‘Burlesque’ a great movie/musical for Pantyhose


     If not for her starring role in the upcoming movie/musical, “Burlesque,” Christina Aguilera likely would have made her way into my column, Credit ‘Wear’ Credit is Due.  That’s because, long before Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Beyonce and a handful of other current pop stars, Aguilera has been a devoted pantyhose wearer on and off stage.  

     “Burlesque,” which opens in theaters on Nov. 24, gives me an excuse to recognize Aguilera now for her pantyhose prowess. 

     Born Dec. 18, 1980, Christina Aguilera is an American pop singer, songwriter, dancer, and officially now, actress.   Known during her childhood as “the little girl with the big voice,” singing in local talent shows and competitions, Aguilera always aspired to be a singer. 

     Indeed, Aguilera has been compared to the likes of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.  A review in the Los Angeles Times compared Aguilera’s vocal stylings to Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin.  

     “Burlesque” stars Aguilera in a role it seems she was born to play: A small-town girl, Ali (Aguilera), ventures to Los Angeles and finds her place (as well as love, family and success) at a neo-burlesque club run by a former dancer (aptly played by Cher). 

     In the movie, the burlesque club apparently encompasses not just striptease and comedy routines, but modern dance and mini-theatrical plays, performed by barely dressed women in fishnets. 

     Beginning in the early 18th century, burlesque was a form of musical and theatrical parody, in which a serious or romantic opera, or a classical theatre piece, was adapted in a broad, often risqué style that ridiculed stage conventions.

     The popular burlesque show of this period eventually evolved into the striptease which became the dominant ingredient of burlesque by the 1930s. 

     Stockings were around as early as the 16th century, mostly in the black wool variety, until silk stockings debuted in the 17th century.  These garments helped define the burlesque era.

     During the 1920s, silk or artificial silk (rayon) stockings ruled the flapper era of the Roaring 20s. 

     After World War I (1914-1918) short skirts were fashionable and long silk stockings were worn. Nylon was invented in 1930 by Dupont, and after World War II (1939-1945), nylon stockings became popular and completely replaced silk stockings until the late 1960s, when pantyhose replaced stockings and never looked back.

     Previews for “Burlesque,” look very exciting – lots of great music, dancing and pantyhose-adorned legs in action.  

     While pantyhose hadn’t been invented during the burlesque era, today, Hollywood and modern live burlesque-style shows can and do take creative license in adding the sexy wardrobe accessories to the costumes for movies and musicals depicting the jazz, burlesque and flapper eras from as early as the 16th century, to the roaring 20s, through today. 

     And here’s something I love: when some of the dancing girls in these movies wear nylon stockings, they usually are wearing very sheer-to-waist pantyhose underneath them.  But mostly, I love that the majority of the dancers in these movies just wear pantyhose, as if no one would notice or care that that makes the film historically inaccurate.  I don’t care.  I love that pantyhose are viewed as so important and necessary by the writers, directors and/or costumers of these productions.

     During the 2000s, there have been quite a few successful movies depicting the jazz, burlesque and flapper eras.

Nine’ 

     This movie/musical, described as vibrant and provacative, tells the story of film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he contends with personal and professional crises near his 40th birthday, while trying to balance the demands of numerous women in his life including his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his muse (Nicole Kidman) and his confidant (Judi Dench). 

     Set in 1960s Venice, “Nine” was directed by Rob Marshall (who also directed “Chicago”) and also starred Kate Hudson, Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson and Sophia Loren.  It was released in December 2009. 

     The original Broadway production debuted in 1982 and ran for 729 performances, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

 Chicago’

      “Chicago” is a dazzling spectacle that is extremely well written, well acted and wildly entertaining.  It centers on the themes of celebrity, scandal and corruption during Jazz Age Chicago.

     Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Roxie Hart (Renee’ Zellweger)  are two criminals-of-passion who find themselves awaiting trials for murder in 1920s Chicago.  Velma, a vaudevillian, and Roxie, a housewife with aspirations of having the same profession, fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows.  The film also stars and gets fabulous performances from Richard Gere, Queen Laifah, John C. Reilly and Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife“). 

     Directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall, and adapted for film by screenwriter Bill Condon, “Chicago” won six Academy Awards in 2003, including Best Picture.

 ‘Moulin Rouge!

    A young English writer ventures to Paris during the 1899 Bohemian revolution that holds in its grip the city’s drug- and prostitute-infested underworld, never more evident than at the Moulin Rouge night club.  

     The movie/musical of 2001, directed, produced, and co-written by Baz Luhrmann, was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Nicole Kidman, and won two: for art direction and costume design.

     The movie stars Ewan McGregor as Christian, a young, English poet/writer, who falls in love with Nicole Kidman as Staine, a cabaret actress and the star courtesan of the Moulin Rouge. 

     The production is lush and elaborate, featuring the musical setting of the Montmartre Quarter of Paris, France. 

      I haven’t seen “Nine” yet, but I plan to buy the DVD.  “Chicago” and “Moulin Rouge!” were great movies for showcasing pantyhose.   It appears that “Burlesque” will be a great movie for pantyhose lovers, too.  

     I just hope “Burlesque” delivers a story with as much charm and fun of “Chicago.”   From the previews I’ve seen, it certainly appears that the glitter and glam is there.  We’ll find out beginning on Nov. 24. 

     By the way, I intentionally left out the movie, “Showgirls,” which was great for pantyhose, but a weak and poorly written/acted storyline in my opinion. 

     Perhaps this trend of movies/musicals depicting the jazz, burlesque and flapper eras will do as much for creating an attraction for pantyhose among young women, and sparking renewed interest in pantyhose among more seasoned viewers, much the same way pop stars, such as Madonna, Lady Gaga and others, have been doing recently.

     What do you think?  Do you like these kinds of movies/musicals that feature beautiful ladies in exotic costumes, including pantyhose?   The genre seems like a dream come true for those of us who can’t get enough of our favorites celebrities embracing pantyhose on the grandest of stages.

3 thoughts on “‘Burlesque’ a great movie/musical for Pantyhose

  • The movie musicals lead to the development of pantyhose. In the 1940s and 50s, the studios’ wardrobe departments use to sew a pair of stockings to a pair of panties to create a garment that made the dancers look good when wearing high cut outfits. Eventually, the idea was patented, and pantyhose were available in stores by the 1960s. And anyone who watched Cyd Charisse dance in Singing in the Rain knows that the customized product was very effective.

  • wow, that was quite a blog, Robin. well researched. And yes, I do like ladies in pantyhose for these musicals. I also understand Christina A. is a native of Pittsburgh. Must be something in the water there….

  • Great one Robin….

    In these kind of movies/musicals… I feel it goes to show the real conscious/subconscious power of pantyhose.. Imagine would they be the same with plain bare legs..

    “Pantyhose paints a thousand words”

    Take Care

    Carl

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