Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was the original superstar diva. She left behind the racism of the United States to become a sensation in France, where she was celebrated as one of the most glamorous women in the world. She was a fabulous entertainer, a devoted animal lover (she was famous for walking her pet cheetah on the streets of Paris, both of them wearing matching diamonds), an outspoken civil rights advocate, an adoptive mother of 12 (her “Rainbow Tribe”), and even a spy for the French Resistance (she smuggled messages on her music sheets). An altogether amazing woman.
If you want to channel La Baker, here are the pieces we suggest:
1. Drop-dead gorgeous gown in champagne satin. This fabulous dress looks very à la Baker to us, especially with the full sweep of satin below the ruching. Incredibly glamorous.
2. Alternative dress: bias-cut satin gown in gold. What they call “gold” is really more of a champagne color. This dress is less expensive than #1, but still has that 1930s look.
3. Rhinestone earrings. You need the biggest you can find; these also have a really nice Art Deco shape.
4. Rhinestone hair comb.
5. Rhinestone bracelet. Wear this as a bracelet or slip it around Chiquita’s neck (#6) as a glamorous diamond collar.
6. Stuffed cheetah. Josephine’s beloved pet cheetah was named Chiquita. Here’s your very own Chiquita cub to carry with you.
Makeup: The style in the 1920s and 30s was for very thin, long eyebrows. Here’s Tyra Banks as Josephine Baker:
How to do your hair like Josephine Baker: Essence suggests using Mizani Styling Gel to get the look of 1920s-era pin curls. If your hair isn’t the right length for that, you could get an inexpensive flapper-curl wig and use high-shine gel or pomade to slick it down and give it that glossy look.