Pretty little flowers, their heads tilted in the breeze, sing with spring’s lullaby blossoming in their hearts like a pastel-colored garden. Their tiny voices, as light and fluid as a bird’s, fly into the balconies of the Theater du Chatelet and disappear – perching alongside other songs that have melted into the distant, singing air.
Innocent lips, curved and painted, welcome but will not seduce. They are not full of the threat of a more heated season. Instead, they are a coy promise of the brilliance that trembles and a joy that hides. It is only at the very edge of their smiles, coiling sweetly upwards, that vulnerability and danger wait.
Thick coils of hair, twisted and singed with curling tongs, flow across their shoulders, languid and soft. Teased and pulled to Gibson Girl heights, the tresses then gently collapse beneath the weight of ornament and millinery into a froth of curls that tickle eyebrows and shroud eyes.
Dainty ankles are poised above footlights. Arms show dimpled and white beneath sleeves that ebb and flow with each movement, like veils of pastel oceans. Hands arch and change – eyes glitter, reflecting candles hoisted into the air, the diamonds scattered throughout the audience, the images in the glass paneling.
But their storytelling was unskilled; and they used their bodies – with all of the flesh’s eloquent potential – with a blunt girlishness. They fulfilled the Edwardian feminine ideal of decoration and foolishness, and danced with tiny, curling steps, before pausing, yielding flowers, ready to subside into their lovers’ bouquets.