Singer, dancer, actress, social activist, icon… these are just a few of the words which spring to mind when we think of Josephine Baker, one of the muses for our current collection, Come As You Are.
American born but French bred, she became a citizen of the country in 1937 after she married Frenchman Jean Lion. Infamous for her erotic dancing and nude stage appearances, she found success in Europe performing in risqué costumes featuring feathers, jewels and even faux bananas.
Playing muse to authors, painters, designers and sculptors of the era including Pablo Picasso and Christian Dior, her unique looks and unwavering confidence left her peers in awe. According to Ernest Hemingway, Josephine was ‘the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.’
The first African American female to star in a major motion picture Zou Zou, she strove to break down cultural and racial barriers in the US during the 1950s. She adopted 12 multi-ethnic orphans and called them her ‘Rainbow Tribe’ in support of her cause.
She was also the first American-born woman to receive the French military honor, the Croix de Guerre, after serving as a spy for the government during the second World War.
The only word we believe truly sums up Josephine Baker is ‘superwoman’. Miss Baker, your legacy continues to influence and inspire today.