Louise Brooks and The Flapper Era


Brooks and The Flapper Era

The flapper era was the time of the worship
of youth (pandorasbox/flapper). Flappers were women of the Jazz Age. They
had measurements of pre-adolescent boys, with no waistline, no bust, and
no butt. Flappers had short hair worn no longer than chin length, called
bobs. Their hair was often dyed and waved into flat, head-hugging curls
and accessorized with wide, soft headbands. It was a new and most original
style for women. A lot of make-up was worn by flappers that they even put
on in public which was once unheard of and considered something done only
by actresses and whores. Flappers wore short, straight dresses often covered
with beads and fringes, and they were usually worn without pantyhose. Young
flappers were known to be very rebellious against their parents, and society
blamed their waywardness partially on the media, movies, and film stars
like Louise Brooks (Szabo).

Louise Brooks was a big part of the Jazz

Age and had a lot of influence on the women of the 1920’s. Being a film
star with a great, original personality she is known for being one of the
most extraordinary women to set forth the Flapper era. Her sleek and smooth
looks with her signature bob helped define the flapper look (pandorasbox/flapper).

On November 14, 1906, in Cherryvale, Kansas,

Mary Louise Brooks was born. She had two brothers, one sister, and parents,

Leonard and Myra Brooks, who was a costume maker and pianist. In 1910,

Brooks performed in her first stage role as Tom Thumb’s bride in a Cherryvale
church benefit. Over the next few years she danced at men’s and women’s
clubs, fairs, and various other gatherings in southeastern Kansas.

At ten years old she was already a serious
dancer and very much interested in it. In 1920, Brook’s family moved to

Wichita, Kansas, and at 13 years old she began studying dance (pandorasbox/chron).

Louise Brooks had a typical education and
family life. She was very interested in reading and the arts, so in 1922
she traveled to New York City and joined the Denishawn Dance Company. This
was the leading modern dance company in America at the time. In 1923, Brooks
toured the United States and Canada with Denishawn by train and played
a different town nearly every night, but one year later she leaves Denishawn
and moves back to New York City. Not too long after her return, she gets
a job as a chorus girl in the George White Scandals. Following this she
and a good friend of hers sailed to Europe. At 17 years old she gained
employment at a leading London nightclub. She became famous in Europe as
the first person to dance the Charleston in London, and her performances
were great successes (pandorasbox/chron).

In 1925, Louise Brooks returned to New

York and joins Ziegfeld Follier, and performed in the Ziegfeld production,

Louie the 14th. That summer she had an affair with Charlie Chaplin. At
the same time, Brooks also appeared in her first film, The Streets of Forgotten

Men, and signed a five year contract with Paramount. This same year, she
had her first appearance on a magazine cover. In 1926, she featured as
a flapper in A Social Celebrity which launched her film career and introduced
the flapper era (pandorasbox/chron).

In 1933 Brooks married wealthy Chicago
playboy Deering Davis, but within six months they were separated. In 1956,
she met James Card, the legendary film creator at George Eastman House,
and moved to Rochester, NY. Here she studied film and continued to write
at the House. Throughout her life she finds employment on the radio, as
a model, and stared in many more films in which many of them she portrayed
the rapidly spreading style of a flapper. She is a miraculous woman who
helped to unfold and expand the flapper era throughout the world (pandorasbox/chron).

Not only did Louise Brooks have a great
impact on the culture revitalization of the 1920’s, but she also left contributions
that are still evident today. The year is 2000, and everywhere we look
this so-called "new fashion" is becoming popular, but look again. Dresses
just above knee length with fringes and frills being worn by teenage girls
and women, are the same style as those worn in the 1920’s. The flappers
of the 1920’s also started a new phase of rebellion that would be passed
on for decades. Before the 1920’s, girls and women were always refined,
reserved, "daddies’ girls". This new era brought more unrefined, unpolished,
and more rebellious girls. It brought women with attitude and youth, which
can be seen in today’s society.