This week we are honoring the style of Josephine Baker. Long before Beyonce, Josephine Baker was the embodiment of “fierceness.” From her daring and sensual fashion choices, to her outspoken ideas on women’s rights and civil rights, Ms. Baker was always ahead of her time.
Born Freda Josephine McDonald in 1906, Baker started off as a dancer and performer on the American vaudeville scene. However, her career exploded when she traveled to Paris in 1925 to open in the show La Revue Nègre. Audiences were mesmerized by her captivating personality, her sensual dance moves and her elaborate and sometimes “barely there” costumes. Baker was the first African-American female to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou (1934), and the first to integrate an American concert hall. Given nicknames such as the “Bronze Venus”, the “Black Pearl”, and the “Créole Goddess,” Baker was not afraid to push the envelope, in fact she was so fearless that later on in her career she was know for performing on stage with her pet cheetah, Chiquita!.
Baker decided to make Paris her home stating,“One day I realized I was living in a country where I was afraid to be black. It was only a country for white people. Not black. So I left. I had been suffocating in the United States… A lot of us left, not because we wanted to leave, but because we couldn’t stand it anymore… I felt liberated in Paris.” However, Baker did not lose touch with the movements for racial inequality in the United States, and she was offered the unofficial leadership of the movement by Coretta Scott King in 1968 following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, but turned it down. Baker was married four times and eventually adopted 12 children! She lived the final years of her life with dignity and grace until she passed away at age 68 on April 12, 1975. She was the only American-born woman to receive full French military honors at her funeral.
Today, we want to take a look back at the iconic style of Ms. Baker, with special attention to her most notable fashion looks that can easily be recreated on your wedding day.
The Sexy Satin Sheath Dress
The satin sheath dress was a staple of 1920s and 1930s glamour. This look is timeless and luckily you can find wedding dresses inspired by this look in a range of price points. We love these similar looks by Enozani, Maggie Sottero, and Johanna Johnson.
The Fierce Fit and Flare
Ms. Baker is fabulous in this form fitting dress that flares out into elaborately layered tiers! We could definitely see a fashion forward bride rocking this look. These dresses by Ines Di Santo, Demetrios and Lazaro also bring the drama.
Ms. Baker’s Wedding Look
Ms. Baker went for a toned down look for her fourth marriage to orchestra leader Jo Bouillon, which took place on June 3, 1947 on her forty-first birthday. However, in true baker fashion, she spiced the look up with a fantastic hat and a beautiful up-do! Would you wear a hat on your wedding day? We love the hat paired with this beautiful Alan Hannah wedding dress below.
Get a bit of Baker glam by wearing a 1920s inspired headpiece. We love the art deco and feather head pieces that Ms. Baker wore above, but for your wedding day, try a more toned down look. We love these 1920s inspired pieces from esty.com and Donna Crain.
The Wedding Suit
Would you change into a tuxedo as your second look for your wedding? Ms. Baker makes the concept look very fun yet glamorous!
Consider this wedding suit from the Carolina Herrera Spring 2013 collection.
Would you wear your hair in 1920s waves or a high bun for your wedding? Ms. Baker looks gorgeous in all of these styles.
Let us know which Josephine Baker inspired look you would incorporate into your wedding style!