Paris' Folies Bergere costumes under the hammer
The showgirl-turned-cabaret manager of the Folies Bergere, one of Paris’ most celebrated nightspots, has put a treasure trove of extravagant costumes up for auction on Saturday including can-can dresses, plumed head-dresses and feather boas.
Aged-89, Polish-born Helene Martini says it is time for her to “let it all go”.
Martini ran the Folies Bergere for over three decades before it was acquired by the Lagardere group last year.
Most of the collection is in European sizes 36 to 38 and was designed and sewn in the music hall’s own workshops from 1970 to 2000. It will be auctionned by Bailly-Pommery & Voutier.
Reserve prices have been set deliberately low, starting at 20 euros for accessories, 100 euros for little dresses, rising to 800 euros for large-skirted crinoline dresses which cost around 5,000 euros to make.
Paris’ biggest music hall is perhaps best-known for launching the career of African-American Josephine Baker who became an overnight sensation when she performed in 1926 wearing a skirt of artificial bananas and little else.
But the venue has also welcomed big stars such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Edit Piaf.
A second, larger sale aimed at theatre companies and trade buyers, will take place on Wednesday in the east of Paris.