

I'll admit it. . . I'm feeling a strong urge to go to a circus right now. . .

12 comments:

WendyB said...

I'm fascinated by top hats lately.

Anonymous said...

check out picasso... he went through a"rose period" where he painted a lot of circus performers
(example: http://www.nga.gov/cgi-bin/pimage?46382+0+0 )

-your friend who recently learned too much about spanish art (wink wink)
ps: can we hang out soon?
pps: this is Lydia, in case my hint wasn't obvious enough :)

Anonymous said...

Another good example http://www.bexley.k12.oh.us/hslib/art/artists/Picasso/Harlequin's%20Family%20With%20an%20Ape%20(1905).jpeg
This is lydia again haha

susie_bubble said...

Fantastic spread of all things circus-related, old and contemporary....

Kori said...

wendyb- Me too, but I don't think I'll be wearing one anytime soon, if at all.

Lydia- Spanish art nerd! Of course we need to hang out soon!

susie_bubble- Thanks:)

Kori said...

wendyb- Me too, but I don't think I'll be wearing one anytime soon, if at all.

Lydia- Spanish art nerd! Of course we need to hang out soon!

susie_bubble- Thanks:)

angelwitch113 said...

Wow! I love the fact that the circus has somehow made it into todays fashion.

I remember reading Water for Elephants. It wasnt what I expected ,but it was a good read.

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