We’re taking a look at the women and performers who inspired 1970s burlesque dancers. These pop culture female icons influence fashion, burlesque and much more to this day.
Five 1970s Burlesque Icons
After the censorship clampdown of 1950s burlesque the genre began to move towards more audience interaction. This included sticking around after your performance and meeting audience members.
Thus began the movement towards strip clubs and the decline of burlesque entertainment. Finally in the 1970s burlesque dancing is considered to have ended prior to the revival of the nineties.
The 1970s burlesque dancers were influenced by the mainstream just as they are today. Traditionally, burlesque is a form of satire and often takes a leaf out of pop culture’s playbook. Burlesque is also imbued with vintage glamour so these women’s influence on the genre can still be felt today.
From Louise Brooks to Madonna and Lady Gaga, strong and successful women continue to have significance in burlesque. Luckily for us, there’s even cross-over from Cyd Charisse to Carmen Carrera. Lets be honest, both influence each other. So, lets take a look at the other side of the coin.
(Image from Red Hot Much)
The 1970s saw the rise of feisty female frontwomen including Patti Smith and Joan Jett. Yet, no woman exuded, glamour, sex appeal and rebellion like Debbie Harry.
The Blondie lead singer showed that women could rock just as hard as men. Rumour has it, she’d team short skirts with no underwear to give the front row a real show. Debbie Harry continues as an icon today and is still performing with a headline spot at Glastonbury 2014. We can’t wait!
Watch Blondie’s first music video ‘Heart of Glass’:
(Image from Listal)
This decade also saw high fashion go global. The fashionable Studio 54 sect was peppered with It-girls and models but none was more vocal than Janice Dickinson.
The self-proclaimed first supermodel was a muse to fashion designers due to her exotic look. She has gone onto have a long career and has since become a personality noted for out-spoken, no holds barred interviews.
Watch Janice Dickinson on The Jonathan Ross Show for the full picture:
(Image from Makeup Marple)
Actress, Charlotte Rampling radiates sexuality. According to Glamour she said, “I’m not in any way a master of sex at all, but there’s something in me – I know because I can see it when I come on screen – there’s some animal thing that emanates.
“When you go to parties and you see how people turn on their sexuality, that’s all I do for a role. You turn on the predator, and you go with it.”
A woman owning her sexuality is definitely a woman after our hearts. Watch her in risqué The Night Porter (1974):
(Image from The Not Vanilla)
Fleetwood Mac singer, Stevie Nicks, imbues the bohemian heart of 1970s fashion and music. Yet, her band were known for their outrageous, OTT lifestyle and Hollywood excess.
Although, her clothing, typical of the era, was modest and covered up. According to Glamour she explained her sex appeal saying, “I guess you can probably see it through my clothes all down through the years with my long chiffon skirts and my big wispy sleeves.
“I always looked at it like, people wondering what was under all that was much sexier than having all that out there.”
Watch Fleetwood Mac perform ‘Rhiannon’ live in 1976:
(Image from I Love Retro)
The actress, singer and dancer, Liza Minnelli, embodies all that we hold dear. In the 1970s she emerged from her mother, Judy Garland’s shadow to become a star in her own right.
Liza shot to fame after the release of Cabaret no less. Her raven cropped locks and showgirl glamour juxtaposed her to the floral coquettes of the decade and boy are we glad they did.
Watch one of the most famous scenes from the film and fall in love all over again:
Alternative Burly Icon: Big Fannie Annie
(Image from Red Hot Burlesque)
Burlesque dancer, Big Fannie Annie, was known by the tagline ‘450 Pounds of Pure Sizzling Sex’. She’s remembered for her skills as a costumiere and busty body image heroine.
Never letting her height or weight get in her way, Big Fannie Annie used it to her benefit. According to she said, “When you know you are money by being big, how could you want to be thin?”
Watch Big Fannie Annie in the Burlesque Hall of Fame Legends Walk of Fame: