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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Feline Fontanne: 1922

Feline Fontanne: 1922

New York circa 1922. "Fontanne." The British actress Lynn Fontanne, for decades a fixture of the Broadway stage along with husband Alfred Lunt (not pictured). 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

 

What Shocked the Cat

She is wearing my hairballs!

It looked better on the monkey

Normally I love '20s fashion, but that fur trim adds nothing good to the dress. And I can't help but feel additional horror at the thought it came from an intelligent primate species---you're not supposed to skin your relatives!

Hairy Areas

Lynn Fontanne was almost as celebrated for her intelligent wit as for her acting, and might have had some very funny and self deprecating things to say about the expensive couture dress she's wearing here. The silky black fur tufts are almost certainly Colobus monkey fur, and the dress fabric looks like creped silk -- impossible to gauge the color. There was a steady vogue for Colobus monkey fur all through the 1920s, although it was usually used in larger amounts, such as the trims on the coat in this 1922 French fashion plate.

And Now We Know

the correct placement of the hands for cat-strangling.

Kitty was twitching his ear,

not a sign that he was liking this, but then she was probably a stranger to the Cat.

I'll second, or third that the dress is hideous but maybe you had to be there (in 1922) to appreciate it.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

Just for your edification and amusement, Dave:

Two guys are sitting on the porch watching a cat #### his ########.

One guy says to the other: "I wish I could do that."

The other guy says: "Man, you could, but that cat'd bite yoooouu."

Pussy Riot

Whenever our cat, Blackjack, gets that look we give him a wide berth -- he'll scratch your eyes out.

I think the dress is a forest green colour meself.

or maybe a dark blue. I love the shoes too. That haircut's gotta go though. Oof.

Not Fontaine, please!

Her name is repeatedly mispronounced as Fontaine - including by Kramer in "Seinfeld": "My Broadway is the Broadway of Merman and Martin and Fontaine."

This photo was taken the year she married Alfred Lunt. She was 35 but successfully posing as 25. Lunt went to his grave believing she was a decade younger than she actually was. Theirs was widely assumed to be a "white," though devoted, marriage on both sides - perhaps the cat was a hint?

Who's Furriest

What the ...? Is that horsehair as trim for her dress? No wonder that poor cat looks horrified.

Hopefully that dress looks MUCH better in color.

Otherwise, I can't see why any woman would have ever worn it... it makes her look like she has hair growing in huge tufts all over her body and legs.

Green Eyed Monster

I covet her dress, shoes, and accessories! I wonder what color the dress is; I'm picturing maroon.

 
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