Friday, August 18, 2017

Mae West: Zelda Wynn Valdes

Since at least 1932, MAE WEST wore several gowns and film costumes designed by the African-American sensation Zelda Wynn Valdes.
• • Zelda Wynn Valdes [28 June 1905 — 26 September 2001] was the designer to the stars. Mae West was hardly the only notable who recognized her talents.  Among her many creations, Valdes designed stand-out garments for Joyce “The Black Marilyn Monroe” Bryant, the Dance Theater of Harlem, Eartha Kitt, Dorothy Dandridge [a red mermaid gown],  Josephine Baker, Gladys Knight, etc. 
• • Valdes was also in charge of the Playboy Bunny costumes for her client Hugh Hefner, and dresses for Ella Fitzgerald who was about to appear in Manhattan at the Apollo Theater. 
• • Mae West loved the way Zelda W. Valdes understood the bombshell figure and knew how to accentuate the curves. 
• • Image: Mae's "Night After Night" gown was designed and produced by Zelda Wynn Valdes.
• • In 1948, Zelda opened her own boutique, “Chez Zelda,” on Broadway in New York City, making her the first African-American to own a store on The Great White Way.    The niche she occupied was quite particular:  exquisitely finished special occasion coutures. She created wedding gowns, evening and cocktail dresses, and other luxurious ensembles.
• • On Sunday, 18 August 1935 • •
• • In 1935 the discovery of Mae West's marriage license was still big enough news that The Gleaner carried a story on Sunday, 18 August 1935 saying that Frank Wallace and Trixie LeMae were visiting her mother, Lena Carey.
• • "Yesterday, incidentally, was Miss West's birthday," revealed her former husband Frank Wallace to the news media, "and — — she was 42."
• • "The nerve of a brass monkey," was Mae West's response.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Artist Terry Frost found inspiration everywhere whether it was a walk down the quay at St Ives with his son, fields edged with trees at Leeds, the sun in Arizona, the leaning tower of Pisa — — and even Mae West's corset.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:   "If you don't think you're wonderful, why should anyone else?"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An Australian article discussed Mae West.
• • "The Mae West Scandal" • •
• • Mae West's "Adam and Eve" broadcast, in which she gave a burlesque conversation between our first parents and the Serpent, has become  one of the biggest radio scandals in U.S. history.   A huge number of protests from religious  bodies has resulted in a severe tightening-up of  the supervision of broadcast turns.
But the popularity of the Chase and Sanborn Coffee programme, in which the notorious turn was given, has risen a lot since the scandal.  ...
• • Source:  The Australian Women's Weekly;  published on Saturday, 23 April 1938
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 13th anniversary • •  
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past eleven years. Not long ago, we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,700 blog posts. Wow!   
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started thirteen years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3769th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:


• • Photo:
• • Mae West • in 1932

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