Les Folies-Bergère, Le Casino de Paris, Le Moulin Rouge – the names of the famed cabarets of Art Deco Paris remain evocative to this day, calling to mind an exuberant atmosphere of showgirls, feathers, silks, bright colours and sequins glittering in the spotlight. Art Deco is synonymous with elegance, glamour and modernity, yet the costume and set designers who created the unforgettable look and feel of the era remain largely unheralded. British theatre designer Alec Shanks was one such figure. Shanks, who arrived in Paris from London at the pinnacle of the movement, was for years one of the top designers at Les Folies-Bergère, the most legendary cabaret in Paris.
This image from our Vintage Vogue series was created by Shanks in 1932 using charcoal, watercolour and gouache on paper. It was titled “Nuits de Folies,” after a revue for which he was one of the designers. Here we see the sway and sensuality of movement celebrated in the best Art Deco style.