1920 Mistinguett gown valued at $10,500 in French auction

A stunning gown that was made for the French music hall entertainer Mistinguett will be sold as top lot in a Paris auction of jazz age memorabilia.

Mistinguett dress auction
Mistinguett's legs were reportedly insured for 500,000 francs

Crossing the block on January 26-27, the gown will be offered with an $8,000-10,500 estimate. It provides a rare opportunity for collectors to own a piece from the wardrobe of the one-time best-paid female entertainer in the world.

Mistinguett (1875-1956) began her career as a singing flower seller before she was spotted by Saint-Marcel, who directed the revue at the Casino de Paris. Originally hired as a stage-hand, she would go on to provide regular performances at the legendary venue, as well as the Folies Bergere, Moulin Rouge and Eldorado.

Her tantalising routines were an instant hit and she quickly became the most popular entertainer of her time. Reportedly, her legs were insured for 500,000 francs in 1919.

The gown matches her stage presence, with colourful, bold designs embellished by embroidery and rhinestones. In the centre of the dress is an image of Mistinguett herself, suggesting that the design is a one-off created especially for her.

Josephine Baker dress
Baker was the first African-American to star in a major motion picture

Also featuring is a crepe dress from the equally famous Josephine Baker, who wore it during her last public appearance in 1975. It was created by Andre Levasseur for the retrospective comeback performance and is characteristic of his elaborate but chic style. With a red jewel at its centre, it will sell for $10,500-15,800.

Collectibles from the Roaring Twenties have seen renewed interest of late, with a Chiparus sculpture of the Dolly Sisters selling 38.6% above estimate in November. In May, a portfolio of artwork dedicated to Josephine Baker and Paris' jazz age by Paul Colin sold for $27,600.

For another great piece of memorabilia from the period, see Paul Fraser Collectibles' signed photograph of George Gershwin - composer of many of the jazz age's greatest standards and Broadway musicals.

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