LOOKING AT WHAT GOES ON UNDER THE CLOTHES
observations: I went daily to the Luxembourg Gardens where I did some really good work, I think. There is a statue there that I always admired. It is of a lady standing up, with her feet crossed, in a very short skirt indeed, and a strange little hat like an inverted soup plate. I did a drawing of her.
Some years later I went to the Bal Julien dressed as her. I wore a pink silk accordion pleated garment, that really was a pair of knickers. They had no legs, but only a ribbon to divide them. I borrowed them from a rich American woman and cut the ribbon so that it looked exactly like the skirt of the statue. They had garlands of blue silk forget-me-nots embroidered on them. I wore a short blue, tight-fitting jacket that I had bought at the “Flea market” at Caulincourt and a very small blue hat that looked like a comedian’s bowler. It was almost flat and looked very like the one worn by the statue. I had a great success at the ball, especially when I explained whom I represented.
observations: The sad thing is not to have a photo of Nina Hamnett in her costume. It is quite hard to imagine, as is the garment that she fashioned it from.
She also likes to dress as a man, and specifically as an apache dancer, as featured in this entry and this one, wearing
a pair of French workmen’s peg-top trousers. I borrowed a blue jersey and corduroy coat from Modigliani and a check cap.From Modigliani: of course. She knew everyone. Apparently she was bisexual – she is not explicit about it in the book, but you can read between the lines. For a previous entry (on a louche nightclub in a book by a different Nina), we used this photo from George Brassai, which could easily be a club or Bal that Hamnett hung round in:
-- they were very much in the same milieu at the same time in Paris.
She is endearingly aware of her own foibles and vanities, but she IS hilariously self-centred. Who would think that this:
I thought that something terrible was about to happen and imagined that it would take the form of a punishment for me for having had such a good time- meant the beginning of the First World War – it seems rather a narcissistic way of thinking of it:
Little did I think that that punishment would wreck not only my life but the lives of millions of others during the four bitter years ahead.There have been umpteen entries from this book – click on Nina Hamnett below to see more.
I am guessing that the top photo shows the statue she means – it comes from a lovely site called woophy.